Today’s Fast Friday wine find is a delicious 2016 Kirkland Signature Napa Valley Red Blend from Costco that is a bargain at $10.99.
- 2016 Kirkland Signature Red Blend, Napa Valley, California ($10.99 @Costco; California – Item #: 333110)
Not surprisingly, it’s always the last thing we discuss when describing a wine.
We wine arbiters tend to record our sensory experiences in chronological order. We might start by describing what is known from what we call “the packaging” which includes what can be seen and experienced before the bottle is even opened. This includes physical attributes including the glass bottle itself, the capsule (that foil or plastic cap at the top) and – most importantly, the information that is contained on the front and back labels.
Once the wine is poured, we discuss how the wine appears in the glass.
Then we get down to business: the important qualitative factors. We attempt to describe how it smells, A.K.A. the bouquet.
Then we pull out our voluminous tome of tasting descriptors to describe what flavors we detect on “the palate.”
Lastly, we describe the finish, or lack thereof. Some wines are said to have no finish. Others are described as having a “short” finish. But the best wines finish “long” or have a finish that “goes on forever,” figuratively speaking of course.
This particular wine falls into the last category. It has a wonderfully long, and delicious finish. That’s why I chose to begin with…the finish. It’s like eating in reverse and starting with dessert. Or patting the cat’s fur backwards.
Other Tasting Notes in the Proper Sequence
In the glass, the wine presents a dark ruby color with some red brick on the rim, showing its 3 years of aging.
It has a fruity nose of blueberries, cherries, blackberries, baking spices and a hint of toasted oak.
The first thing I noticed upon tasting was how smooth this blend is. The tannins are polished, hence the wine does not seem as dry and grippy as some red blends from Napa. Many of the fruit notes detected on the nose (cherries, blackberries, oak and spices) were also present in the flavors.
This would be a good wine for everyday drinking. It’s a really nice bottle for the price.
Red Blends = Bordeaux Blends = Meritage?
Not so fast.
I flippantly suggested that this wine could just as easily have been called a Bordeaux blend or a Meritage. That is, as my late Mom would have said, “playing fast and loose with the truth.” (She was very adept at detecting when this was the case.)
You see, only wines from Bordeaux, France can have that word on the label. Sure, American used to play “fast and loose” with French place names by calling California wines Chablis, or Hearty Burgundy, but we’ve cleaned up our act because no one like paying fines and/or going to jail.
The word Meritage is also regulated. You can learn more about its origin, and who gets to use it in our prior review of a Meritage wine: https://wp.me/p9ygim-36
Confused? Let Me Break it Down
There IS something that this particular red blend has in common with Bordeaux blends and Meritage: they must all be made using the same five grape varieties native to Bordeaux. Costco made it easy by listing them prominently in the label you see me cradling in my left hand in the photo above.
With any luck, you will get your hands on some of these red blends from Costco. If you do, let us know what you think by posting in the comments section, or on our Facebook page.
Have a good weekend as we say goodbye to summer, and hello to autumn.