Match fine wines with
the festive season
By Annette Alvarez-Peters
THE HOLIDAYS ARE HERE, which means
gathering family and friends for celebrations
and festivities. There are so many wines and
so many ways to entertain! We’ll take a look
at three variations. Which one will work best
for you this season?
and the group travels to each
home to enjoy one of the
Start with white wines and
appetizers. The whites can be
anything from bubblies to a
refreshing Sauvignon Blanc or
An elegant dinner an interesting Riesling or
A formal gathering will generally be a Chenin Blanc. The appetizers
sit-down dinner. It’s a time to bring out your can be as elaborate as a filled
best china and your finest glassware. Plan a puff pastry dish or as simple as
four-course meal for your guests, keeping in deli meat and cheese platters.
mind smaller servings, and alternate heavy The second stop is for the main course.
and light dishes. Baked ham or a turkey can be a perfect
Start the evening with a bo ttle entrée. Both call for versatile Pinot
of Champagne. The pop of a Noir. Choose an earthy wine from
cork being removed sounds so Burgundy or Oregon or a more
festive and is music to my fruit-drivenofferingfrom Cali-
ears. The yeast and toast fornia’s Russian River Valley or
notes and lively acidity pair New Zealand.
perfectly with salads, light For the finale, why not
hors d’oeuvres and shellfish. port? Ports come in ruby to
Find a medium-bodied ANNETTE
ALVAREZ-PETERS tawny styles, aged to vintage
Chardonnay from any of the dated. Ruby port is a fruity, med-
great regions—Burgundy or ium- to full-bodied wine that really
Washington state—to pair with fon- complements a cheese and nut platter.
due, or, if you prefer, a full-bodied oaky Char- Tawny ports are aged in wood for extended
donnay from California or Australia to pair periods, developing notes of nuts and dried
with salmon, halibut or Cornish game hens. fruit. These can pair beautifully with desserts
A main course of prime rib demands a with caramel.
full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon. Why not
spend a little more for your dinner party ... per-
haps something from Bordeaux, Napa Valley
or Washington state? A Cabernet will perfectly
complement the meal by marrying the mar-
bling of the meat with the wine’s firm tannins.
A perfect ending is a glass of Sauternes, a
sweet white wine from Bordeaux, made from
Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc and Muscadelle. A
little glass is heaven all by itself, but for dessert
it goes best with a dish with peach, apricot,
vanilla or honey notes.
fish stands out with an Oregon Pinot Gris or
Italian Pinot Grigio. Viognier is a full-flavored
wine that matches nicely with a variety of foods.
It’s a fun and festive way to have your guests
try different wines and varietals from around
Whether it’s an elegant affair or a simple
and casual occasion, this is the time of year to
bring together your family and friends for an
evening of celebration. Cheers to you and
yours for a happy and safe holiday season! C
Annette Alvarez-Peters oversees Costco’s
national wine, spirits and beer program.
A progressive wine dinner
Less formal, but not short on fun, is
a traveling dinner party with neighborhood
friends. You’ll need at least three homes,
A holiday open house
My favorite type of get-together is an
open house. With this informal gathering,
your guests can arrive at various times and
the number of people in the house at any one
time never overwhelms you.
For something different, feature wine
varieties that aren’t normally associated with
the holidays. The peppery and black fruit
notes of a French or Australian Syrah/Shiraz
can be paired with grilled meats and veggies.
A rustic Chianti is a perfect companion for
Italian sausage or meatballs. California Zinfandel can be robust, standing up to a range
of sharp cheeses, salami and meats.
For guests who prefer white wines, shell-
Kirkland Signature™ Non-Vintage Brut
Champagne (France) Item #942108
Veuve Clicquot Non-Vintage
Brut Champagne (France) Item #85684
Buehler Cabernet Sauvignon
(Napa Valley) Item #236248
Robert Mondavi Chardonnay
(Napa Valley) Item #2401
Acacia Pinot Noir (Carneros) Item #58889
Warres Otima 10-Year-Old Tawny Port
(Portugal) Item #337425
Banfi Chianti Classico (Italy) Item #918738
Cline Ancient Vines Zinfandel
(California) Item #199145
Not all wines available at all locations.
See costco.com for more wine choices.