Includes an explanation of the Costco pricing model.
100% Tempranillo from Ribera del Duero, Spain.
Purchased at Costco for $9.99.
From the bottle:
“This spicy, medium bodied red is produced from vineyards located within Ribera del Duero (Zone 2) at 732-975m (2,400-3,200 ft) elevation. The vines are tended in clay and limestone soil. Average temperature during the growing season from April to October is 18C (64.4F) and annual rainfall is 500m (19.8in). Oak-aged for 4 months in French and American oak barrels. Barco de Piedra pairs extremely well with beef steak.
Here at The Reverse Wine Snob we’re all about finding great wine for under $20. Critical to the success of that strategy; however, is finding the most inexpensive place to buy wine. After all, the lower the mark-up the better the chance of finding good wine under our $20 threshold. I see the exact same wine for wildly different prices at competing stores all the time so finding the best stores in your market is critical. For many of us, one of those stores will be Costco. Here’s why:
Costco’s average margin (per their financial filings) is about 12%. Costco has stated that the highest margin they will take on a non-Costco brand is 13% and they strive to keep it closer to 10%. On private label (Kirkland Signature) items they will go up to 15% margin but of course the price is still lower than other brands because they cut out the middle man. It’s an amazing business model — their stores average about $130 million in sales annually. Their total revenue is around $75 billion and they make several billion in net earnings yet investors complain because they think their margin is too low and they pay their employees too much!
As far as I can tell these margins hold true for their wine sales as well. No wonder Costco is the largest retailer of wine in the USA! So all this week we will be featuring wines purchased from (my local) Costco just last week. Inventory can vary quite a bit between stores and regions but hopefully you’ll all be able to find at least a couple of our featured wines this week. So without further ado let’s get to our first wine!
The 2011 Bodegas Barco de Piedra Tempranillo begins with aromas of black currants, leather and licorice with a bit of a vegetal component to it. Honestly I wasn’t sure what to expect based on the bouquet but tasting the wine reveals I had no reason for worry. This 100% Tempranillo features deep, dark and rich fruit with a smooth, full texture. This is a really nice example of a lightly oaked Tempranillo that proves the wine can still be robust and powerful without spending a long time in oak. It ends nicely with spicy mineral notes and more dark fruit that sticks around for a long time. This one definitely tastes like a lot more than $10!
Wine in the 2013 Costco Week Series!
- Wine #1: Bodegas Barco de Piedra Tempranillo 2011 – Tastes like a lot more than $10!
- Wine #2: Kirkland Signature Malbec 2011 – Plenty good, but it’s not a pop and pour proposition.
- Wine #3: Atteca Old Vines Garnacha 2010 – Powerfully good Garnacha! BULK BUY!
- Wine #4: La Massa Toscana 2010 – More Massa for me please. BULK BUY!
- Wine #5: Tarima Monastrell 2011 – The M in GSM takes the stage under a different name and brings down the house.
- Wine #6: Castello Banfi Belnero 2009 – A Budget (Quasi-)Brunello
See a listing of local retailers selling this wine here.