- 2015 La Gitana Gold, Reserva, Rioja, Spain $11.99 (@Costco, California, Item# 1362093)
- 2015 Kirkland Signature, Reserva, Rioja, Spain $7.99 (@Costco, California, Item#917056)
Americans tend to be less familiar with Rioja than European wine drinkers. No surprise there. It is arguably Spain’s top wine region and their wines are stratified into three designations, Reservas such as this are in the mid-tier, just one notch below the Gran Reservas. Finding them priced this low is rare.
I found both of these wines on the same excursion to my local Costco. So they were begging to “duke it out” and share a post not only due to their identical vintages and classification, but also to see which one would win the title fight to determine the highest Quality to Price ratio.
Before we go too far, let me help a little with pronunciation. Most pronounce this wine as ree-OH-ha. But my Euro friends pronounce it ree-OCK-ha. So you get to choose. I like to use the Euro version because it sounds so high falutin’ and also because when I tasted this wine it immediately transported me back to time spent in Spain on wine tasting trips.
The 2015 La Gitana Gold Rioja Reserva begins with enticing aromas of toast, red raspberries, distant wood smoke, black cherry and vanilla. First sips show nice flavors of dried red fruits, cocoa, spice and herbs. It ends dry and long. Complex and ageworthy this one will likely improve over the next decade, so don’t be bashful about stocking up – especially at $11.99 a bottle!
The 2015 Kirkland Signature Rioja Reserva opens with a typical cherry cola and wood nose. The wine pours a pretty ruby red. It’s full bodied, dry with with some nice firm tannins and tartness that are balanced nicely by notes of vanilla, plum, earthiness and spice. It finishes long and dry.
As you can deduce from the tastings notes for each, the wines are not terribly dissimilar. The La Gitana is a bit heavier and more elegant, and would certainly be a better candidate for aging. But for enjoying now, I think I would give the nod to the Kirkland at $7.99. Sure it’s a buck more than it was for the 2014, but it’s still a lot of wine for the money – it’s one-third less than the La Gitana after all – and a better choice for the dog days of summer.
But if you’re lucky enough to find both in your local Costco, I would heartily encourage you to grab a few of each. Enjoy the lighter Kirkland during the remaining weeks of summer, and transition to the La Gitana when sweater weather returns. It’s not as far away as you might think!
If you’re headed to Costco soon yourself, you can find 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.
Stay cool, and stay healthy friends,
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