Miraflores Zinfandel 2010- Great Value

In this wine review, we recommend two wines found at Costco and one terrific Zinfandel we purchased at the Bottle Barn in Santa Rosa.

image of Miraflores Zinfandel

Miraflores Zinfandel from El Dorado County

Miraflores Zinfandel 2010

A few of years back we visited Miraflores. It’s located in the Sierra Foothills near Placerville in El Dorado County. We visited several wineries in the area over two days and were quite impressed with this winery and two others, Holly’s Hill and Sierra Vista.  Miraflores was new at the time, but all the wines we tasted were well made. The Miraflores Zinfandel 2010 we purchased at the Bottle Barn is one terrific wine.  The Miraflores online wine shop lists the 2010 Zinfandel for $27. Even at that price it is a darn good bargain. The Wine Spectator rated the Miraflores Zinfandel 2010 91 points and it also won a gold medal at the San Francisco Chronicle tasting. It is an impressive wine. The 2011 vintage is about to be released, and that is perhaps why the Bottle Barn carries this wine at such a great discount. What I love about this wine are the spice flavors it gives off in the nose and in the mouth. Anise spice is prominent and gives the berry flavors of Zinfandel an extra boost. The alcohol is 14.9% but the wine comes off as much lighter. 90 Points in my book. Next time I’m near the Bottle Barn in Santa Rosa, I will stop in to buy more. I sure hope they have a good supply.

Bodegas Norton 2011 hits Costco stores – $12.99

Bodegas Norton has been a favorite Malbec of mine and this vintage delivers once again. Back in December of 2013 the Wine Spectator listed this wine on their top 100 wines of the year at number 36 and with a 92-point rating. Only one problem, it was not to be found anywhere on the wine shelves until recently. Costco in Foster City just received this wine a couple of weeks ago and has plenty available at this great price. It is hard to miss the display of the Norton with a neck label clearly showing Wine Spectator’s 92-Point rating. The wine has a lovely aroma and mouth feel. It is an elegant wine with cherries and plum. I love its bright fruit and lingering aftertaste. The tannins and acidity are nicely balanced. Many red meat dishes would go nicely with this delicious Malbec. I am going to give this wine 89 Points. It is a very good wine for the price.

Norton Reserva 2011

Norton Reserva 2011

Chateau De Thauvnay 2012 Sancerre – Costco $14.99

In the Fall we are taking a wine country getaway to the Loire Valley and Burgundy regions of France. The South San Francisco Airport Costco has two wines from the Loire Valley. The Chateau De Thauvnay Sancerre and a Vouvray. I purchased them both with the idea of learning more about the wines from the Loire. I highly recommend the Sancerre. It is 100% Sauvignon Blanc. This Sancerre is a wonderful sipping wine. Just sit outside in the afternoon and listen to the sounds of nature and enjoy this delightful wine. It has many wonderful characteristics, but I particularly love the white flower and wet stone characters. It is a crisp wine and lingers long. 89 Points. On the Vouray, Marie de Beauregard 2011, it was pleasant enough, perhaps a tad sweet. I did not like it enough to purchase it again.

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Delicious Sancerra


Breggo Pinot Gris 2012

The past several days of warm weather have made me think of Pinot Gris. There is something about the crisp brilliance of this wine that goes with outdoor living and the freshness of spring weather. Here is a recommendation for delicious Pinot Gris that I think will sell out quickly at Costco.

breggo pinot gris

Breggo Anderson Valley Pinot Gris

Breggo Pinot Gris Anderson Valley 2012 – Costco $14.99

I was very surprised to find this wine at Costco. Breggo is a boutique winery in the Anderson Valley in Mendocino County. It has only been around for a few short years but had gained a reputation for its Pinot Noir and Alsatian-style wines. Breggo was recently sold to Cliff Lede, who owns Cliff Lede Vineyards in the Napa Valley. Cliff Lede has retained the original winemaker, Ryan Hodgins. Good move! We have visited Breggo and have been very impressed with the quality of the wines. The wines are pricey, but not this standout Pinot Gris. It is $25 at the winery, but only $15 at Costco. That is a substantial discount.

