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Preview: A Wine A Week

A Wine A Week

Inexpensive Wine Reviews, Ratings and Rants. Use the right column to select your wine interests.

Last Build Date: Tue, 06 Mar 2018 03:19:39 +0000


Kirkland 2009 Rutherford Meritage

Sun, 05 Jun 2011 23:41:00 +0000

After tasting the superb 2007 Kirkland Napa Meritage (and reading all of the wonderful comments which agreed with), I was quick to toss this bottle in the cart in a recent Costco visit. At $14, it was a few dollars more than that last gem, but worth a try.

This wine is a blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 12% Petit Verdot, and 3% Cabernet Franc. Strong spices on the nose and quick to shock your palate, but become enjoyable over the long finish. Dark fruits with the smokey/oak coming through on the finish. Given a steak, this would near the top of the list for a bottle of wine under $15. A bit strong for a sipping wine. My wife drops the 5/10 rating, I’ll give it a 7/10. Definitely worth a try, especially if you like a full-bodied, big, bold red.


2009 Frenzy Sauvignon Blanc

Sat, 28 May 2011 00:17:00 +0000

Pear & honeysuckle on the nose, very light with a citrus finish. Grapefruit and grassy tones dominate. A bit of saltiness in the finish that I didn't expect.

I picked this up at the local Total Wine for around $10. As I was carrying the bottle around the store, I ran into a work friend who is a graphic designer. He couldn't believe I'd ever buy a bottle of wine that used this awful font on the label. He picks his wines strictly by label design. I'll say he's going to miss out on this excellent bottle, but to each his own.

Good purchase: 8/10 rating and that makes my top inexpensive wine list.

I'm still saying to stick to the New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs vs. California if you like the more light, citrus & crisp vs. sweeter and golden. Cheers!


Cupcake Vineyards 2009 Cabernet Savignon

Fri, 13 May 2011 23:51:00 +0000

(image) It's probably time to send out a warning (again) that if you bring a bottle of wine over to our house, it's going to be reviewed on Either choose wisely (don't mistake that for a need to buy something expensive) or go with beer.

So I can't even get this down...thick and sugary. You can't discern any other flavors as the sweetness is overwhelming. My wife says "it's not the worst thing I've ever had" and rates it a 2.5/10.

I've seen this bottle all over the grocery store endcaps and is typically priced around $8-9. 1.5/10 is my rating...I'm not going to finish my glass.

Now, excuse me while I go brush my teeth...I feel a cavity or three coming on.(image)

Louis M. Martini 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon

Sat, 07 May 2011 23:58:00 +0000

This is one of my favorite grocery store wines – certainly a go-to. Typically it’s $15-$17 at Harris Teeter, but it was on sale for $9.99. For that price, I’m giving this a 8 out of 10 and putting it in my Best Inexpensive Wines category. Red Laser can’t even find it online for that cheap. Total Wine has it for $14.

I call this a “wine drinker’s wine” because it’s very dry and complex (for a $10 wine). Cherry, blackberry, currant, and a bite to finish with hints of vanilla. It will go well with red meats or hearty meals.(image)

Chateau de Camarsac Bordeaux Superieur 2008

Tue, 03 May 2011 01:09:00 +0000

A French wine on the day Osama Bin Laden is killed? un-American! The below sums up my feelings on the matter quite well:

"I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that" - MLK Jr.

It's the colors of this bottle that first jump out...dare to be different and I'll buy. I was happy with this visit to the Bordeaux region and impressed by this red blend of 65% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 5% Cabernet Franc. $13 at Total Wine.

Lighter cherry on the nose, but bigger on the palate with dark berries dominating. Black berries and a zing from currant. Silky and smooth tannins.

7.5 out of 10...definitely a re-purchase, mainly so I can show off my French wine skillz.


Montebuena Rioja 2009

Sat, 16 Apr 2011 00:09:00 +0000

You'll want to just toss some fruit and sugar in here and stick with sangria. Typical Tempranillo grapes bring a full flavored mouthful of sweet wine. Not my style, so a 3.5/10 despite the low $8 cost at Costco.

