Costco does a lot of things right, and their wine departments, despite their limited selections, have some superb selections at very low prices. Costco, if you hadn’t noticed, has gone headlong into the private label game. They have been purchasing, from what I can tell, from some first-rate producers. They may not be getting these wineries top shelf ‘lots’, but undeniably, the quality is quite high. This Napa Cabernet is a perfect example of the relatively high-end wine they can put on the shelf for a fraction of the cost the actual wineries that made the wine.
2010 Kirkland Signature, Cabernet Sauvignon Mountain Cuvee, Napa Valley
Right off the bat, I get a nose full of green herbs and a touch of Bell Pepper. This is buttressed by lots black Cassis fruit, fennel bulb some toasty oak. The wine is rich, with a full mouth feel, bright acid, firm but round tannins. There is plenty of dense fruit on the mid-palate, full of black plum, blackberries, and some bordeaux-like Cassis notes. There is a significant palate impression here, with typical mountain Cabernet structure of both higher acid and ripe tannin, coupled with green pyrazine bell pepper notes that add interest, and an old school way. A solid wine for those who don’t mind some leafy-green under-ripeness (88 points.) But this will not be good at all for those who are intolerant (and those folks are legion) of bell pepper in their Cabernet (80 points.) $19
“It is likely that this a ‘lot’ that Girard sold off to Costco because its marked bell pepper notes did not fit into their house style.”
This Kirkland Signature Cabernet was made by Girard Winemaking team of Marco DiGiulllo and Glenn Hugo. DiGiullo was the first winemaker at Lakoya, in Jess Jackson’s portfolio, and has made some pretty remarkable wines over the years. It is likely that this a lot that Girard sold off to Costco because its marked bell pepper notes did not fit into their house style. The cool 2010 vintage is likely a contributor to the under-ripe flavors found in this wine. Clearly solid winemaking here, this just is not going to be in everyone’s wheelhouse.
Post Script. Looking around the internet, some people are really loving this wine. I don’t think the overall quality validates some of their extreme enthusiasm.