This is the best red wine in Costco's Kirkland brand lineup

  • Costco has a wide selection of wines under its private Kirkland label.
  • Business Insider's retail desk recently hosted a tasting of Kirkland wine.
  • We overwhelmingly preferred the three red wines we tried to the four white wines.
  • Our favorite Costco red was the Kirkland malbec.

Costco's private label features a few red wines that'll make you feel fine — and keep you rocking all the time.

That's what Business Insider's retail team found out when we sampled a few options several weeks ago.

Our Kirkland wine tasting was by no means comprehensive. When I visited the warehouse in Oceanside, Long Island, I was only able to find seven Kirkland bottles.

Still, my colleagues and I largely agreed that the three red wines — the Kirkland zinfandel, Rioja, and malbec — were stronger than their white counterparts.

And out of those, we agreed that the malbec was the top wine of them all. Our bottle was of the 2017 vintage and hailed from the French oak barrels of the Broquel winery in Mendoza, Argentina. Winemaker Sergio Case produced the wine especially for Costco.

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10 Kirkland items you should always buy at Costco
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10 Kirkland items you should always buy at Costco

Almonds

Health experts can’t stop raving about the benefits of nuts, but man, are they expensive—and Costco agrees. The warehouse store reportedly stopped selling other brands almost entirely when they couldn’t justify how high their prices had gotten. Now you can get a massive three-pound bag of Kirkland Signature almonds for just $13, which isn’t much more than you’d normally pay for a Blue Diamond bag almost half its size. Stock up on these other 15 foods nutritionists always buy at Costco.

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Bacon

When Consumer Reports put different bacon brands to the test several years ago, Kirkland Signature soared above the rest, thanks to its crispy texture and smoky-sweet flavor—which is even more impressive considering its low price. Make room in the freezer, because this bulk buy is no joke: Four pounds for $13.69. Plus, learn the secrets behind Costco’s famous $4.99 rotisserie chicken.

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Liquor

Across the board, Costco’s value-sized bottles of booze get rave reviews. Its vodka in particular has garnered a cult following, with rumors swirling that it shares the same water source as Grey Goose. The luxury vodka brand denies those claims, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing—the cheap Kirkland version actually outshines Grey Goose in taste tests. Just $25 for 1.75 liters of high-quality liquor? Can’t beat that.

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Maple syrup

In a Consumer Reports test, Kirkland’s pure maple syrup was the cheapest option ($0.75 per serving) and still managed to score stellar reviews. Testers deemed its taste “very good,” while the priciest choice in its category, Camp Pure Maple Syrup—which costs almost three times more per ounce—was only rated “good.” Learn more Costco secrets revealed by a former employee.

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Pistachios

No matter how tasty they are, it can be hard to justify the price of pistachios—unless you’re at Costco. At face value, a $15 bag seems like a lot, but you’ll change your mind when you see the three-pound package you get. For comparison, a two-pound bag of Wonderful pistachios costs $13 on Amazon. Really, you can’t go wrong with any Kirkland nuts, so stock up on walnuts and mixed nuts too.

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Plastic wrap

Kirkland’s food wrap gets high marks for its durability, so the low price is just the icing on the cake. Paying less than $10 for two 750-square-foot rolls, you won’t need to stock up on plastic wrap again for a long time. You should also always stock up if you see this symbol on a Costco price tag.

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Quinoa

With more protein and fiber than white rice, quinoa has unsurprisingly gone from food fad to kitchen staple. Unfortunately, that hasn’t convinced most companies to lower their prices. At Target, you’ll get three pounds for $12 (not bad), but Costco offers 4.5 pounds for $9. It’s still not as cheap as rice, but it’s definitely a healthier option.

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Extra Virgin Olive Oil

A 2010 report found that most EVOO on U.S. store shelves wasn’t extra virgin like their labels claimed. One notable exception: Kirkland’s organic version. So not only are you paying less per serving than you would at the supermarket, but you can guarantee good quality. How’s that for a solid deal?

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Cheese

If you think everything tastes better when covered in cheese, Costco is the place to be. From goat cheese and Brie to Parmesan and Pecorino Romano, its cheeses are cheesemonger-quality with warehouse prices. The value-sized hunks of cheese might be excessive for a dinner for two, but Kirkland should be your go-to if you’re planning a party. Just steer clear of these things you should never buy at Costco.