Cousino-Macul Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 Antiguas Reservas

Mon, 11 Apr 2011 00:43:00 +0000

Hailing from the Maipo Valley of Chile, this sustainably farmed cab held up well to my carribean jerk grilled chicken tonight. It also paired nicely with the back 9 of the Masters as well ;)

Strong spice that tinges the nostrils and lingers nicely throughout. Cherry flavors lead and those spices with vanilla on the finish. I'm a fan.

Good buy for $13 at Costco. 6.5/10 rating.


Chateau Bel Air L'Espérance 2008 Grand Vin de Bordeaux

Mon, 04 Apr 2011 01:32:00 +0000

In my last visit to Total Wine, I took a stroll down the France aisle and a few bottles caught my eye. This particular Bordeaux is a red blend of 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, and 20% Cabernet Franc. As the wife is dusting as I try to taste this wine, everything seems to taste like Pledge ;)

Seriously though, this is a good blend for the $9 price point. Light cherry on the nose. Overall, a very smooth wine and not overbearing. The granite undertones of this wine are striking – I could see some folks not enjoying that. For a lighter bodied wine, the tannins can sneak up on you. Also of note, the stubby little cork…it was only 2/3’s the length of a normal cork. Interesting first impression. 7/10 rating – I’d get this again, especially great value for the price.


Bonterra Cabernet Sauvignon 2008

Mon, 21 Mar 2011 00:38:00 +0000

This wine really came out after a few days of being opened and went from a weak 6/10 to a strong 8/10. Great buy for $11 at Costco for this organically grown gem. Earthy tones with a nasal spice. Great finish with vanilla. Bold dark cherry and dark fruits. Sadly, these are the wines that never last long at the Costco…get one while you can.

Castello D’Albola 2007 Chianti Classico

Sat, 12 Mar 2011 15:31:00 +0000

A very nice Chianti that went quite well with vegetable lasagna tonight. Not overly dry and is light bodied – fresh and cherry crisp.

$13 at Costco is a great price for this – even shows this for $17. Wine Spectator ranked this #47 on their Top 100 wines of 2010 and I agree. 8/10 and makes the AWineAWeek must-buy inexpensive wine list.

2008 Catena Cabernet Sauvignon

Sun, 27 Feb 2011 01:51:00 +0000

I swear most wine from Mendoza, Argentina tastes similar - that nutty, earthy flavor - even when it's a Malbec vs. a Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine is even a deep purple color like a Malbec as well. Basically, I'm convinced this wine is made from Malbec grapes ;) $15 at Costco is a bit steep for this bottle, although that's a few bucks less than you can find it for on the net. Heavy on dark fruits, with that "Mendoza flavor" (I'm going to trademark that). Not a fan, 3.5/10 - not something I'd pay more than $8 for...and even then, not my style.

Hob Nob Pinot Noir 2009

Sun, 20 Feb 2011 00:29:00 +0000

…is going down the drain. A sugar-fruit bomb. I can’t believe Wal-Mart can sell this wine for $10.50. Pinot Noir should be light and smooth…this is quite fruit forward and overly cherry. 1/10.

A cute kid is about the only positive this post has. ;)

Clifford Bay 2009 Pinot Noir

Sat, 05 Feb 2011 01:32:00 +0000

Ah, after a long week, this one hits the spot. This is my second good wine in as many nights - last night at Elway's Steakhouse in Denver, the Nickel & Nickel 2006 Zinfandel was a nice, dry accompaniment to my bone-in filet.

This Pinot Noir dances vibrantly on the tongue. Heavy grapefruit influences. Light in color, floral blossoms on the nose. A bit tart as it tingles on the start. It's a nice light wine and makes for good sipping. For $10 at Costco, I'll give it a 7/10 as it's pretty unique and of good quality. My only complaint is it gets jammy in the finish after a glass or two.

