Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Kirkland Signature Chateauneuf du Pape 2019

Kirkland Signature Chateauneuf du Pape 2019

Colleague and wine buddy Michael alerted me to the Kirkland Signature private label wine bottlings from big-box warehouse retailer Costco. Hard to belief perhaps, but they are actually the largest retail wine merchant in the world. They sell a select offering of popular well known producers as well as lesser known brands. They also market their own private label portfolio under the Kirkland Signature brand and label. Kirkland is the Costco brand named for their hometown in suburban Seattle where they are headquartered.

This week's visit to Costco was the first time I noticed the Kirkland Signature Brand in this Chateauneuf du Pape (CdP). For several years they offered a  Kirkland Signature Chateauneuf du Pape that was produced by Chateau de Nalys through the 2016 release, up until the producer of this Kirkland wine for many vintages, was acquired in 2017 by well known Rhone producer Guigal.

The change in ownership may have resulted in a missed vintage release in 2017. In any event the 2018 vintage Costco Chateauneuf du Pape was attributed to a new different producer. The wine was previously made by Domaine de Nalys, as it was displayed on the front label, but was replaced with "Cuvee du Terroir des Papes" with the 2018 release. The back label indicated the new winemaker was Guillaume Gonnet, who makes a number of wines under his own label, including several from CdP.

Owner and winemaker of his family’s Châteauneuf du Pape estate since 2006, 'Guillaume Gonnet Vigneron', was created by Guillaume and his Australian wife Kelly. Guillaume Gonnet wines are the realization of their dream to pursue the potential of Southern Rhône grape varieties in varing terroir in the South of France.

Before joining his family as third generation winemaker, Guillaume travelled the world working in some of the most famous wineries in Bordeaux, Burgundy, The Napa Valley, New Zealand and finally in Australia where he met his future wife.

Seeking to craft their own wines they set out to sought out distinctive “terroir” to showcase their wines to expression all of the environmental elements that affect the quality of the grapes and, ultimately, the characteristics of the wine.

Guillaume Gonnet wines were the realization of their dream to pursue the potential of Southern Rhône grape varieties from the varying terroir in the South of France, when they purchased their own plots in Chateauneuf du Pape in 2015. 

With their vines, and selected parcels, Guillaume produce wine that reflects their philosophy for winemaking - Minimal interference with the “terroir effect”, and striving to obtain the right blend of Southern Rhone varieties - Grenache, Syrah and Mouvèdre, to attain complexity, balance and soft, elegant tannins, practicing an approach to aging using very little wood influence.

Today, Guillaume and Kelly produce a range of wines representing a number of appellations in the Southern Rhône including Côtes du Rhône, Côtes du Rhône Village, Lirac, Cairanne, Tavel and of course, Châteauneuf du Pape.

Kirkland Signature Chateauneuf du Pape "Cuvee du Terroir des Papes" 2019

The varietal breakdown in the blend of this wine is composed the primary required Chateauneuf-du-Pape varietals, 70% Grenache, 10% Syrah, 10% Mourvedre and 10% Cinsault.

The Costco wine writer/blogger writes that this 2019 Chateauneuf-du-Pape, created by Gonnet, represents the four terroirs of Chateauneuf-du-Pape; river stones, limestones, clay and sand. While rated as a good wine, it is noted as not the same caliber as the 2018, or the 2016.  "It ticks just a small notch below."

The Costco reviewer writes, "The 2019 vintage pours a medium ruby in the glass; earthy nose, coffee grounds, some dark berry fruit. The wine is medium plus in body with good flavor, mostly dark fruit, blackberry, plum, anise; it is spicy and peppery in the finish with nice acidity.'

'This is a good wine but perhaps just a little disjointed in its youth. While the 2018 was given 90 points, the 2019 was rated 88 points."

They cite that this is great value at around $20 since CDP's often cost $35 and more. I found it appropriately priced at this point.

I found this garnet colored, medium bodied, but the blackberry and plum fruits showed tangy acidity but were a bit flabby and offset by a slight green pepper note with muted tones of anise, spice and tobacco. It was best represented with creamy mozzarella cheese.

RM 87 points.