Budget Wine Review: Kirkland Signature Rioja Reserva 2013

kirkland riojaA Rioja Reserva for $7 raises eyebrows. Unlike the term “reserve” in the U.S., in Rioja “reserva” actually means something. It must be aged for 3 years with at least 1 year in oak. The winemaker’s notes say this 100% Tempranillo was aged in oak for 3 years so this wine exceeds minimum requirements. $7 wines made in the U.S would never see a barrel; their “oak” would be from chips or some other oak product. So this Costco wine looks like a terrific deal.

After tasting I have to say, it’s just OK but has a unique personality and is a good value at this price.

The nose is simple blackberry with an earthy, mushroom background and a hint of wood. The palate shows very soft, muted fruit upfront, a muddled midpalate with chocolate and tobacco that finally gains intensity as the finish begins with lifted, high toned acidity. The tannins are powdery, only a minor presence. This is a curious wine, so reserved and murky as it opens and so mouthwateringly citric as it finishes. It’s depressive then manic but the journey is not unpleasant and when you’re at this price point anything unusual is a treat.

Recommended especially when accompanied by Kurt Cobain’s Lithium.

Score: 86

Price: $7 at Costco

Alc: 13.5%

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