Santa Barbara Galleria among stores now selling $9.99 line
Toys? Often. Bathroom accessories? Sometimes. Clothes? Couple times. But I’ve never bought wine at Target, until now.
The shopping mecca with more than 1,800 stores across the country, including the new Santa Barbara Galleria, is already in the wine business. Its California Roots has been around for two years, with several offerings at $5, and its boxed Wine Cube products — the equivalent of four 750-ml bottles and priced at $18 — have been around for more than a decade.
The Collection, though, is its high-end wine brand, and it’s brand-new: five wines that hit store shelves last month and that sell for $9.99 a pop.
Chain stores have been flooding the market with cheap wine for years, of course. Trader Joe’s has had mega success with its Two Buck Chuck wines — a big value even if the current $2.99 price tag is a whole buck more than the introductory $1.99 price tag. Costco’s Kirkland label wines, many of which sell under $10, are big movers, too.
Target pricing its Collection wines at $10 is squarely aimed at younger drinkers, although wine lovers looking for a bang for their buck fall into every single age bracket. For me, the $10 wine arena has always been dubious: I’ve had swill at this price point, but I’ve also made wonderful finds. They’re never the best wine you’ll ever drink, but they can often offer surprises. Truth is, you’re supposed to drink a $10 wine without thinking too much about it. And that means I’ve already failed, because I bought all five this week and sipped each one — systematically and analytically — in honor of the new store officially opening April 7.
My notes and thoughts follow, and they’re meant to give an honest take on The Collection. Bottom line: At $10 a pop, The Collection is probably worth the investment by any consumer interested in sipping something new. And if you uncork something you like while stretching your dollar at the same time, well, then, you’ve hit the bull’s-eye.
The Collection 2017 RosÄ
I wish the label told us what grapes went into making this wine. On the plus side, the wine is a pretty pink, has a subtle berry nose and is soft on the palate. It’s not as crisp as I prefer my rosÄs to be, and the flavors are weak. The finish is refreshingly tangy. It’s 11.5 percent alcohol and closed with a screwcap. It’s also more of a food wine than a poolside sipper, so this would pair best with pasta salads and late-afternoon cheese snacking.
The Collection 2017
Also closed with a screwcap, this wine denotes easy drinking. But, like the rosÄ, it’s simply not as zippy as I’d expect it to be. More flabby and oily than clean and crisp, it does deliver nice flavors of green apple, with a subtle spicy finish. With alcohol at 12 percent, the food pairing here leans toward grilled fish and light barbecue fare.
The Collection 2017 Chardonnay
A light, pale straw color and weak nose leads to flavors that are refreshingly pronounced: lots of lime and tangerine notes. But there’s a slight cloying aspect to this wine, which makes the flavors seem somewhat forced, or artificial. The finish on this medium-bodied wine is lengthy, and alcohol sits at 13.5 percent. Overall, a winner for consumers who like the flood of other chards on the market priced under $15.
The Collection 2017 Red Wine Blend
Again, the label fails the sipper by staying mum about which grapes go into this blend. The color runs from ruby to purple. The nose delivers oak and purple fruits, like plum. Flavors lean toward dark berries and even seemed reminiscent of blueberry cobbler. At 13.5 percent alcohol, this wine is surprisingly well-integrated and the mouthfeel is supple. The finish, though, is too fleeting. Smoky meats will pair well with this one.
The Collection 2016
This collection of wines redeems itself in the end. At this price point, this wine is the best bargain of the lineup, with its crimson hue and soft aromas of dark cherry and currants. It’s nicely balanced and delivers a velvety mouthfeel. It’s not a sophisticated wine, its flavors are way too muted and its finish could have way more staying power. But, with alcohol at 14.5 percent, it offers a pleasant cabernet drinking experience.
The wines of The Collection are made by Northern California’s Delicato Family Vineyards, one of the state’s biggest producers and one that’s well-known for outputting wine in bulk. They’re available for sale at Target’s new Santa Barbara Galleria at 3891 State St.