Kirkland Signature 2011 Columbia Valley merlot

The message is quite clear… do NOT start your car when the Bellevue po-po is on you. Those cops were serving a warrant when the suspect chose to rev up his whip, and thus had his life terminated by the trigger-happy vigilantes. This news comes on the heels of another set of Bellevue’s finest wreaking havoc at a Seahawks game a few months ago by engaging in a drunken frenzy against sober fans. This is, after all, Bellevue’s “finest,” and… that says it all about Bellevue. Taking the “God complex” cue, a Seattle Parks and Recreation worker pleaded not guilty after CLEARLY firing a bullet into a co-worker a couple weeks ago. Brings new meaning to the location where it happened… Bitter Lake. I just luv the miscreants of west Seattle… in the early morning hour of Monday, a local denizen “mooned everyone” in a bar after being asked to pull his pants up from previous exhibitions of his shortcomings. Before he left the bar, he ventured to a back area and employees subsequently witnessed smoke emanating from said area so they evacuated customers from the premises only to find the amateur exhibitionist forcefully releasing the contents of a fire extinguisher into the hallway. The man then walked outside to waiting cops with his pants around his knees. Reports remain unconfirmed that Tom Lee was upset over his recent purchase of a single vineyard California zinfandel. Before I hit up the next piece, let me just say this… it is no fun working as a pizza-delivery driver. To all those who deliver things to customer’s homes, ESPECIALLY in the U District, I feel sorry for you. On Sunday morning, two thugs attempted to snatch a newspaper delivery person’s keyring from him. The delivery grunt called the cops, who quickly responded and apprehended one of the perpetrators. Containment of the area and a tip from a citizen led to the capture of the second suspect. Like seriously… what does one gain from planning a theft of a lowly worker’s keys??? Only in Seattle.

So, we have a new pope– St. Francis of Assisi. This reminds me of Choad Enthusiast’s newest junior wine scriber, St. Sean of Asshole. But, getting back to his father, there was a call to update Paul’s blog moniker. He, like his palate, was tired… of being described as “tart, dense, brooding” yadda, yadda, so he solicited offers of rewriting his archaic, dormant wine blog. Hey bungsucker, how about these: “I am an old fart, dense-headed, flatulating, bribe-able, and two-faced fuckhole that is a puppet to the Walla Walla Valley Wine Mafia so they can sell their hotly overpriced wines.” By the way, Full Pull Wines has been around since October 6, 2009. Zitarelli could have used some more help when he was starting up his business. Most of the indigent, half-pulsating local wine bloggers supported his effort from the get-go. Not you. It took your monkey-ass over three years to acknowledge this new and viable business model. This shows what an asshole you iz and that you have no ability in discovering today’s distribution modes in getting fine wines to consumers. Wineries want to know how to get their wines moving into the consumer’s hands and it is blogs like this that further relegate old goats like Choad Enthusiast writers to the phonograph bin. So, cheers to the millenials who have paved their own path against the old fogie’s “I tell you what to drink” mantra. If you are over 40 and think you have influence over the buying power of wines, my words of advice are– kick your peyote habit.

Costco has some great wine buyers. That’s their reputation. But, no reputation can save them from a cool 2011 vintage. For those trying to get a read on the 2010 and 2011 vintages in Washington, here’s a repetitive piece of advice: save your money and just stick to white wines for now. There’s just so much wrong about this bottle, I don’t know where to begin. How about the alcohol-by-volume? 14.5%? No. There is no federal regulation that requires transparency, but I can say this… chemical-grade ethanol (ethyl alcohol or drinkable alcohol) is allowed by the TTB to be added to a wine to boost its levels just as much as sugar is allowed to be added to a fermenting must. This is just another of the wrongs that the feds turn a blind-eye to in the making of wine.

Another is the bullshit claims by wine writers and winery scribes about when the wine is at its peak. Aka the drinking window. Like seriously, there is no set-and-fast rule as to when a wine is at its “peak.” Who believes this shit? Suckers, that’s who. The back label says this merlot is “drink now through 2016.” Are. You. Fucking. Serious. ?. I recently suffered from a bottle of 2009 merlot from the same producer of this travesty. No. Fucking. Way. Readers, do not ever believe any writer’s advice of when a wine is in its “drinking window.” There never has been an accurate, documented “drinking window” of a wine… EVER.

At odds is the recent revelation that a big-time, old-world winery, Chateau Latour will no longer participate in en primeur or “futures” pricing for their wines. Just about every winery you can think of (other than our own Corliss Estates) releases wines before their “peak” drinking window. Chateau Latour chose to hold off until they think their wines hit their peak, so to give you an idea of what that means, they recently casted their remaining lots of the 1995 vintage at four times their original release price. While I am a fan of paying for wines that are ready to drink at their peak upon release, I am not a fan of paying $360 more for the same wine when I could have stored it in my own cellar for 17 years (even though that would not be possible with today’s laws). Would that wine have been just as enjoyable back in the day? I think it would have, but that’s no different in speculation than today’s shenanigans. And thus, we arrive at the same conclusion: beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, which is why there is no more dependable wine expert than… yourself.

