Another WAwineman sacrifice for the readership, 1st posted on November 9, 2009:
Costco is known for supplying good quality products from many manufacturers at a reasonable price. Well, they’re not perfect as this wine attests. I browsed through their lineup of wine offerings at their Iwilei location, probably the busiest of all the Costcos. Living in Washington, I got used to the pampering with the loaded choices of delightful Washington wines from many wineries. Visit a Costco “outside” and stark reality hits. The only offerings are: Chateau Ste. Michelle 2005 Indian Wells merlot for $11.79, Desert Wind 2006 cabernet for $13.89, Columbia Crest 2007 chardonnay for $8.99. That’s it.
That helps confirm why Washington wines get no respect elsewhere. The really good stuff is just not available outside Washington’s borders. I then visit a local supermarket and they offer pretty much the same. A big chain store did offer a better selection: Ash Hollow 2005 Walla Walla merlot for $25.99, Sagelands 2006 Columbia Valley merlot for $13.49, along with Hogue Cellars and the other usual suspects, but that was it. I visited a “specialty” wine store back in March and all they had from Washington was a L’Ecole No 41. I don’t know who to feel sorry for: the great folks of these “outside” states, or…me.
Tonight’s wine was served with a dessert of shaved ice glazed with fruit syrups over strawberry and vanilla ice cream. I thought I had enough warning when the front label reads “Honey Wine” but with a lack of residual sugar information, I took a chance and guessed this was a dessert-style wine. Yes, it was sweet…almost too sweet. Yes, the color was a dark yellow (my dad said it looked like pee and refused to drink it). However, the nose was something indescribable…a mix of lighter fliud, varnish, and caramel. The taste did it one worse…face-scrunching sweet with a heat-like tail of simple syrup. I really do feel for the tourists that visit the 50th State. They get enamored with the scenery, the culture, the hospitality, and even the superb food. But then, they fall for words like “volcano” (ooh, exotic), “macadamia nut” (candy), and “honey wine” (sweet elixir) and then get robbed of their $20 from the every-block in Waikiki ABC Stores simply because it’s also “produced…in Hawaii.” Amazing but this is advertised as an “award-winning” wine. Another rant about the debauchery of wine awards. This is one souvenir you leave at the store, even a Costco.
Mouthfeel: puckering from the sugar. Flavors: a white flower that singes on exit. Tail trail: 0. Barely finished two glasses. I was crying with every sip I had to take to make the two-glass minimum. Made from “the blossoms of our island’s macadamia nut trees.” Alcohol: 12%. Rated: 0. Value: $0. Paid: $10. This is WAwineman…uncorked, uneducated but not uncouth.