- NV Kirkland Signature Champagne Brut ($19.99@Costco, California – Item #942108)
This is our second wine in our December series on sparkling wines.
This particular wine also has the distinction of being the very first one reviewed on this site, back in 2018. A lot has changed in the world since then, but several things have not: the Costco item number and – more importantly – the price. The latter combined with the quality makes the QPR on this wine off the charts for legit champagne.
We learn from the back label that this champagne is crafted from “the usual suspects” of Pinot Meunier, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. We also get the taste profile from the back label. Heck, you don’t get tasting notes from the $230 “Dom” pictured above.
For me, the litmus test for a fine champagne are fine bubbles and pronounced bready, yeasty flavors that distinguish the wines of Champagne. This wine has those notes, even if the high falutin French winemaker insists of referring to them as “brioche”.
From the back label. Aromas of lemons, and brioche with a rich texture and notes of green apple, apricot and citrus character.
You might be curious what the “NV” in the wine description above means. It’s an abbreviation for “Non-Vintage.” The vast majority of fine wines sold in the world show a vintage on their front or even back label. Champagne is different, especially Brut champagne. Instead of seeing a 2019 or 2020 vintage on the label, we use NV to let you know to not scour the front and back labels searching in vain for the vintage.
One other little fun fact to explain away the appearance of typos: Champagne with a capital C is used when referring to the geographical region in France where these wines are produced; champagne with a lower case C is used when referring to the wine itself.
Since we have drawn the your attention to the proper use of capitalization when referring to this celebratory beverage, here is a mnemonic device that might come in handy for a variety of reasons: “champagne only comes from Champagne.” Hence, saying “champagne from Champagne” is redundant.
Champagne is a specific wine producing region in the northeastern corner of France. California sparkling wine is not champagne. Spanish Cava is not champagne. Nor is Italian Prosecco. Even the relatively new and relatively good sparkling wines from across the channel in England (which may or may not share some of the same chalky geology that helps make their French counterparts unique) can not claim to be Champagne. But we consumers make the mistake frequently.
Another mistake we wine consumers frequently make is to only enjoy champagne on special occasions. At this price, I encourage you to pick up several bottles of the Kirkland Champagne Brut and put in in your refrigerator to celebrate more of the little things that make life special. They’ll be more special when you toast them with champagne.
If you’re headed to Costco soon yourself, you can find 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.