This is a series of weekly bargain wine picks by the members of the Vintage Wine Tasting Club. We meet every other month for a formal tasting session but, in between, we communicate with each other whenever we discover a great wine bargain. We love the sport of bargain wine hunting. I’ll sort through the members’ picks each week and highlight the best bargain wines for your dinner table. Here are our bargain wine picks from the past week. Three of the four wines on this week’s recommendations are from Costco and the fourth is available only at the Andis winery.
Pillar Box Red 2008 – $5.99 – Recommended by Mike
The normal price at Costco on this wine is $7.99. For how long I don’t know but Costco is giving a $2.00 instant rebate at the check out counter. At $5.99 this is a huge bargain. Robert Parker gives this wine 89 points. This wine is a blend of 66% Shiraz, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 9% Merlot. It is not as big as an Australian Shiraz — much more mellow in style. It has good flavors but not a lot of depth to the wine. There is no finish or aftertaste to this wine but, when one is on a budget, this wine sings. It is $11.79 on wine.com.
Norton Privada 2007 – $16.99 – Recommended by Joe
This is beautiful blend of Malbec, Merlot, and Cabernet. It is a well balanced, medium bodied with rich aromas and black fruit flavors that linger in the mouth. This wine will go with more foods than a straight Argentine Malbec. Roasted chicken will bring out the best in this wine as well as red meat dishes. It’s at Costco for $16.99. The Wine Advocate gives it a 91-point rating; I’ll go with an 89-point rating.
Kaiken 2008 Ultra Malbec – $14.99 – Recommended by Joe
This is a great effort by Chilean wine producer Montes. Montes crossed over the Andes and established the Kaiken winery in Mendoza, Argentina. At Kaiken, they grow only two varietals, Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon and produce the Ultra series and a Reserve series of these two varietals. This wine is well balanced with a little bit of a floral characteristic and loads of good Malbec character. The flavors are strong, but the tannins are soft and do not overpower the wine. This is a great red meat wine that tastes like a $25 bottle. The Wine Advocate – 90 points, Joe – 88 points.
Andis 2010 Sauvignon Blanc – Recommended by Jim, Jerry, Ray, and Joe
We visited this winery in Amador County last weekend and shared a case of this amazing Sauvignon Blanc. It is at the high-end of the Sauvignon Blanc price range at $19 but tastes better, in our opinion, than the Sauvignon Blanc wines in the high $20 range from the Napa Valley and Sonoma County. It is 100% Sauvignon Blanc from two vineyards in the Shenandoah Valley. It was fermented and aged in stainless steel tanks. It has an amazing aroma mix of peach, melon, and some citrus. In the mouth the wine is crisp but balanced and full of delicious flavors. We give this wine an easy 90 points. It is available only at the winery for $19.
Nothing to Write Home About
These are wines we tried during the past week that don’t interest us enough to try or buy again.
Las Rocas de San Alejandro Garnacha 2008 – This wine is getting lots of hype and is found in many wine shops and big wine retailers. There are plenty of other Spanish wines at the same price that are much better. This is one of Gallo’s many-owned wineries.
Franciscan 2009 Napa Valley Chardonnay
This is just another average boring California Chardonnay. Get the Robert Mondavi Napa Valley Chardonnay instead for around the same price and so much better in taste and style.