Food pairing was homemade hamburger. Based on previous vintages, this was a good choice and it delivered. Charred meat will cover the deficiencies of this wine.

Tasted at 54-62 degrees on the IR temp gun. Color: murky dark purple. Nose: black cherry. Mouthfeel: medium-bodied. Tail trail: 4 seconds. Flavors: tart black cherry, char, menthol, cedar. Columbia Valley AVA. Another disaster from a Paterson winery that lives on making value wines. Power: 2/5. Balance: 0/5. Depth: 0/5. Finesse: 0/5. Rated: 82. Value: $3. Paid: $8.99. Music pairing: “Madness” by Muse. This is WAwineman… uncorked, uneducated but not uncouth.

P.S. Okay, so Butler is out of the tournament. My call for 2013 national champions. So, if you picked Florida Gulf Coast to be in the Sweet Sixteen– you have earned the right to write a blog post here and call me whatever you want. Just remember this– most of my brackets have Ohio State as the national champ and all of my Final Four picks are still alive. I got one call right– Gonzaga didn’t last the weekend. Guess there’s not a run on that Zags wine made by Dunham Cellars…

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3 Responses to Kirkland Signature 2011 Columbia Valley merlot

  1. csabernethy says:

    Okay. First, I must admit that I haven’t tapped into any 2011 reds yet, and I have only popped one Kirkland wine out of curiosity. Even though $8.99 is a good bargain price, if I want a cheap wine made by one of our “major producers in Paterson”, I think I will stick with the Grand Estates line at a slightly lower price at Costco.

    I happen to think the 2010 vintage has been a very interesting one, especially for wine varietals with spicy characteristics. Not all have been released yet, but the ’10 Carmenere, Mourvedre, and Grenache I have tasted have been pretty darn good. I’m looking forward to future releases from other wineries. So far, the Cabs, Petit Verdot, and Syrahs I have tasted have been a little more “meh…”.

    I didn’t fill out any March Madness brackets, but Gonzaga exiting early was no surprise – their schedule did not justify their ranking. It just goes to show you that national rankings can be bogus for sports teams, just like they can be for wines!

    Okay, time to move on and see if I can run down a bottle of wine from Waitsburg Cellars…

  2. wawineman says:

    About time, Scott! Thought you got lost out in the Painted Desert searching for your Titleist.

    I’m all for bargain wines (aka “value” wines) and this is at least my third vintage of this brand, but this bottle was just missing dern near everything. Sure, it didn’t help that this followed on the heels of the next review. Does. Not. Matter.

    And, you are correct. I would also prefer a Grand Estates or even a 14 Hands at this price. One would assume that a guy who has some high-falutin’ Master of Wine certificate understands the palate of the majority of wine drinkers’ palates. I mean, really, you don’t need a ‘MW’ designation to make a wine like this. Boxed wines taste better than this.

    To clarify because I just know… Washington’s recent “cold” vintages (2010-2011) still produced ripe grapes IN MOST REGIONS. However, climatic variances, particularly in the heat units, deviated far more than normal. And, it is the heat units over a growing season that is a major determinant in proper growth and ripening of grapevines and its fruit. Yes, yes, yes– water, wind, soil, southwest exposure, and other nutrients and pest control measures also are major factors. The list goes on and on.

    But, for most simpletons like this author, a region’s “trademark” wine profile tends to correlate with “that number.” The growing degree days, base 50, in a growing season. For example, Red Mountain AVA has a long term average of some 3000+ heat units. In 2010 and 2011, that number hovered around 2750. Still enough to ripen cabernet sauvignon, but that number more closely equates to Rattlesnake Hills AVA. Now, I’m not saying Red Mountain AVA cabs will taste like the Ratt Hills. Hell, no chance. What I am saying is that perhaps some characteristics such as brightness of fruit and acid/alcohol levels may be less distinguishable between the two AVAs.

  3. wawineman says:

    As for the 2010 reds… so far, imho, the quality is not up to par. I recently had the pleasure of tasting through the releases of Betz. Good wines. I’d probably rate the flagship cabernet a 92-93 based on one glass. Pretty good compared to everyone else. However, a Betz cabernet (in my world) should be 95+ like the 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, and 2005 versions. And, the price for the 2010 went up.

    So, let me ask again… why should I, as a regular PURCHASER of wines, pay more for a wine that will underwhelm my expectations?

    Now, I think you are just in a better position than most fine wine aficionados where you have all of Red Mountain to Walla Walla just a short drive away. Not too many wineries here in the Woods make a straight-up carmenere, mourvedre or grenache. Don’t worry, though. I will catch up in due time. As a matter of fact, one of your more favored local wineries will be appearing here soon! So yeah, I want a piece of your action, bro!

    Michigan State, Ohio State, Florida, and Miami. For Tim, wish I could say Indiana, but… Geez, ain’t that the truth about “national rankings”?!

    And yeah, that winery… yeah, um, all new wineries start out that way. Go to the 2nd largest producer in the State and have your pick of vineyard at preferred pricing (basically free). Yeah, that’s getting down and dirty with the struggles just like every other new winemaker here. If the wine industry had an “ethics commission,” this bum would be tarred and feathered. What a butt sniffer…

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