HO HO HO, Santa loves a Wine-O: Drink Along Costco’s Wine Advent Calendar

Photo credit: Tram Tran-Larson

It’s just my partner and I (and our three dogs) so we rarely go to Costco because we don’t usually need to buy anything in bulk, but then you add in the crowds and it’s pretty much a done deal for me. We did our yearly Costco run to replenish the basic necessities back in September and I stumbled upon this beauty: The Wine Advent Calendar. The calendar retails for $99.99 and contains 24 (half) wine bottles that are 375 milliliters each, or about 12 ounces.

I had heard rumors about the existence of such a thing but had never seen it in person to believe it. Admittedly, I was a little disappointed that it was half a bottle, and not a full bottle as I believed it to be. (Don’t worry, realization set in that a full bottle of wine a day is a bit… shall we say, ambitious?) Regardless, I sent a text to my best friend and asked if she wanted one. Spoiler alert, I bought it before she responded “yes.”

So, is it worth it? That’s what you’re here to find out, right? I should preface this with: My preference is red wine—I like them full bodied, bold and I like them dry. The less sweetness I can taste, the better. I will apologize to white wine enthusiasts now.

Day 1: Vieux Diseaux 2019 Merlot—I enjoyed this one. It was medium bodied and luckily not fruity at all.

Day 2: Nightfall 2018 Zinfandel—I forget that red Zinfadel’s exist because I try and block out Zinfadel’s entirely. It was a light red and on the sweeter side. You could smell the tannins when you uncorked the bottle.

Day 3: Ciel Bleu D’Aquitaine 2019 Sauvignon Blanc—As anticipated, it was too sweet for my liking. I would describe the taste as bad apple juice with hints of sour grape.

Day 4: Cielo D’Oro 2019 Sangiovese—Easy to drink and on the lighter side, but admittedly kind of bland and not memorable.

Day 5: Pasarica 2019 Malbec—Malbec’s are one of my favorite red varieties. This one was an easy sipper.

Day 6: Ballun 2019 Pinot Grigio—I could tell this one was going to be bad because of the nearly water clear color in the glass. If you love super sweet one, this one’s for you. I could barely stomach a taste.

Day 7: Heroes 2019 Syrah—Syrah’s are hit and miss for me; usually miss but I really enjoy this one! It’s pretty dry from the get-go and leaves a dry aftertaste as well.

Day 8: Octapada 2019 Macabeo—This one got a “hell no” from me.

Day 9: Three Brothers 2019 Pinot Noir—This is a lighter Pinot with a fruitier taste. Not bad, but I’ve had better.

Day 10: Atlas Bear 2019 Chenin Blanc —I was pleasantly surprised! This was a bearable white. It was refreshing and not too sweet; I drank the whole thing so that should tell you something.

Day 11: Bold Bull 2019 Tempranillo—Fuller bodied, very smooth. My kind of red.

Day 12: Carrete 2019 Viognier—I took a drink and immediately spit it out and dumped the rest of the bottle down the sink. A little dramatic? Maybe.

Day 13: The Conductor 2019 Merlot—Fuller bodied, delicious and there was a lingering dryness. I really enjoyed it.

Day 14: Baciato Dal Sol 2019 Trebbiano—Fruity notes but not overly sweet. However, I wouldn’t drink the whole thing. You won’t get me twice on a white!

Day 15: LTD 2019 Rosè Blend—Not my favorite rosè, a little sweeter than I like. I think the color of the wine indicates the fruitiness well.

Day 16: Moulinet 2019 Red Blend—Easy to drink, nothing to write home about.

Day 17: Cara A Cara 2019 Fernao Pires White Blend—I like blends but not this one. I think the apple/pear combination in white wine is too sweet for my preference.

Day 18: Pollo Pazzo 2019 Red Blend—Easy to drink but nothing that stood out or was memorable.

Day 19: Six String 2019 Red Blend—I enjoyed this red blend most out of the final four blends. It was a less sweet, a little dryer and spicy. 

Day 20: Maison Savas 2019 Bordeaux White Blend—I don’t know about you, but I didn’t know white Bordeaux’s existed! I guess you learn something new every day. Personally, I’ll stick to the red ones.

Day 21: Barcelos 2018 Red Blend—The bottle design was better than the wine itself.

Day 22: Flutter 2019 Chardonnay—This was very much what you would expect from a Chardonnay, therefore, down the sink it went.

Day 23: Château Cap de Biolet 2019 Bordeaux—Ah, the only type of Bordeaux that matters. This wasn’t as bold as I’m used to but I still really enjoyed it.

Day 24: Brilliant Sparkling Brut—This was a nice way to end the calendar. I always enjoy dry bubbles!

The bottles were opened and consumed, Christmas came and went; so should you mark your calendars next fall to go to Costco and snag a box? I think if you happened to stumble upon it during your yearly Costco run, sure, why not grab a box; it’s only $99 and it’s like a daily present to yourself. I wouldn’t rave about it though and I surely wouldn’t stake it out at my local Costco next year. There were too many white wines for my liking (shocker, right?) but even most of the red ones were just alright. Towards the end, they started to blend together and there was little distinction in taste that made me think my restock runs to Grocery Outlet are much more interesting (more to come on that at another time)!

I’m all for trying new things but I think when it comes to wine, if you know what you like and what your preferences are and it’s not indiscriminate, I would say skip this. I think it would make a great gift for someone who is just getting into wine and hasn’t figured out which wines they like or the wine-o who will drink all types. If you have a friend/roommate/partner who will take the whites and split it with you, that would work too! I just felt bad for pouring all that wine down the sink. As a ride-or-die red wine drinker (with the occasional Champagne or bubbles), you live and learn and I’ve learned I prefer to pick my own bottles. If they decide to make a reds-only advent calendar, I’ll definitely give it a try!

If you drank along, let us know your thoughts in the comments!

All photos by Tram Tran-Larson.