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Kirkland Signature label is a sign of value
WITH THE HELP of a whole lot of grapes (and
expert winemakers), Costco popped the cork on
Kirkland Signature™ premium wines in 2003.
Pat Volchok gives
look at Costco
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It all started with a gorgeous deep magenta-red,
full-bodied 2003 South Australia Barossa Valley
Shiraz selling for $9.89 and tasting more like $40. At
the time, Barossa was just a dot on the map, but
Costco wine buyers knew their grapes. Within days
of its appearance in warehouses, wine circles were
abuzz and pallets quickly emptied.
This highly successful program christening also
sent a strong message to the wine industry: Costco’s
Kirkland Signature label means memorable, super-premium to luxury wines. No bottom-of-the-barrel
plonk, commonly chosen for house brands, allowed.
And the prices are impressively low.
For a helpful
Kirkland Signature wines
featuring vintage notes,
food pairings and more,
visit costco.com, click on
“Costco Magazine,” then
“Kirkland Signature Wine
Now, three years later, the Kirkland Signature
wine list reads like a who’s who of Old World and
New World treasures.
Old World wines come mainly from European
winegrowing regions, which means they are under
European Union (EU) regulations. The EU controls
nearly everything, from the place of origin to grape
varieties (varietals) planted, cultivation (viticulture)
and winemaking techniques (vinification).
Emphasis is put on the place of origin and terroir.
Loosely translated from French, terroir means “sense
of place,” the recognition that local environmental
influences pass on unique characteristics to wines.
Old World wines selected for Kirkland Signature
status include numerous offerings from Bordeaux’s
famous St.-Émilion region, where Merlots thrive in
the clay soils, and from the storied Margaux and
where gravelly topsoil
A soft, plush red
from Burgundy and
a complex Châteauneuf-du-Pape from the
Rhône Valley have also
made the Costco list.
New World wine
countries include the United
States, Australia and New Zealand.
Different winemaking rules apply. Grape varieties,
rather than place of origin, are emphasized.
Unlike with most Old World wines, varietals’
names are allowed on the label (as long as the
winery meets the percentage of varietal required
in the blend). And regulations regarding planting
varietals in the various vineyards are nonexistent.
Kirkland Signature New World wines have
included a beautiful aromatic Sauvignon Blanc
from New Zealand’s Marlborough region and a
single-vineyard Shiraz-Cabernet from Barossa
Valley, which flew out of the warehouses. The
United States has also been represented, with a
delicious Cabernet from Alexander Valley in
Sonoma, a big, bold Cabernet from the heart
of Napa Valley’s Oakville wine region and a
wonderful Pinot Noir from Oregon.
Always curious, I tracked down Costco’s
national director of wine, spirits and beer,
Annette Alvarez-Peters, to hear more about
this gem of the Costco private-label program