3 Weekend wine picks available at Costco (1 red, 1 white, 1 surprise)

    Costco Weekend Wine PicksWith the weekend almost here, chances are you’ll be near a Costco at some point, if you’re like most of us. Maybe it’s the Cirque equivalent of the shopping “big top.” The only high wire act here though is figuring out how to load 50 pounds of carrots, diapers, Diet Coke, and gel into the minivan.

    So here are three wine picks, all available at Costco (although your local selection and availability will vary). Again, it’s a great place to buy daily drinkers. The price is almost always less than anywhere else. The turnover is high, so you’re not getting a poorly stored bottle that has been sitting for months. And, you don’t need to go out of your way.

    Yes, yes, I know, it’s true; wine boutiques offer better selection, more varietals. Still, I stand by Costco as a great place to buy wine. Certainly, not the only place. No, I do not watch Oprah.

    As Loni likes to remind me twice a day, I’ve been somewhat derelict on my wine coverage duties here at SSC (and this coming from someone whose idea of wine coverage is climbing a tractor at Hop Kiln, and shouting “I am woman, hear me roar!” across the vineyards). I can assure you, though, I do plenty of “tasting” while writing our theater, and gadget coverage. It has a way of unlocking creative juices. Or at least it always feels that way after a few glasses of Cab. Unfortunately, the day after, the work that looked so glorious the night before sometimes looks like a psychedelic flower patch; like the kind you’d see on a Beatles album cover.

    Here are my weekend wine picks. Enjoy one (or all)… and please remember: don’t judge your wine by its label.

    The White

    2007 (0r 2008) Kim Crawford Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc (87 pts. $12.99)

    If you like Sauvignon Blancs, this is the one to get. By now, everyone (an your uncle?) has told you about it; pulling it out with much gusto and pride at the last family gathering. There’s something about the water… maybe the terroir… in New Zealand that makes for delicious, crisp Sauvignon Blancs.

    I admit, Chardonnay (on its own) and Reisling (with spicy food, like Loni’s wicked chicken curry) are my favorite whites. But, if I drink another white, this is a top choice. I sometimes find it a little “flowery.” You know, grass in your mouth. But overall I still find it enjoyable. And, like the other wines below, it will never be accused of being dull.

    The Red

    2005 Merryvale Starmont Cabernet Sauvignon (89 pts, $17.99)

    Not exactly going out on a limb with this one. The Starmont is their basic label, but it benefits from their wine making craftsmanship you get from their more expensive wines. It’s  solid wine. The one I always reach for when in doubt.

    The body is fairly pronounced with oaky wood contributing to a long finish. Although the Merryvale tasting notes mention “exotic spices” I would prefer them to be more forward. Perhaps some cellar aging, as recommended, would help. The black current and vanilla were wonderful along with the seared lamb.

    The Surprise

    2008 Toasted Head California Chardonnay (84 pts, $8.99)

    A fire breathing bear? That alone is worth the price of admission for this bargain hunter 2008 Chardonnay from Woodbridge, CA. Even better, they provide a “tear here” tab on the back so you can have a little Toasted Head keepsake sticker. So far, none-and I mean absolutely none-of these are a reason to buy any wine. Still, I laughed. Life is too short.

    First the good. The wine is a bargain at $8.99. It has plenty of character. Dull it’s not. Vanilla, fruit. It’s creamy. Good for food pairing.

    The bad. The finish is too long, too oaky, and too buttery for me. It’s not over-the-top, but I prefer more structure, more tannins.

    Still, given the price, this is a wine worth at least trying. It makes a better pairing wine (fish) than a solo drinker. But that’s a reflection of my personal taste; although, so is everything else I’ve ever written.

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