Two Red Wines from Costco, and the Opposite Ends of the Rhone Price Spectrum

Fast Facts:

  • 2019 Kirkland Signature Châteauneuf-du-Pape, France ($22.99 @Costco in California – Item #777662)
  • 2020 Kirkland Signature Côtes Du Rhône Villages ($6.99 @Costco in California – Item #887774)

 

And, just like that, we find ourselves on the other side of the Thanksgiving holiday and on the slippery slide down towards the December holidays and into the new year.  So we have enlisted Santa to help us introduce our featured wines this week…

 

Bottle of 2019 Kirkland Signature Châteauneuf-du-Pape, France and 2020 Kirkland Signature Côtes Du Rhône Villages

Santa, bearing gifts of the 2019 Kirkland Signature Châteauneuf-du-Pape, France and
2020 Kirkland Signature Côtes Du Rhône Villages

Our two featured “KS” wines hail from the same basic part of France. The map below shows that the Châteauneuf-du-Pape region is not terribly far from Côtes Du Rhône Villages. Stylistically the wines are not all that dissimilar, but the quality levels are, and that is reflected in the fact that the CdP is nearly $20 more pricey. But when we found both bottles in the bins at our local Costco, you knew we had to feature them side by side.  If you get a chance to, we suggest doing the same.
Map of the Rhone wine region of France
Map of the Rhône wine region of France

 

About Chateauneuf-du-Pape:

Chateauneuf-du-Pape is the most famous wine region of the southern Rhone Vally. The wines come from the commune of the same name, which means “the new castle of the Pope.” That’s because in a time of great strife in the church, the Pope was sort of hiding out in France – and drinking lots of wine we think.  The papal residence remains a popular tourist attraction there even today.

The wines grow on a soil that is a mixture of large quartz stones and sandy red clay. The quartz stones are known as “galet roules” and are the most recognizable feature of the Châteauneuf vineyards. The softball sized galets roules reflect sunlight upon the vines, having a warming effect. A wind, known as the Mistral, whips up through the valley from the Mediterranean Sea and has a cooling effect, but the region is nonetheless quite warm and very dry, which helps explain why these wines from the old world, have much in common – stylistically – to wines from the new world.  They are often compared favorably to wines from California.

The Châteauneuf du-Pape appellation known for its bold Grenache-based red blends. This mix of this one leads with 70% Grenache, rounded out by 10% of Syrah, Mourvedre and Cinsault.  We have reviewed GSM wines here on these pages before, with the bonus of Cinsault, this one is a GSM+C! 

A great bottle of Châteauneuf-du-Pape Rouge bursts not only with rich raspberry and plummy fruit flavors. As it evolves, you’ll taste notes of dusted leather, game, and herbs. Wine geeks – and the actual French – call this herbal melange “garrigue,” after the region’s scrubland of sage, rosemary, and lavender. Again, not entirely dissimilar from the hillsides of California.

 

Front label of 2019 Kirkland Signature Châteauneuf-du-Pape
Front label of 2019 Kirkland Signature Châteauneuf-du-Pape

 

Tasting Notes:

The 2019 vintage pours a medium ruby in the glass. Earthy nose, with notes of raspberry, coffee grounds, some dark fruit. The wine is medium plus in body with good flavor, mostly dark fruit, blackberry, plum, anise.  Nice balaced finish of baking spices, lavender and and black berry.  This wine is one of the best Kirkland Signature wines in our assessment, but doesn’t always get the love it deserves. One of our favorite reviews states in a tasting “everyone preferred this to the other CdP we had…would have been rated higher if it didn’t have a Kirkland label.”  Truth.

 

Next up:

 

Front label of the 2020 Kirkland Signature Côtes Du Rhône Villages
Front label of the 2020 Kirkland Signature Côtes Du Rhône Villages, a whole lot of QPR for just $6.99!

 

About CdRV:

Established in 1966, the appellation of  Côtes Du Rhône Villages produces red, rosé and white wines from certain villages of the  Rhône region of France.  These wines must meet higher standards than those of the generic Côtes de Rhône. They are from vineyards in areas that show potential to produce distinctive wines of good quality.

Red Côtes du Rhône Villages wines must, as a minimum, contain Grenache and one of the two other main varieties (Syrah and/or Mourvèdre). All three are regularly present in these wines and in any combination (albeit with Grenache still present) these main varieties must constitute at least two-thirds (66 percent) of any red wine. This bottling contains all three, and is thus a GSM.

From the back label of the Kirkland bottling: “only one-fifth of the wine produced in the Southern Rhône’s  Côtes Du Rhône qualifies for the superior designation of Côtes Du Rhône Villages.” In other words, this is the good juice.  At a mere $6.99 a bottle, this is a good wine to consider buying by the case and for casual midweek sipping.

 

Tasting Notes:

The 2020 Kirkland Signature Côtes Du Rhône Villages begins with intriguing aromas of deep, dark fruit, spice, licorice and excellent earthy notes. Tasting reveals dark, ripe fruit, a bit on the tart side, with some light earthy notes. Licorice, oak and spice round things out.It ends dry, oaky and a bit grippy on the long finish.

 

Need More Wine Picks from Costco – or Trader Joe’s Even?

If your wine shopping excursions land you in Costco, prepare by grazing 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.

Happy hunting.

 

Cheers!

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