We have two wines to recommend this week. The first is a delicious Rhone wine and the second wine has the added benefit of a portion of the sales price going to Operation Homefront.
2011 Kirkland Châteauneuf-du-Pape – Costco $19.99
Everyone has had the experience of a smell triggering the memory of an experience. When I popped open the Kirkland Châteauneuf-du-Pape, the aroma reminded me of barbequing baby back ribs. I put a spice rub on the ribs (recipe from Cooks Illustrated) that is in many ways similar to the aroma in this wine. I love the way the spices blossom from this wine. What an aroma! The Costco Website tells me that this wine is a blend of 58% Grenache, 23% Syrah, 13% Counoise Vaccarèse, 4% Cinsault, and 2% Muscardin-Mourvedre. The Grenache really sets the tone for this wine. Delightful, bold, and full of great flavors! Most Châteauneuf-du-Pape wines sell for $40 or more. So at half the price, this wine is quite a deal and I will rate it at 90 points. Costco has commissioned the Domaine de Nalys, one of the oldest and best-known domaines in the Southern Rhone to produce this wine under the Kirkland label. The fruit is from 100% estate vineyards. I can’t wait until we are in the Rhone Valley in two weeks’ time. I have a couple appointments at wineries in Châteauneuf-du-Pape. This wine is a very nice warm up for our trip to France and Spain.
Murphy Goode Homefront Red 2011 – $12 various stores
I received a sample of this wine from the Murphy Goode folks. By coincidence, Vintage Wine Taster Ray purchased a bottle of the Homefront Red at his local Safeway for $11.99 and recommends this wine to our readers. I thought the aroma on this wine was just so-so, but the flavor characters are very nice and enjoyable. This is a wine ready to drink and enjoy now. This wine is a crowd pleaser, with no weaknesses outside of a flat aroma. Everything else is good, as in “Murphy Goode!” An extra good thing about this wine is that 50 cents of each bottle purchased goes to Operation Homefront, a national nonprofit that provides emergency and financial assistance to the families of service members. The wine label says “California Red Wine, ” which means the grapes have been sourced from various California vineyards. It is a blend of Syrah, Merlot, Petit Sirah and Zinfandel. I give this wine 88 points. If you see it at your local market, give it a try.
Jon Bonné has 20 wines for $20
Check out sfgate.com to see what wines for $20 or less that wine writer Jon Bonné is recommending for fall drinking. I only wish he would tell us where we can purchase these wines in the Bay Area.