Bottles and glasses of Old Vine Zinfandel

Two Zins from the Land of OVZ

Fast Facts:

  • 2018 Kirkland Signature Old Vine Zinfandel, Sonoma, CA ($9.99 @Costco in California – Item #908097)
  • 2017 Pure Bred, Old Vine Zinfandel, Lodi, CA ($6.99 @Trader Joe’s in California)


OVZ is, of course, shorthand for Old Vine Zinfandel. And we have two good ones for you to explore this week – one from Costco and the other from Trader Joe’s.  As the days warm and thoughts turn more increasingly to cooking over open flames, Zinfandel becomes a go-to wine for many BBQ’d pairings.

Interestingly, when we last reviewed this Kirkland Signature OVZ, we put it up against another Old Vine Zin from Trader Joe’s.  You can find that review here. And if you would like a little more history on Lodi, click on that link.


Front label of Kirkland Signature 2018 Zinfandel from Costco
The front label of Kirkland Signature 2018 Zinfandel from Costco is a really nice upgrade from prior vintages.

Tasting Notes:

2018 Kirkland Signature: aromas of rich plum, blackberry and bramble with a bit of mocha and spice. Medium-bodied with flavors of blackberry, blueberry and vanilla. It ends with notes of white pepper and vanilla – well put together wine that shows why Sonoma is one of the leading regions for high end Zinfandel.



Front label of 2017 Pure Bred Old Vine Zinfandel from Trader Joe's
A lovely wine in a beautiful package suggests this wine is a close-out – which makes for a great deal.

Tasting Notes:

2017 Pure Bred:  Pours a dark ruby color with a clear halo. The nose is ripe and meaty (it has that distinctive Lodi nose) with notes of mushroom, herbs, cherry, white pepper, baking spices, and dark chocolate. This is on the plus side of medium-plus bodied, smooth with flavors of black cherry, plum jam, vanilla, oak and cinnamon. The finish sticks around for a bit. 

At $6.99, this wine is almost certainly a close out.  The packaging alone (especially that beautiful silk screened bottle and custom capsule) suggest a wine that was made to sell for much more.  Sure enough, we found past vintages selling for $16.99.  With any luck, your local Trader Joe’s is stocking this little gem.


Our bottom line?

You can’t go wrong with either of these wines, but I have to say that I preferred the Kirkland rendition over the Pure Bred. Of course, it isn’t exactly a fair fight. Lodi is not Sonoma. And the Kirkland is much more expensive, in relative terms. But given that both are under $10, who is gonna quibble about spending an extra $3 for a better experience. Life is short, drink better wine – right?


About the Zinfandel grape, or “can I buy a vowel?”

Nearly vowel-less and difficult for English speakers to pronounce, Croatia’s Crljenak Kaštelanski (surl-YEN-ack cas-tuh-LON-skee) was once a rare grape variety. But it shares heritage (in other words, they are genetically identical) with two of the world’s most beloved wines: the United State’s Zinfandel and Italy’s Primitivo.


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

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.







1 thought on “Two Zins from the Land of OVZ

  1. Thanks for the review. Some say the Kirkland’s is a Kunde product. I don’t get the usual gaminess, but can believe it. I’m not usually a fan of Lodi, or Trader Joe’s bottlings because of the apparent sweetness, but will give it a try.

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