Two Costco White Wine Value Picks

Saturday, April 11, 2015

I find that when I haven't been for a while, a family trip to Costco can be a ton of fun. The massive flat panel TVs, rotating food samples, and random finds combine to make it one unique competitive shopping experience.

Even if I'm not particularly interested in buying more wine [I'm trying to drink down my stash rather than add more bottles on hand] it's fun to browse the wine area for new finds. Even though winter has held on for dear life here in Boston we're finally seeing signs of spring. And for me that signals the brief time of year where my tastes veer over to white wines and rosés.

Last time we were at Costco I picked up a couple bottles that totally delivered on their modest price points. I thought to mention them here for your consideration.

2013 Buehler Vineyards Russian River Valley Chardonnay
20,000 Cases produced
13.9% Alcohol

Buehler is the first winery visit in Napa Valley that comes to mind when people ask for suggestions (read more...) because their wines are outstanding yet affordable, and though they produce at high enough volume to be featured at Costco a tour often involves a ride around the vineyards in owner John Buehler's SUV.

I first gravitated to their Cabenet Sauvignons, but this Chardonnay - from vineyards in the Russian River Valley - is an amazing value.

Aromatically generous but not overly heavy. Ripe crisp apples, poached pears, and a hint of lime zest. Bright and focused on the palate. Very satisfying wine. A delight to drink.

90 Points WWP: Outstanding

2013 Chateau Ste Michelle Columbia Valley Riesling
716,000 Cases produced
11.5% Alcohol

For me, Chateau Ste Michelle's Riesling is the white wine value equivalent of Columbia Crest Grand Estates Merlot. Which shouldn't be surprising because they share similar ownership history and are now part of the same conglomerate: Altria. Add them to your addiction-driven portfolio!

Chateau Ste Michelle has been a pioneer in domestic Riesling production, partnering with well-regarded German producer Dr. Loosen. They know what they're doing, especially with Riesling, and this uber-available stunningly affordable white is a great example of that.

I tried this recently at PF Chang's because a) it was surprisingly affordable at like $20 in a restaurant setting and b) I really like Riesling with Asian food.

Aromatically, it's pitch perfect Riesling with lime/citrus softened by peach/pear notes the come together brilliantly for that hard to describe "Riesling" flavor profile. They should really make a Riesling flavored jelly bean. I'd peg this for German Riesling if I didn't know better and that's a huge compliment for this $8 wine.

Labeled as being between medium-dry and medium-sweet this is in line with the tendency with Riesling that the lower the alcohol, the sweeter it is. Riesling can driven down south of 8% so while this isn't sweet in my book, it's certainly not bone dry. I think it's flavorful and crisp. Also check out their Eroica bottling at $15.99 if you like this one. Always terrific.

90 Points WWP: Outstanding

Both of these wines pair brilliantly with Asian food and spicier dishes. Or to enjoy while watching a ball game on their own. I picked up some rosés on our most recent trip to Costco as well. I'll follow-up and let you know about them if they're noteworthy.

Wine Spectator rated both of these wines 88 points. I think they're a little better than that, and given how much enjoyment they delivered for me, and their modest price points, I think they're wonderful values.

Question of the Day: What are some of your favorite value-driven wines to kick off the spring season?

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