Master of Wine: Outstanding Under $10 Red Wine

In today’s video, Bob Paulinski, Master of Wine tastes and talks about an outstanding Tuscan red wine value from Costco. The wine is not available year-round and the offering may vary by location.

The wine is the 2021 Kirkland Signature Chianti Classico Riserva for $8.99. To give you a better idea of the value on this wine, I did a bit of shopping at other stores. As expected, the base level, generic Chianti was often at a higher price versus the Chianti Classico Riserva from Costco. It makes no sense as base-level Chianti comes from lesser favored vineyard sites with higher allowed yields, lower ripeness requirements and often some white grapes are included in the blend which is often attributed to increased quantity but not quality.

Next, comes much more interesting wines at Chianti Classico level, this an iconic representation from the region. This level is termed as ANNATA, although it’s rarely used on the label). The vineyard sources are from superior sites compared to the base-level Chianti. The yields are lower, the fruit must be riper, the wines receive longer aging before release, and no white grapes are permitted in the blend. At this level, the wines are typically found in the mid-teens and quickly bump up into the $20 plus range.

As for Chianti Classico Riserva, this is a much more serious wine. This is the level that corresponds to the featured wine from Costco. The yields are lower than basic Chianti Classico, the fruit must have a higher degree of required ripeness, along with increased aging requirements, in this case, two years in barrel and 3 months in bottles before release. In terms of pricing, wines at this level are commonly found starting at around $25, and quickly climbing from there.

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