If you’re a Costco warehouse chain cardholder, you’ve probably seen its exclusive Kirkland Signature brand of wines sold only in the store. They’re produced at the Kirkland winery in Healdsburg, Calif., located in Sonoma County.
Kirkland’s domestic and foreign wines usually sell for $20 or less and are decent for every-day drinking.
One of the best in the portfolio, however, is the Kirkland Signature 2014 Chateauneuf-du-Pape Cuvee De Natys, a southern Rhone Valley red that is absolutely sumptuous. It’s a Grand Cru selling for $25 a bottle.
You can hunt far and wide, even travel to France, but it’ll be difficult to find a Chateauneuf-du-Pape of this quality for less than $40.
The Kirkland Signature blend was featured in a recent Wine Enthusiast review, receiving 90 points and named an “Editors’ Choice” selection.
If you’ve never tasted a Chateauneuf-du-Pape, this is your chance to experience a rich, powerful, ageworthy wine at a workingman’s price.
Grenache is the dominant grape in the southern Rhone (Syrah takes the lead in the northern Rhone) and supplies the backbone to Chateauneuf-du-Pape. Winemakers select from a palette of 14 approved grapes (including five white varietals) to create a fragrant (lavender, violets), full-bodied, and distinctively fresh dark berry taste (Kirsch, cassis, plum) filled with complex spices. While the finish is long and dry, the wine yields a fascinating soft and “sweet” tannic impression.
When paired with grilled meats, especially thick steaks, Chateauneuf-du-Pape can be utterly divine — and it probably should be. The wine comes from an historic commune of the same name whose roots date to the 14th century line of Roman Catholic popes who resided in nearby Avignon. Chateauneuf-du-Pape translates to “The Pope’s New Castle” which John XXII began building in 1317 at the very top of the village. (Today, the castle sits in ruins and is a popular tourist destination.)
The vineyards of Chateauneuf-du-Pape thrive despite barren climate conditions: little rain, high summer heat, and strong Mistral winds that threaten to desicate the grapes. Yet nearly every year, the miracle of the vine delivers gorgeous fruit. The land itself is the key: nutrient rich soil of limestone, sandstone, clay, and galets (small round pebbles of glacial debris that sit on the surface and reflect the sun’s heat onto the plant).
Bottles of this Grand Cru wine – one of 16 in the entire Rhone Valley – are distinctively embossed with the papal coat of arms.
The Kirkland Signature 2014 Chateauneuf-du-Pape Cuvee De Natys consists of six red Rhone grapes — Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault,
Vaccarése, Counoise and Mourvedré — and represents a perfect way to get started on a lifetime enjoyment of this special wine. It’s available only at Costco stores.