Tag Archives: California

Kirkland Signature Napa Valley Meritage

Cost: Average price $10.99

Where buy now: Costco

Grapes: 51% Merlot, 29% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Malbec, 6% Petit Verdot, 6% Cabernet Franc

Region: California

Vintage: 2012

Kirkland Signature Napa Valley Meritage
Kirkland Signature Napa Valley Meritage

I was recently asked, “Lush, what’s your go-to Costco red wine around $10?” Without hesitation, I said “the Kirkland Signature Napa Valley Meritage at $10.99”, and for a couple reasons. First, it’s one of the few wines I’m able to consistently find in every Costco, so it’s very accessible. Also, it’s quite good.


This is a “you’re new to wine and drink Apothic Red, now try this instead” wine (hey, that rhymed!). It’s plum-cherry juicy fruit love balanced with musty/dusty soft tannins. This is a “some of my girls like it dry, while some  of them like it sweet” girl-night wine. This is a “it’ll drink real easy but first make it swirl, swirl, swirl” wine. My oh my this Kirkland Napa Valley Meritage opens up showing off a softened structure of sour cherry and balanced peppery notes. All this without being too dry on the tongue.


Grab two glasses, pop the bottle and throw the cork away. Laugh, cry and double fist cheeseball smeared crackers while you dish dirt and regale stories with your bestie. If you see the Kirkland Signature Oakville Merlot, I do like that a wee-bit more, but that comes with a price tag of $17.99. With the $7 savings, I’m buying me some chocolate to join that cheeseball.

FICTION Red Wine Blend

Cost: $8.99

Where buy now: Several stores nationwide

Grapes: California Kitchen Sink Blend

Region: Paso Robles, California

Vintage: 2013

Fiction can

“Honey, I’ll take it in the can tonight.”

And yes, you will. My Skank Wine of the Month is a little above my $6 threshold but it’s in a can which deems itself skank-worthy.

I grabbed a can of Fiction Red Wine Blend out of sheer curiosity. It’s a kitchen sink Cali blend and I was shockingly surprised. Cheeky, but I liked it!

Some thirty-something year old cat in California has a job that exposes him to some valuable grapes. He buys them up around the state and blends them into a wine he enjoys and now cans (for the cool kids.)

This wine is novel and has it’s place in the back pack of a bicyclist, in a cup holder on a boat or in your hand at a concert. This wine is deep ruby red boasting dried blackberry fruit flavor, herbs and mineral sweat. It’s like the thinnest kid at fat camp; confident enough to hold it’s own within it’s field.

Grill up some skin on wieners or my new fave – the Cherry Bomb Brat at Kramarczuk’s and crack a can. While your friends suck down PBR or the new Miller LITE throw back tall boys, you’ll pull this out and be all classy and shit.

By the way, the glass was used for posterity.


CK Mondavi Merlot

CK Mondavi Merlot


Cost: $6.99

Where buy now: Stores nationwide

Grapes: 80% Merlot, 4% Syrah, 4% Petit Verdot, 4% Petite Sirah and 8% “other”

Region: Wild Creek Canyon, California

Vintage: 2012

It’s a new year, full of possibilities. New exercise regimes, new dieting fads, new budget dedication, and any other new resolution that will most likely fade as we enter the second month of the new year.


My biggest resolution this year is to get my budget in check. I’ve been spending like an asshole on wines all in the name of “research” [burrrp]. If I EVER want to put in that oh-so-desired wine cellar and continue my international travels, I need to reign it in!  But I will not sacrifice taste.  Well…


Just as I’m committed to tightening up my budget, I’m committed to drinking wine, dammit. I’m kicking this year off with a CK Mondavi Merlot.  With a mere $6.99 price tag, this has weeknight “skank” wine “sampling” written all over it. It’s a no frills bottle of red that’s as easy to drink as it is to open (thanks to the twist-off cap).


This wine is a burst of cherry and plum flavors. It’s quite fruit forward but not like actual grape juice. (I found the CK Mondavi Cab Sav to, ahem, embody more of that fruit juice flavor.) This, at least, has some oaky hints, which provide some structure.


Again, this CK Mondavi Merlot isn’t some Master Sommelier-caliber, complex, expensive, multi-layered vino. It is however, shall we say, community college-fortified. It’s practical and will give you what you want without breaking the bank.

Happy New Year’s and now, I’m off to visit the gym. . .for the THIRD time this year.