We Compare Two 2015 Chiantis from Costco – Winner Take All!

Comparing two 2015 Chiantis from Costco
Kirkland Signature private label Chianti vs. an estate-branded Chianti (also from Costco) that is 30% more costly.  Which one comes out on top?

We put two Costco Chiantis – both from the 2015 vintage – to the test to see which one is the better wine.

Fast facts:

  • 2015 Kirkland Signature Chianti Classico Riserva  ($8.49 @Costco; California)
  • 2015 Castello di Albola Chianti Classico ($10.99@Costco; California)

On a recent excursion to my local Costco, I was pleasantly surprised to see that Costco had a Kirkland Signature bottling of a Chianti Classico Riserva for just $8.49, a decent price for a wine so designated. With this new vintage came a really nice updated label. We call this in the wine trade a “brand refresh.”

Then, while perusing the rest of the wine set there for new and interesting items, I noticed another Chianti, this one “just” a Chianti Classico from the same vintage.  It was more expensive at $10.99, but I couldn’t resist the opportunity to compare and contrast the two wines.

I was curious to see if the Chianti classification system proved to be useful and a predictor of value.  The system would suggest that the Riserva would be the better wine.  If that proved to be the case, it would be a bonus, because the Riserva is actually a couple of bucks less expensive that the Albola Chianti Classico.  I was also eager to put the Kirkland Signature “house wine” up against a more traditionally branded “twin.”

Vineyards in the hills of Tuscany, Italy.
Classic and idyllic Tuscan hillside vineyards.

This comparative tasting reminded me of the two Malbecs (one a Kirkland Signature and the other a branded one from Trader Joe’s) we reviewed a few weeks ago.  You can find those here: https://wordpress.com/post/vinopointer.com/1019

Similarities
Like the aforementioned Malbecs, these two Chiantis had no small number of things in common.  Obviously, they are from the same region and are from the same vintage. They are made predominantly from the same grape: Sangiovese.  Both display the same lovely garnet color in the glass, and both present the same flavors of cherry, strawberry, red fruit, oak, vanilla and cola.

Differences

Despite being one rung up the ladder on the Chianti classification system, the Kirkland Signature is a bit more “rustic” than the Albola Chianti Classico.  I was expecting the opposite to be true.  Where the Kirkland version was more tannic, more dry and more acidic, the Albola  had more polished tannins, more soft fruit flavors and a delicate finish. Then there is the matter of the price difference: $8.49 per bottle vs. $10.99 per bottle.

And the winner is…

A bowl of pasta fagioli.
Pasta e Fagioli , a perfect and meatless pairing – with either wine.

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