I'm not sure I've had a Pinot Noir wine from New Zealand, but I like this. With Spring oh so close, I plan to drain my share of Marlborough vino...but of the Sauvignon Blanc family.

Newman’s Own 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon

Mon, 31 Jan 2011 01:22:00 +0000

I’ve seen Paul’s mug in a few aisles at Wal-Mart, but didn’t expect to see his grin in the wine section. Cool Hand Luke aims to please the general populous with this vino…it should appeal to the masses with it’s smooth, medium-bodied and somewhat sweet flavors. With all profits going to charity, I’ll spring the $9.50 for this one. Cherry flavors with a bit of sweetness, ending with a slight peppery bite. Medium dry finish. Aims to please. 5.5/10…slightly above average, but very even keeled.

Kirkland 2008 Alexander Valley Merlot

Sun, 23 Jan 2011 00:26:00 +0000

Thick and sweet, this bottle lays on what I like about a nice Merlot. While “sweet” it’s not “sugary” like some of it’s cheaper counterparts. The spice on the finish is nice. Black cherry and plum dominate. Thick, jammy finish with vanilla undertones.

You can pick up all Kirkland wines at Costco and this Alexander Valley Merlot was $9. Easy to enjoy, and above average for a $9 wine…6/10 rating. Again, make sure you like ‘em on the sweet side here.

Go Bears.

Foppiano 2008 Estate Petite Sirah

Sat, 08 Jan 2011 01:15:00 +0000

There is nothing petite about this big, bold wine. In fact, I’d recommend a meal with this as it was too intense for just sipping on the couch (night #1). Tonight (night #2), it paired very nicely with some parmesan chicken and pasta – coated the mouth as the red sauce brought out the peppery goodness of the wine. Strong tannins, blackberry, and other dark fruits stand out, leaving more subtle vanilla flavors on the lingering finish.

This bottle was $14 at Costco. While I’m ranking this 6.5/10, my wife felt it deserved no more than a 4/10 and “tasted cheap”. We’ll agree to disagree here as I’ll stand by my recommendation, as long as you have a meal by it’s side.

Kirkland 2008 Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

Mon, 27 Dec 2010 01:10:00 +0000

Back up, step away, and let it breathe...

Even on the third night, the tannins are strong. We tried to drink this immediately out of the bottle a few nights back, but I couldn't do it. If you have this on your shelf, don't rush it as it should grow into itself in another year or so. Tough to hog precious rack space on a $13 wine, so I have to rate this a 4/10. Disappointing as my previous Kirkland "vineyard" purchases have done well.

Very dark in color with heavy currant on the palate. Almost sour-tasting. Very slight vanilla on the finish, but very overpowered by the tannins. You'll want a heavy red pasta dish or fatty steak with this one. Pizza night tomorrow...hope it's still good.

Cline 2009 Cashmere Wine

Sun, 19 Dec 2010 15:31:00 +0000

So I must start with an apology as it’s been over a month since my last confession...err, post. I promise you that a wine a week has been drained…it’s the time to blog about it that I’ve missed. I’ve been Down Under (Australia) for a few weeks – and yes, I hit some winelands. More on that later as the bottles get opened, but will say, if you are visiting “The Hunter” (Hunter Valley, near Sydney), Brokenwood Vineyards is a clear standout.

The Cashmere is garbage. Fruit bomb. Disappointing as the Cline Zin is pretty much our house wine. $12 at Costco. It’s a red blend of Mourvedre, Grenache, and Syrah. We are drinking this on night #2 and it’s gotten sweeter and fruitier…and we didn’t like it on night #1 either. 2/10 ranking...most of the bottle was poured out. Stick to the Zin.

2005 Foppiano Petite Sirah

Sun, 17 Oct 2010 00:57:00 +0000

Enjoying this bottle from the Russian River Valley on a wonderful fall night. Although I recommend food with this one; this petite syrah is a peppery one will not be ideal for your turkey day. Very dry and probably best with red meat. Bold flavors of currant, dark berries, and spice.

