COSTCO SERIES #3: 2013 Force of Nature

Ms Sybarite is in southern California for the weekend shopping for a wedding dress which means that it is just me, the dog, and an overflowing wine cabinet. I am not really even sure what I made for dinner to go with this wine. Whenever we get low on groceries it’s like my own personal game of Chopped. Tonight, I opened the cabinet and had a sweet potato, an onion, some chicken sausage, and some little new potatoes that were sort of sprouting. Throw that ish in a pan for a while and it definitely became edible but I wouldn’t call it gourmet. It’s clear that I make really poor choices when fiancé is gone.

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I felt it was time to continue the Costco Series. I have really enjoyed this series so far and I feel like it is helpful to people. It makes me really happy when I can find an available, inexpensive bottle of wine that is enjoyable. This bottle is the 2013 Force of Nature. It’s a red blend table wine from the Paso Robles area here in California. A lot of the Paso Robles area is pretty warm so they can do really great Cabernet and even pretty fair Zinfandel. But, they also produce a fair amount of Syrah and even some Pinot. I guess Paso produces a little bit of everything and there is some really great stuff coming out of there.

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This is a wine that is produced from sourced grapes. This means that the people who make it, don’t actually grow the grapes themselves and they aren’t from a particular vineyard. There is a trade of grapes on the bulk market. If you wanted to make your own wine and you lived in downtown Los Angeles, you could actually buy grapes, or in some cases even juice, from wherever and then continue the winemaking process from there. This is the way that a lot of producers make wine if their goal is just to make a drinkable table wine. In some cases, the grapes that end up on the bulk market can be of really high quality. Also, if you are a savvy winemaker, you can end up getting a collection of grape sources that you can blend to produce a product that tastes very consistent from year to year. There is a true art form to producing a decent table wine and blending several lots of grapes from different growers.

The 2013 Force of Nature is really a great example of someone who takes pride in making an everyday wine for a casual drinker. This bottle is actually pretty tasty and I have to say, I was really expecting it to be bad at least 3 separate times through this process. First, I bought this bottle because it has a beautiful label with a lot of color and interesting art and its even embossed in places. I thought I would definitely make an example of how these people spent all their money on the label and skimped on the grapes. While I’m sure the label choice they went with probably adds at least $1 to the price of each bottle, they certainly didn’t give up quality. Second, I saw the price of $10 and thought to myself, “This fancy label and heavy glass in a red blend, there can’t be any room for profit.” When I look at a bottle on the low end of the price spectrum, I look at the thickness of the glass and the label and things like that because it can sometimes be an indicator of quality. I know they have to leave room for profit and I also know that every different color you add to your label, it drives up the price. Embossing? Add a few more cents to that. Thick, heavy glass bottle? That certainly costs more than the lighter ones especially if you figure in the shipping costs of heavier cases of wine and such. All this stuff adds up and without digressing too much, it’s just something I keep in the back of my mind and sometimes unfairly judge budget wines as a businessman rather than as a Sybarite. Thirdly, when I poured the first glass it came out as a rich, purple color instead of a deep red. For some reason this always makes me think it will not taste good and I have no idea why. Let me dispel that myth right now, the color intensity between red and purple does NOT indicate quality. I have no idea where I got that in my head because I haven’t had a bad experience with purple wine that I can remember. Maybe I have just been drinking too much Pinot. I was wrong 3 times. They used a nice label and heavy glass because they are proud of it, as well they should be.

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I would call this one a winner for sure. It is hard to beat this as a table wine for $10. It isn’t boozy, it isn’t overly spicy but it isn’t light bodied either. This just happens to be an extremely easy drinking wine that would be perfect for any picnic or campfire. I don’t think it would overpower a chicken dish and it would probably also hold up against family spaghetti night. It is cheap enough where you could marinade lamb in it but it is good enough to have a glass and read a book. Keep in mind, with the Costco Series purchases I am not looking to find the next wine of the year. All I want to do is show which ones are good buys and which ones are not worth it. $10 for this bottle is a fantastic buy. Save that bottle you spent $50 on for when your boss comes to dinner and you ask for that promotion. Break this out when you and your buddies are playing cards against humanity and you have already had 2 bottles of wine. They’ll be drunk enough to be impressed and you don’t have to waste anything expensive on your friend’s girlfriend that he won’t dump even though your entire group of friends hates her. Yes, Ashley, we mean you. We told Jeremy to dump you in 2013!

This went a little off the rails. Just go get some of this stuff and let me know what you think of it!

4 thoughts on “COSTCO SERIES #3: 2013 Force of Nature

  1. Hi
    You are so clever & witty my nephew.
    I could taste that wine, alas there is no Costco near me in Iowa where I live.
    Thanks for the taste
    Aunti Priscilla

  2. So, we bought 3 bottles of this today & we are very much enjoying it! You are spot on with your review. It’s bold but not heavy, nice berry flavor with a smooth cocoa finish. We are going back to Costco tomorrow to pick up more, it’s 9.99 and we want some in our wine cooler, plus the holidays are coming!

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