Food & Drink

Sommelier taste tests Target's line of 'premium' $9.99 wines

Target is releasing five new wines, called “The Collection,” for $9.99 each. (Ken Lambert/The Seattle Times/TNS)
Target is releasing five new wines, called “The Collection,” for $9.99 each. (Ken Lambert/The Seattle Times/TNS)

By now, hopefully you know some of the best cheap wines — as low as $5.99 — can be had at Costco and Walmart. Both carry their own line of reds and whites that are actually good, very good, according to several wine critics and sommeliers.

Earlier this month, with much buzz, Target also rolled out its private label of “premium” California wines (each for $9.99) to compete with those chains.

We enlisted Owen Bargreen of the Washington Wine Blog to sample Target’s five new wines, called “The Collection,” to see if we — OK, just I — need to start hoarding them as if they were Target’s Missoni or Lilly Pulitzer’s collection.

The verdict: Um, let’s just say Target didn’t hit the bull’s-eye.

Bargreen, a certified Level Two sommelier in Seattle, concluded the retail chain didn’t come close to living up to the hype on its labels, which boasts of “perfectly balanced” wine and “pure winemaking artistry.”

His tasting notes are below: The scores were based on a 100-point scale.

2017 The Collection Rose: This rose starts off with aromas of orange zest with burnt rubber tones alongside sweetened cherry. The palate has very little to offer in terms of flavor with light rose water and red fruit tones. Enjoy this in the short-term. Drink between 2019-2021. 84

2017 The Collection Pinot Grigio: This pinot grigio offers near to nothing on the nose with the faintest of citrus tones. The palate shows a good mineral backbone but offers very limited white-grape juice flavors. Drink 2019-2021. 84

2017 The Collection Chardonnay: The nose reminds me of buttered popcorn and lighter brioche tones. While there is a mineral backing, the wine has saccharin-driven tree fruit flavors that come off entirely cloying. Not recommended. Drink 2019-2021. 83

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2017 The Collection Red Wine: Welch’s grape juice and dark berries mark the nose. The palate comes off exceedingly sweet, with very little complexity or actual flavor. Not recommended. Drink 2019-2021. 80

2016 The Collection Cabernet Sauvignon: There is a good sense of dark fruits and chocolate that fill the nose. The wine shows some sweet pipe tobacco and dark fruit flavors that are out of balance with the sugary mid-palate. Not recommended. Drink 2019-2022. 83

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