2015 Kirkland Signature Chablis Premier Cru

Year: 2015

Producer: Kirkland Signature

Region: Chablis, France

Grape(s): Chardonnay

Alcohol: 13%

Body: Medium

Dry/Sweet: Dry

Tasting Notes: Lemon citrus, tart apple, subtle pear, minerals, honeysuckle 

Pairings: Almost any seafood! Good alternative to sake for traditional sushi, nigiri, sashimi.

Price (approximately): $15


My Musings:

I Am often critical of the Kirkland label, finding it most frequently to be an average wine that expresses the characteristics of a region for a cheap price. Procure with appropriate expectations. This wine, however, is absolutely delightful and a reminder that, with a little perseverance, you can happen upon an excellent quality Kirkland label at a fraction of the region’s typical price. A tip of the cap to Kirkland Signature for this effort. Well done.

The wine opens with bright fruit and citrus aromas of citrus lemon, tart apple and subtle pear. On the palate the body is medium with excellent structure driven by minerality famous to the region and balancing acidity. As the wine warms some grapefruit citrus notes join the party, along with honeysuckle on the palate. Aged in stainless steel barrels, the fruit expression is clear and brilliant. At the Kirkland bargain price of $15, this wine is definitely priced under its punching power. Often a Premier Cru such as this is retailing for over $30. Extraordinary value found here; buy in bulk.

The nornthernmost region in the famous French appellation of Burgundy, Chablis is famous for its Kimmeridgian limestone soils that produce mineral-driven, steely, structured white wines. Focused exclusively on the Chardonnay varietal, the region is home to 40 Premier Cru vineyards and one Grand Cru (divided into seven Climats), the highest distinction in the appellation. Although the Romans introduced wine to the region, it was local medieval monks and monasteries that refined rudimentary viticultural practices and established wine as an essential component to a rural economy.  Medieval Monks: winemakers and soul savers. 

The Kimmeridgian remnants of Chablis’ ancient beginnings can still be found amongst the soils. The region, now a semi-continental climate, was for a time covered by a shallow sea dotted with islands, shoals and coral reefs. Fossilized bones and shells of long-vanished oysters and other sea life from the basin along with ocean basalt and limestone produce well-drained, mineral-rich terroir that has consistently translated to exceptional mineral flavors, finesse and structure famous to Chablis.




2015 Château de Saint Cosme Côtes-du-Rhône Syrah

Year: 2015

Producer: Château de Saint Cosme

Region: Côtes-du-Rhône, France

Grape(s): Syrah

Alcohol: 14.5%

Body: Medium

Dry/Sweet: Dry

Tasting Notes: Black Fruit, Sour Cherry, Licorice, Tobacco, Black Pepper

Pairings: Barbecue and grilled meats, roast pork, aged hard cheeses, mushroom risotto

Price (approximately): $17


My Musings:

A bit of a surprise to me initially for a Côtes-du-Rhône wine because it is made with 100% Syrah, rather than the characteristically lighter bodied, food-friendly red blends that are brilliant for the dinner table. Syrah isn't what you would classify as lighter bodied, with its medium-to-firm tannins and tobacco, leather and black pepper flavor profile. This wine, however, managed to find the sweet spot - almost as though it were a combination of the Northern and Southern Rhône Valley. Pleasant aromatics of black fruit, sour cherry, licorice, pepper and tobacco entice the nose. On the palate, acidity characteristic of the region frames the fruit, leather, tobacco and black pepper spice. Tannins were medium and firm, particularly on the finish, and the wine probably could have benefited from a quarter to a half a percent less ABV. However, still a pleasant wine that can be enjoyed with a wide variety of foods. The tobacco, black pepper and medium tannins afford pairings with grilled meats and hard, aged cheeses. However, unlike a typical Syrah, the wine was solidly medium-bodied and would not overpower lighter dishes, such as roast pork, duck or mushroom risotto. It is also pleasant just to sip on a cool autumn evening with a few friends!

Pick this up in Honolulu at Fujioka's Wine Times for under $17 bucks! A great bargain wine in one of my favorite regions in the world.

Bonus Time!

For those Costco fans out there, I will throw in a bonus this week. We also opened the 2011 Kirkland Signature Ribera Del Duero Gran Reserva. For $12.99, really a delightful wine and a great expression of the Spanish appellation and its most famous grape, Tempranillo. Ribera del Duero neighbors the more prestigious Rioja appellation and, in many respects, is the little brother. Some excellent value wines come out of this region, and this bottle is no exception.  On the back of the label, if you read the fine print (which of course I do, being a lawyer and all), you will notice that Kirkland Signature has sourced this wine from Bodega Viña Solorca, a reputable producer whose non-Reserva wines are often priced above $13! Once again, Costco brings the deals. This and the Ti Point Sauvignon Blanc are the best Kirkland Signature wines I have tasted all year.