The Kirkland Champagne Brut is a $19.99 Costco exclusive produced for them by Champagne Janisson of Verzenany in the Champagne district of France. There was a time when a sub 20 buck real-deal Champagne was unheard of, but ALDI, Trader Joe’s (I think TJ’s French Bubbles has gone up in price) and Costco have all managed to offer pretty enjoyable Bubbly.
Janisson is a legit French Champagne House, check out the link above they have an architecturally stunning winery. The Kirkland Champagne is a blend of Pinot Meunier, Pinot Noir, and Chardonnay and the Janisson labeled Bubbly only uses Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, no Pinot Meunier. This indicates that this is a bottling made exclusively for Costco and Kirkland.
This also means that this Champagne was sourced using contracted purchased grapes, which in Champagne is far more ordinary than you may think. With the prices that Champagne command you would think that famous Bubbly is sourced from the most exclusive sections of their Estate vineyards. But, most of the most well known Champagne Houses either don’t have their own vineyards or only enough land to supply their most high-end offerings.
Most people can name maybe ten Champagne Houses, some are so famous that even people that have no interest in wine know their names, but their 100s of Champagne producers. Most have been in business for decades and the average American wine drinker is unaware of there existence. So it does not mean much that you have never heard of Janisson, the reality is you have never heard of 90% of the Champagne Houses. Though finding a new favorite Champagne is fun and is probably the reason Janisson is selling their Bubbly for below market price. It is hard to attract attention when your competition is Icons.
As a quick refresher, Champagne differs from Prosecco, because with Champagne after the grapes are pressed and go through fermentation, the wine is aged and then bottled. In each and every bottle a measured amount of yeast and sugar are added, a temporary cork is attached and the bottles’ wine continues to age for a minimum of 18 months (Champagne is frequently aged for a longer time).
So can a $19.99 Champagne be as good as the more expensive stuff? And the answer is yes, Champagne has extremely stringent rules and regulations governing all aspects of Champagne, from the vineyards to the winemaking process. These measures are designed to ensure quality, corner-cutting is not acceptable. The vineyards are the same vineyards used by the well-known wineries and the winemaking techniques are exactly the same as the other Champagne Houses.
Champagne Tasting Notes
The color is platinum with a hint of gold, the bubbles are plentiful. The nose is yeasty, with bright citrus, along with apple, cherry, vanilla, and melon. This is a Champagne with a substantial mouthfeel, it has some weight on your palate. It starts with lemon/lime (the flavor of a soft drink, but not the sugary sweetness), there is a nice salty sensation, followed by green apple, and a hint of stonefruit. The mid-palate adds cashew, dried strawberry pieces, and very dry, tart cranberry. There is an intensity to this Bubbly that you only get from the Sparkling wines from Champagne. The more you look for flavors, the more you find, this Bubbly keeps developing. The acidity is really solid, the flavors have room to unfold and that touch of acid gets you reaching for your glass. The finish is subtle and lengthy.
- I have always said that Bubbly/ Sparkling wine was my favorite category of cheap or value-priced wine. Since Champagne had a grip on all the expensive Bubbly all the other Sparkling wine producers were offering more reasonable priced Bubbly. All the competition made for some excellent wine. Well, now, Champagne is now in reach for the average wine drinker and the budget Bubbly category is crazy good.
- The Kirkland Champagne Brut is delicious.
- I don’t know if they offer this Bubbly all year long or when the Holiday allotment is gone, it is gone until November and December. This is a good Bubbly is good enough and under-priced enough to warrant buying several bottles to hold you until next December.
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