- 2017 Au Contraire Chardonnay, Russian River Valley, Sonoma County, California $9.99 (@Costco, California, Item# 976040)
- 2016 D de Dauzac, Bordeaux, France $9.99 (@Costco, California, Item# 1389225)
I’m flat out at excited about sharing these two wines with you all. You know how much we love our “high QPR” wines here at Vinopointer, and these two from Costco knock it out of the park when it comes to their Quality to Price Ratio.
It doesn’t hurt that they are also the top selling wine varieties in the USA. Chardonnay still tops the list at #1, and Cabernet Sauvignon nips at its heels at #2. (Although to be clear, the Bordeaux red blend from Dauzac is only 56% Cab.)
There is a saying about the search for a life partner that while looking for a prince one must kiss a lot of frogs. Looking for super premium wines under the $10 price point is a lot like that. But wines like these, both widely appealing at a very attractive price point, make all the frog-kissing worthwhile.
2017 Au Contraire Chardonnay:
Do you think it was just the price that caught our attention with this wine? Au contraire!
What first caught our eye was the appellation: the Russian River Valley of Sonoma County is world famous for its Chardonnay. The 88 point score from the reliable Wine Enthusiast magazine further piqued our interest. If anything, I think the wine is showing even better than 88 points (and James Suckling awarded it 92 points) after being “in the market” for a year.
Made in a fruity, voluptuous style accented by a hug of toasty oak, this wine is creamy in texture and robust with tropical notes of pineapple, mango and guava. But it is more than just a tropical fruit salad. It has a lemon citrus core along with flavors pear and crisp apple and finishes with a note of jasmine The combination of creaminess and refreshing acidity makes it a great pairing for shellfish, roasted chicken, pasta in cream sauce and zesty grilled vegetable dishes.
2016 D de Dauzac, Bordeaux:
If you went online to purchase a single bottle of the red blend from Chateau Dauzac in Margaux, you should expect to pay anywhere from $50 to $75. Now, before you get too excited, this is not the same wine. But it is from the same estate, so that counts for something.
This wine is what is known as a “second wine” or “second label.” Simply put, these are wines made from lots that didn’t make the cut to be included in the grand vin that will be bottled as the estate’s first label, and which will sell for many times the price of the second label.
That said, this wine at $9.99 is still almost half the price that I see it selling for online. So it is arguably the better value.
Ruby color, aromas of blueberry, blackberry, sour cherry, oak, hint of violet, medium to full body, smooth tannins, moderate acidity, medium dry finish with wood spices. Flavors of black currants and fresh mushrooms with lavender and dried spices in the mouth. Nicely full-bodied, dense and layered with beautiful fruit and a flavorful finish. There’s a lot going on here.
It is a truism in Bordeaux that the large estates on “the left bank” create blends dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon. Conversely, the smaller estates on the right bank tend to lead with Merlot and cast the CabSauv in a supporting role. Which style you like best is a matter of personal preference.
So often, wines under $10 (and especially red wines) have a certain, shall we say, “fake” taste to them. Those flavor additives that are used to taste like oak usually fall short of the real thing. Part of the reason we chose to feature and celebrate these two wines from Costco is that they taste “legit”. None of those artificial toast/oak flavorings (which my wife likes to describe as “ashtray”) are discernible here.
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.
Stay safe and healthy everyone, we need you here in 2021.