The Breggo Pinot Gris is a powerhouse in terms of aroma and flavors. It is one of those wines that, as you savor each sip, you discover something different. It has a nice round mouth feel and a very generous, lingering aftertaste. It is not as crisp as most Pinot Gris but has more depth and finesse. The wine was uniquely produced. The grapes were fermented and aged in a 200-gallon concrete egg, a 900-gallon French oak oval, small neutral French oak barrels and stainless steel tanks. No wonder it is so good! 90 Points. By the way, fermenting in concrete is done extensively in Europe. Now a new technique has the concrete formed into an egg-shaped receptacle.

Another Pinot Gris wine I recently reviewed and highly recommend is the J Vineyard Pinot Gris – KL Wines, Bottle Barn @ $13.99, Costco $12.99.

Bottle Barn in Santa Rosa

Trecini from Russian River

Trecini from Russian River

Several readers of Wine Values and Bargains have recommended the Bottle Barn in Santa Rosa. These readers argue that the Bottle Barn has the best overall wine prices. On our way back from the wine country in Healdsburg, we stopped in at the Bottle Barn. The Bottle Barn is located in a business center complex. Inside it is nothing fancy, just a whole lot of wine and spirits at excellent prices. I found many labels from wineries in the Russian River area, ones you will not find at Costco, Safeway or the like. The Bottle Barn must deal directly with these wineries. I do believe overall that the prices at the Bottle Barn are rock bottom, but not in every case. I found several wines that are a better deal elsewhere. Example, St. Francis Zinfandel was $14.49, but it is at Costco for $13.99. Carol Shelton Wild Thing Zinfandel is $19.99 at the Bottle Barn, but I have purchased it previously at the Safeway for $13.

I wish that we had a Bottle Barn locally because it is a fun place to shop for wine and find that “ultimate wine bargain.” Check out the Bottle Barn the next time you are in the Santa Rosa area. I purchased the six bottles in the photo below, all for under $20 each. I will review these wines over the next several weeks.

wines bottle barn

Wines purchased at the Bottle Barn


Paso Robles Zinfandel

Paso Robles Zinfandel

We tasted two bargain Zinfandel wines side-by-side, Paso Robles Peachy Canyon Zin VS Trader Joe’s Paso Robles Reserve Zin. I think both of these wines are good examples of the style of Zinfandel coming from the Paso Robles area. Comparing two … [Continue reading]

Three Chardonnay Wines 2012 Vintage that will please

McIlroy Chardonnay

In this review, we look at three Chardonnays wines, each from different wine appellations in California. We have two Wente Vineyard Chardonnay wines, one from Livermore and the other from Monterey County. Both of these were sent to me as wine … [Continue reading]

Organic wines – Frey Chardonnay

image of Frey Chardonnay

April is Earth Month so I thought it would be fun to explore some the organic wines I see more prominently displayed these days. Whole Foods has an entire wine section devoted to Eco-Friendly wines. The Foster City Costco has increased its number of … [Continue reading]

Cameron Hughes Lot 408 Santa Ynez Valley Syrah

Lot 408

In this review, we offer three very different wine values worthy of a purchase. These reviews are posted at least once a week by the Vintage Wine Tasters. Who we are. Cameron Hughes Lot 408 2012 Santa Ynez Valley Syrah – Costco $9.99 … [Continue reading]

Pinot Noir under $10 plus Wine in a Box

image of Bota Box Merlot

It is very difficult to find decent Pinot Noir wines for under $20. How about the challenge of finding a good Pinot Noir under $10? Well, we think we found one very good one. And what about the sudden popularity of wines in a box? Is wine in a box … [Continue reading]

Valdemar Inspiration Rioja


We have four wines reviewed to start off your wine week. The first two are Spanish wines that are outstanding values. I think the wines from Spain offer the wine consumer the best value of any country in the wine world. Valdemar Inspiration Rioja … [Continue reading]

Masperla Priorat 2009

Masperla Priorat

Here are four wine recommendations from Vintage Wine Tasters Bruce and Joe. We have two wines from Costco to recommend and two that are at selected Safeway stores and are part of the Safeway 30% off Wine Sale. Masperla Priorat 2009 - $16.99 … [Continue reading]

Safeway 30% Wine Sale – Deal?

safeway wine sale

Deal or no deal, that is the question! 30% off all wines, really? Do you have trust in the Safeway? I just read on SFGate.com that the Safeway Company settled a lawsuit “alleging that it charged higher prices than advertised, misrepresented the … [Continue reading]