- 2016 Kirkland Signature Pinot Noir, Carneros, Napa Valley, California ($9.99 @Costco; California)
- 2015 Wild Horse Pinot Noir, Central Coast ($8.99@Costco; California)
In our last review, we talked a little bit about the “Sideways Effect” on Merlot sales and how it helped depress prices. Well those sales of Merlot didn’t just disappear, the evidence is that most just went to making Pinot Noir ridiculously popular, and pricey. So finding two nice California Pinots under $10 is a very good thing, especially with the Thanksgiving holiday right around the corner in here in “the States.”
These two wines are remarkably similar. As you can see in the photo above, both have a lovely cranberry color that seems appropriate for the holiday. Both are from regions known for producing world class Pinot Noir. The Kirkland is the younger wine, being from the 2016 vintage. But the Wild Horse – from the 2015 vintage – is still tasting fresh. In fact, the wines taste remarkably the same.
The Kirkland Signature Pinot Noir has classic flavors of red fruit (cranberry, strawberry and cherry) as well as earthy notes of leather and cedar. It also has some nice black pepper notes on the finish that I enjoyed.
As I mentioned, the two wines tasted very similar. The Wild Horse displayed the same strawberry and cherry flavors of the Kirkland, but there was a distinct red raspberry note which made it a bit brighter. It also had nice notes of clove, vanilla and oak. All in all, a wonderful melange of the flavors of Turkey Day.
Speaking of the flavors of the traditional Thanksgiving meal. It is a bit of an understatement to say that it’s a heavy meal, with rich, fatty flavors. Choosing a big, heavy red wine (Cabernet Sauvignon for example) would be overkill. Pinot Noir, with its restrained fruit and earthy flavors and bright acidity has just the right touch to complement your holiday fare.
So with these two wines being so similar, how does one decide which one to choose? Well, that’s easy. For starters, the Wild Horse (which retails elsewhere for north of $15) is just $8.99 – one dollar less than the Kirkland. And I don’t know about you, but I would be a bit embarrassed to pull out a Costco store brand on THE holiday that celebrates food, wine, and abundance. So unless you want to be surreptitiously pouring the Kirkland into decanters in your garage, I say stock up on the Wild Horse.