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Baby formula

When you have an infant in tow, the last thing you want to worry about is overpriced baby formula. The FDA has strict nutrition requirements for baby formula, and Costco’s version is no exception. The non-GMO Kirkland baby formula’s ingredient list is nearly identical to Similac Advance’s, but it costs about half as much per ounce. Make sure you know these 15 secrets Costco employees won’t tell you.

[Source for most prices: thriftynorthwestmom.com]

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Read more: We taste-tested 7 of Costco's Kirkland wines and were blown away by their price and quality. Here's how they ranked from worst to best.

When asked to rate the wine — with the score of one indicating an awful beverage and the score of five representing an awesome drink — six of us gave it a five. One holdout rated it a four.

The flavor of this malbec was rich and complex, with tasters detecting "a nice oak taste," "red fruits," "berries," and "spices."

"I could drink this early and often," one participant in our wine tasting wrote. "I'm enthusiastic! I love it."

Another colleague described the Kirkland malbec as the "best of the bunch for sure."

And we were also wowed by the fact that the Argentinian wine sells for just $6.99.

"Wow, that price point is impressive," one taster wrote. "It's worth more. Yes, yes, YES, yes!!!!"

And we also agreed that this Kirkland — which featured a pretty, rust-colored packaging depicting the Andes mountains — would actually make for a decent gift, although one taster joked that they'd rather "save it" for themselves.

Do you love Costco wines and have a story to share? Email acain@businessinsider.com.

NOW WATCH: A sommelier compared 11 wines from Costco, Target, Trader Joe's, and BJ's — and the winner was clear

See Also:

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7 secrets about Costco items
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7 secrets about Costco items

1. EMPLOYEES ENJOY PLENTY OF BENEFITS

Costco now sets its minimum wage for hourly employees at $14 an hour. That’s in addition to offering benefits like healthcare for all employees, regardless of part-time vs. full-time status.

While I was at Costco, they gave employees complimentary memberships to the store. Each employee also got a free turkey to enjoy with their families on Thanksgiving. And to top things off, Costco paid employees time and a half just for working on Sundays.

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2. COSTCO IS A GREAT DESTINATION FOR HEALTH FOOD

People who haven’t shopped at warehouse clubs might expect the “buy in bulk” mentality to mean the aisles are lined with junk food. While Costco does sell things like cookies and candy bars, there are plenty of healthy options, if that’s what you’re looking for. Greek yogurt, coconut water, protein powder, and lean meats are just some of the things that line the shelves at Costco. And the produce section is filled with delicious apples, bananas, berries, salads and more.

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3. IT’S NOT JUST FOR BIG FAMILIES, EITHER

When I tell friends I still shop at Costco, they don’t understand what my husband and I buy there, since we don’t have kids and live in a small New York apartment. But there are plenty of options for any family size, and it doesn’t mean you have to keep ten spare jars of tomato sauce in your pantry. Things like Kirkland Signature protein bars and olive oil are shelf stable for our small household. Cleaning supplies like kitchen sponges are sold in reasonably sized packages, too. It just depends what you’re looking for—but there’s no one demographic that’s more suited to shop there. These Costco shopping tips will save you a ton.

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4. COSTCO’S PIZZA IS THE REAL DEAL

If you find yourself eating at Costco’s food court, you’ll probably be pleasantly surprised by how great the food is. The pizzas are baked fresh in store with Kirkland Signature ingredients, and they don’t skimp on cheese and other toppings. The hot dog combo—just $1.50 for a hot dog and a soda—is also superb. The food court even offers fresh diced onions, in addition to mustard and ketchup, to top your dog. 

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5. PEOPLE REALLY DO BUY THAT FAMOUS GIANT BEAR

The giant teddy may seem like an Internet novelty, and plenty of people (myself included) have stopped to take photos with the 8-foot-tall friend. But I saw more than one person buy the giant stuffed animal—usually grandparents purchasing it as a gift for their grandkids. (I do wonder how they stuffed it into a car/cab to get home.)

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6. YOU CAN GO TO THE PHARMACY AS A NON-MEMBER

If you live near Costco and want to pick up your prescriptions there, you can do so without buying an annual membership to the club. But don’t think you can pull a fast one on the employee checking membership cards at the entrance—you can’t check out at Costco without a membership in your name. 

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7. COSTCO IS SELLING BLUE APRON MEAL KITS

I didn’t learn this one working at Costco—it’s a new initiative—but if you’re looking to save time on meal prep, this is worth knowing about. A handful of Costco stores on the West Coast are selling the Blue Apron kits, which make weeknight dinner prep way easier. Don’t miss the details! Plus, check out even more insider secrets Costco employees won’t tell you.

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