- 2015 Taken Napa Valley Red Wine ($16.99 @Costco; California)
- 2016 Diora Monterey Pinot Noir ($15.99@Costco; California)
Costco, America’s largest wine retailer, is a veritable smorgasbord of the kinds of extreme wine values that we adore. But these values go off the charts when the store decides to take a sizable discount off of their already low price.
To illustrate my point: the Taken red blend sells elsewhere, on average, for just over $30 a bottle. Costco normally sells it for $21.99. So you’re already paying some 30% less than some uninformed consumer that doesn’t know better. (Of course, if you are buying it off of some restaurant wine list, all bets are off!) But on TOP of this already lower than average price of $21.99, Costco is currently applying a $5 “instant coupon” to the transaction. Voila! Now you are paying just $16.99. Pretty much half price! Oh, and did I mention that the esteemed James Suckling (formerly of the Wine Spectator) gave this very wine a 92 point score!
And just so you don’t think I allow critics to influence my own assessments too much, let me share, verbatim, Mr. Suckling’s tasting notes here. The wine features notes of “dark plum, blackberries, licorice, chocolate, ripe stems, orange rind, hot stones, dust and coffee beans. Ahem, hot stones? Dust? Ripe stems? My palate can’t vouch for these less than appealing suggestions, but I can assure you that the wine is delicious.
Like the Taken, the Diaro Pinot Noir has a “front line” price of $19.99, to which Santa’s Helpers at Costco apply an instant discount (taken at the register) of $4, which brings this wine down to a net price of just $15.99. Sorry to say that for $15.99 you don’t get any hot stones or stems that you don’t need. But what you do get is a mouthful of wonderful baking spice flavors that come from an expensive oak regimen. You thought those wonderful flavors of toasted caramel, allspice and cloves come from the grapes? Nope. They come from expensive oak barrels. New oak barrels to be precise.
Beyond the aforementioned baking spices, this surprisingly full-bodied Pinot Noir (think of it as a winter Pinot) is a voluptuous melange of blueberry, black cherry and dark chocolate with a hint of fennel. The Wine Enthusiast bestowed a 93 point score to this lovely wine. And while we don’t ascribe points to the wines we feature here at Team Vinopointer (the mere fact that we feature them means we like them) we concur that this is fine, fine wine.
Now, you know how much we love to feature wines that slip under the $10 price point. But these exceptional values still deserve a place in your Costco holiday shopping cart. As you can see from the photo above, both are “pretty” bottlings (especially the Taken, with its screen printed label and super heavy glass bottle) and would complement your holiday table. ‘Tis the season to treat yourself and your guests.
From all of us at Vinopointer.com, we send best wishes for a safe, restful and festive holiday season.