Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Last Night's Tipple, Part II

Costco sells more wine in the United States than any other retailer. I will repeat that just in case you didn't catch it the first time: Costco sells more wine in the United States than any other retailer. That's pretty amazing, especially when you consider that Costco can't sell wine in all of their stores due to the liquor laws in some states and that wine isn't even close to being Costco's focus. I suppose that it was just a matter of time, then, until Costco came out with a Kirkland Signature private-label line of wines. And what they're offering under the Kirkland Signature label isn't just some generic juice from the Central Valley of California selling for $10 for a 2-liter box. There's a Kirkland Signature Super Tuscan, a Kirkland Signature Chateauneuf-du-Pape, a Kirkland Signature 10 year old Tawny Port. And a Kirkland Signature Champagne. And I'm not talking about some cheap bulk sparking wine labeled Champagne -- this is honest-to-goodness French Champagne. Was it any good? Heck, I didn't know, but curiosity forced me to give it a try. What's the worst that could happen? It could be crap, and I could have wasted my $20. Not a terrible risk, if you ask me.

The label says that the Champagne is made by Janisson for de Bruyne and that it is imported by DC Flynt. I won't try to portray myself as any sort of wine expert, but I do know that Janisson and de Bruyne both have good reputations in Champagne and that DC Flynt generally imports good stuff. As chance would have it, at some point in the past year, I had a bottle of pretty good Champagne with the de Bruyne label also made by Janisson and imported by DC Flynt. After trying this bottle, it wouldn't surprise me at all if the Kirkland Signature Champagne is exactly the same juice as the de Bruyne bottle made by Janisson. I was pretty impressed with the Kirkland Signature bottle. It was fruity and tart without being sour and nasty, and I think that I may have detected some of that bready yeastiness that professional reviewers always talk about with Champagne. There are no absolute bargains to be had in Champagne; but relative to other Champagne at close to this price point, this wine was a good value.

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