- 2020 Kirkland Signature Saint-Julien, Bordeaux, France ($17.99 @Costco in California – Item #1494198)
We were excited to find this new (to us) Bordeaux wine under the Kirkland Signature label last week at our local Costco. I was eager to get it home, rest it and – taste it. Not only because it was new, but also because its blend of Cabernet (24%) and Merlot (76%) breaks with convention for the left bank of the Gironde river, where these grapes were born. You see, conventional wisdom expects wines from the left bank be dominated by the wine grape Cabernet Sauvignon and those from the right bank by the Merlot grape. This wine is, as my Dad used to say: “bass ackwards.”
But all we care about is that it works!
Saint-Julien is one of the most reliable and underrated village appelations in the Haut-Medoc district of Bordeaux. It may suffer in popular esteem because unlike Pauillac to its immediate north, and Margaux a few miles to the south, there are no “first growth” properties (think of this as the all-star team if unfamiliar with the term) within its boundaries. Perhaps this partly explains the high QPR on this wine.
The wine pours a rich, deep ruby in the glass with classic Bordeaux aromas of black fruits, forest floor and mocha. In the mouth it has flavors of dark berries, coffee, raw white mushroom and some eucalyptus notes. Finishes dry and long. Medium bodied-with light tannins. Still a bit tightly wound, you could lay this one down for several years. If you can’t wait, a decant of an hour or two would be a good idea. Bonus: a nice sane 13% ABV.
One last tasting note: we purchased two bottles of this wine and the first was “corked.” Not as in there was a real cork in the neck of the bottle, aka a wine that is “cork-finished”, which this one was. But the term corked is used to point out a flaw in the wine. It is also known as “cork taint” and the harmless contaminant affects some 3-5% of wines that use corks as a closure. Affected wines will display a musty odor that is also described as a wet cardboard smell. If you suspect a wine is corked, ask your server to confirm or return it to the place of purchase, preferably with 90% of the wine undrunk. 🙂
Noted wine author has this to say about Saint-Julien: “(it) has been the commune for wine connoissuers who seek subtlety, balance and tradition for their red bordeaux…they embody all the virtues of fine, long-lived blends of Cabernet and Merlot grapes.”
If that description has you enticed, you should get to your nearest Costco since this one is likely to sell out quickly, and who knows when it will come around again.
Need More Wine Picks from Costco – or Trader Joe’s Even?
If your wine shopping excursions land you in Costco, prepare by grazing our most recent reviews of Costco wines here in our Lucky 13 list.
And if your shopping finds you at Trader Joe’s, you can find our Lucky 13 list of TJ’s wine here.