There is a tinge of minerality or earth that throws this wine off, in my book. That said, my wife did enjoy this wine. No doubt it has character and stands out from the pack. I believe this was $12 at Costco. 6/10 rating (although the wife voted for 6.5).

2009 Kirkland Ti Point Sauvignon Blanc

Sun, 03 Oct 2010 01:09:00 +0000

Another test to see if Costco's private label can roll with the big names of the wine industry. For $8, this is another winner as it easily drinks as as $12-13 sauvignon blanc.

Definitely one of the sweeter Marlborough sauvignon blancs I've tasted and would have certainly guessed this a California version in a blind taste test. My wife is a fan of the more citrus-y, so quickly dismissed the peach and honey overtones.

I'll rate it a 7/10, but with the caveat that you like the sweeter (vs. citrus sour) version of this varietal. With not many days to enjoy to enjoy this summer sippin' wine, the last of the season was a winner.

2006 El Coto Rioja Crianza

Sun, 19 Sep 2010 00:07:00 +0000

Ah, what my lawn looked like before the weeds and grubs started taking over. The chemicals would probably eat through the bottle today.

The El Coto Rioja was a good buy at $9, and did not disappoint. Thanks again Costco. I've come to realize you almost can't go wrong with about 70-80% of Costco wines...which is probably why they are the largest wine retailer in America. Speaking of popularity, El Coto is the #1 selling brand in Spain. Match made in, America...I suppose.

This inexpensive wine is made from the tempranillo grape. It's very light, but doesn't lack spice. Bright cherry on the forefront with a tint of raspberry. Tobacco on the finish. After reading another review mentioning coconut, I do notice it slightly on the finish.

7/10 rating. $9 at Costco. Well done.(image)

Truscott 2007 Old Vine Zinfandel

Sun, 12 Sep 2010 01:09:00 +0000

One of the drier zins I have tasted. It's also one of the biggest and boldest zins I've tried. If you like your wines blasting with blackberry, cherry, & plum...with a rocky undertone and spicy, yet powerfully dry finish, this is your inexpensive wine.

Unfortunately, it's a bit overdone for me. Probably best with pizza or burgers off the grill. 4 out of 10 ranking for me...and would say it's overpriced by ~$5 at the $15 price point from Total Wine.

Kirkland 2007 Napa Valley Meritage

Wed, 08 Sep 2010 01:11:00 +0000

No, Kirkland is not a vineyard, it's Costco's proprietary label. This $11 gem must have been bottled by the wine god's, because I am giving it an 8/10 and putting it in my Best Inexpensive Wines category. Everything from Costco is amazing, except for the calls from the AMEX fraud department after my visits due to high spending ;)

The blend is 59% Merlot, 38% Cabernet Sauvignon, & 3% Cabernet Franc. Smokey, vanilla goodness and the oak shines at the finish. Decent bite but not overdone. Thick black cherry flavors make you look forward to the next sip. I had to set it down so I didn't drink it all prior to this review.

Well done Costco! I'm looking to try more from the Kirkland brand.

Ugly Duckling 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon

Mon, 30 Aug 2010 01:07:00 +0000

Dry with overt black cherry. The currant was very heavy on night 1, but has mellowed since. Still on the tart side, but a good balance. 5.5/10 as I was happy with it, but not sure it's one I'd repurchase. That said, with a name like Ugly Duckling, it will certainly standout on a menu. $11 at Total Wine.

Line Shack 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon

Tue, 24 Aug 2010 23:56:00 +0000

Hailing from the San Antonio Valley of northern California, Line Shack is a name derived from the shelters workers stayed in while they were away from home.

This wine was a hit at my BBQ on Sunday night. For $15 a bottle, it should be good. I'd buy it again and will rate it 6.5/10 as it's above expectations...but didn't blow me away.

Very intense flavors of dark cherry & vanilla. Spice on the finish that dries up nicely. Decent tannins as expected with a 14.8% concentration of the goodness. I'm a fan.