Finding Bacchus at the Big Box Store

06Feb09

shirza

By Suzanne Lenzer

It’s no secret that even the some of the most serious wine connoisseurs hit Costco or Trader Joe’s for the occasional case (and I’m not talking about the now infamous Two Buck Chuck). Costco is in fact the nation’s largest wine retailer; meaning an awful lot of us shop there, even if we don’t brag about it in the midst of dinner parties. And it makes good sense. In today’s economic climate saving money is not just rational, it’s respectable.

Besides, many of Costco’s wines aren’t cheap. Yes, they’re less expensive than you’ll pay at your local, but you can still find a bottle of Barolo for upwards of fifty dollars (and online you can snag a 2005 Chateau Mouton Rothschild for $549.99). But what may be the best-kept secret of Costco’s caves is their own Kirkland Signature brand. I know what you’re thinking—it’s one thing to buy store brand paper towels, but pinot noir?

cab

I’ll admit, it took some convincing to add that first bottle of Kirkland Sauvignon Blanc to my cart last summer, but for $11.99 it seemed worth the risk that I might end up cooking with it. Instead, I ended up buying it by the case until there was no more. Yes, like all good wines, when the Kirkland Signature bottles are gone, they’re gone. And this was good wine. Not revelatory, not award-winning perhaps, but good, serviceable wine. Good enough in fact that on two separate occasions I had friends–both with refined palettes and well-stocked cellars–ask what I was serving. Sshh…

But as I said, the Sauvignon Blanc is gone. Happily however, as the winter gets really brisk here in New York, there’s a Kirkland Signature 2006 Roogle Shiraz and a 2006 Napa Cabernet Sauvignon to warm up with. There’s also a bright, not-overly-oaky 2006 Sonoma Chardonnay worth a sip. And at $9.99, $13.99, and $8.99 respectively, you can sample all three for less than a single bottle of many California cabs.

Look, I’ll never turn down a bottle of Montrachet, but there are worse ways to weather the current fiscal crisis than with a bit of economically sensible imbibing.

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2 Responses to “Finding Bacchus at the Big Box Store”

  1. 1 Sylvia Dickinson

    Suzanne, I understand the desire to save money in today’s economy. Unless someone (whose taste buds I trust) has offered a solid suggestion on a specific Kirkland Signature bottle of wine, it is risky. Probably ok if I am eating alone and don’t mind pouring the bottle down the drain if it doesn’t meet my lowest expectations.

  2. 2 geoff miller

    Sylvia,

    Have some trust in costco’s wine strategy. Roogle wines are products of Dan phillips and the former MArquis phillips brand. Their wines are mostly high quality and their price points are very attractive.

    Try the shirax, It’s a fruit bomb but very tasty and at under 10 bucks , its well worth a try .


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