The right wine can add
the perfect touch to your
Behind every great outdoor
meal is a fine wine
By Annette Alvarez-Peters
WHEN THE SUMMER season rolls around, I
love being outdoors. An ideal summer day is all
about backyard get-togethers with family and
friends, grilling great food and, of course, sampling wines from around the globe. It’s easy to
plan and execute a casual day of food and wine.
Generally accepted rules from the past—
white wine with fish, red wine with meat—are
not always true. With few exceptions, you can
be adventurous or subtle when pairing wines
with your favorite foods. The key to matching
grilled food with wine is balancing the intensity of the respective flavors (bigger wines with
more robust food and lighter wines with more
Let’s look at some classics from the grill
and wines in winning combinations.
The casual approach
If you want to keep your meal simple,
go for it! A juicy Syrah with blueberry fruit,
chocolate and hints of pepper is a dynamite
pairing with hamburgers, hot dogs and corn
on the cob. California’s Central Coast and
Washington’s Columbia Valley are producing
many examples of this seductive red.
Greet your guests with a glass of the latest
vogue pink. Rosé is making a huge comeback,
with an increasing number of quality
wines coming to market. Unlike the
sweet White Zinfandel, rosés can be
dry, crisp and refreshing. They make
an excellent starter with appetizers and
can be added to the list of grilled
shellfish pairings. Rosés from Tavel,
in France’s southern Rhône Valley,
and Provence in southern France; rosa-
dos from Spain; and various varietal
from the Tempranillo grape rosés from California are all examples
that are simply superb with of why rosé is gaining such pop-
hearty beef flavors. Annette Alvarez-Peters ularity. Or try one of the bubbly rosé
Don’t be afraid of pairing these meats with Champagnes. They’re just delicious.
white wines, either. They can be refreshing on a Remember, don’t worry about rules. Match
hot day, when a red just doesn’t get it done. Just wines that you like to drink with your menu,
avoid whites that are too delicate; opt for a cold keeping in mind that one should not dominate
glass of a big oak-driven California Chardonnay or overpower the other. Think balance. Extremely
or Sauvignon Blanc. spicy foods are difficult to pair with wines, so be
sure to keep the jalapeño poppers and the high-
alcohol, tannic reds apart.
All you need to do is hail the chef, ring up
the guests and stop by Costco for all the essentials. After all, summer days are for relaxing and
enjoying life’s simple pleasures. C
Annette Alvarez-Peters oversees Costco’s
national wine, spirits and beer program.
For meat lovers
Australian Shiraz, a ripe, fruit-forward wine,
really complements pork loin chops and chicken
breasts with a savory rub.
Baby back ribs prepared with sweeter sauces
are magic when served with a juicy red Zinfandel from California, highlighting the rich
plum and blackberry flavors.
Lamb lovers should consider a Château-neuf-du-Pape. Its spicy notes go perfectly with
the earthy flavors in both the wine and the food.
When it comes to barbecuing, beef is still
king. No matter what cut you prefer, the rich,
smoky flavors imparted by the grill almost
scream for Cabernet Sauvignon. Lush, velvety
Cabernet from California’s Napa or Alexander
valleys or the rich, herbal qualities from Chile’s
Aconcagua, Maipo or Rapel valleys can elevate
any beef experience.
Argentina’s hallmark variety is Malbec—a
robust wine featuring lush, dark fruit flavors
that can transform a rib eye into shear joy.
Spain’s Rioja region produces full-bodied reds
Half of my grill is dedicated to seafood—
not only because fish is wonderful on the grill,
but also because so many of my favorite wines
are perfect with fish. Grilled salmon with an
elegant Pinot Noir from Oregon’s Willamette
Valley or from California’s Sonoma Coast or
Santa Barbara County is an event.
Grilled mahi-mahi and swordfish are delicious, particularly when paired with the vibrant
minerality of a German Riesling. Just be careful
about combining heavily oaked white wines
with light, delicate fish such as flounder. Stay
with an unoaked New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc,
which will add bold citrus flavors and can also
complement a salad topped with grilled shrimp
Grilled shellfish can be an ideal first course
along with vegetables that sweeten up on the
grill. Chardonnay—oaky, buttery and rich—is
a luscious companion made in varying styles.
These lovely wines can be found from Washington, Australia, Chile and California.
Wine Guide For information on Costco’s
Kirkland Signature™ wines, including vintage
notes and food-pairing tips, go to costco.com,
click on “Costco Connection Magazine,” then
“Kirkland Signature Wine Connection.”
Summer wine sampler*
Clos Du Bois Cabernet Sauvignon
Reserve, Alexander Valley
Cline Zinfandel Ancient Vine,
California Item #199145
Sterling Merlot, Napa Valley
Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc,
La Crema Chardonnay, Sonoma Coast
Treana White Meritage, Central Coast
Conundrum White, California
*Not all wines available at all locations.
See costco.com for more wine choices.