Hedges Cellars CMS Red, Columbia
Kris Pinot Grigio, Veneto, Italy
Good value can be found
in every wine category
Bollini Pinot Grigio, Trentino, Italy
By Annette Alvarez-Peters
IN THESE CHALLENGING times, everyone
is trying to figure out how to stretch their dollars. One option is to forgo restaurants and
eat at home more often, which brings up this
question: What about wine?
One of the wonderful aspects of the world
of wine is the incredible range of
quality and prices. What I think is
most important in these times is
value—getting the highest quality
for the price that fits your budget.
That’s what we try to achieve
with the wines (and every other
product) we sell at Costco. The
well-educated and experienced
team of Costco buyers evaluates
wines every day to bring you the
finest wine values, both domestic
and imported. We literally scour
global wine regions for the gems
that help define Costco value.
My advice for getting the best value: Get
out of your comfort zone and, rather than
picking up your “go-to” bottles, venture out to
different regions and perhaps some new varietals. Here are some wines that I think offer
the right balance of price and quality.
Willamette Valley Vineyards Pinot
Noir, Oregon Item #260827
Chateau Ste. Michelle Indian Wells
Merlot, Columbia Valley, Washington
acidity. Elegant, big-flavored Cabernets and
Merlots are abundant there, with Chardonnays
and Rieslings thriving in the Columbia Valley.
Oregon is producing some of the finest
Pinot Noir in the world. Oregon Pinot Gris is
a lighter-bodied white with expressive flavors
and mouth feel.
South America continues to
turn out terrific wine bargains.
Chile is a Southern Hemisphere
mirror image of California, producing outstanding Cabernets
and Chardonnays. In Argentina,
Malbec—a red grape variety that
could quickly become a family
Wines from Australia offer
great values across most price
ranges. Jammy, fruity Shiraz, bold
Chardonnays and steely Rieslings can all be
found within the wide range of Aussie growing regions. New Zealand is distinguishing
itself with vibrant Sauvignon Blancs, and the
cool climate of the Central Otago region is
ideal for quality Pinot Noir production.
Willamette Valley Vineyards Pinot Gris,
Oregon Item #476424
Kirkland Signature™ Sonoma County
For information on Costco’s Kirkland
Signature wines, go to Costco.com, click
on “Costco Connection Magazine,” then
“Kirkland Signature Wine Connection.”
tage in Bordeaux was spectacular, and the top
wines are exceedingly expensive. However,
there are many great wines at reasonable prices
from lesser-known chateaux. The Rhône Valley
offers earthy, spiced-fruit Syrahs from Crozes-Hermitage, as well as ripe, fruity Grenache
from Côtes du Rhône (a value alternative to
Searching for wine values
Values can be found in every category—
white, red, sparkling and fortified. They are
often discovered through trying new grape
varieties. Exploring is half the fun.
In California, several options lie beyond
the famous growing regions of Napa and
Sonoma valleys. Paso Robles produces excellent Syrahs and Cabernet Sauvignons that can
be bold and refined. The Sierra foothills specialize in big, rich Zinfandels that can knock
your socks off. Santa Barbara County is
renowned for Chardonnays rich in tropical
fruit flavors and luscious Pinot Noirs.
In the Northwest, Washington state has
sunny, warm days with cool nights, which
enables grapes to ripen and achieve wonderful
Bargains from the Old World
In the Old World, Grenache from Spain is
uniquely ripe and delicious. Albarino from
the country’s northwest Rias Baixas region is
bracingly crisp, bright and flavorful.
Italy is more than just Chianti. Terrific
Cabernet blends are coming out of Bolgheri,
and ripe, fruity Primitivo can be found in
southern regions. Northern values typically
hail from Barbera d’Alba.
Bordeaux and the Rhône Valley are my
favorite wine regions in France. The 2005 vin-
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How wines are priced
When it comes to price appreciation,
wine is no different than real estate. There are
many factors that determine the cost of a
bottle. It can be greatly affected by vineyard
land (location), grape (variety), packaging
(corks, labels and cartons), transportation,
distribution and retail costs.
So-called subjective costs, either real or
perceived, can also increase the price of a
wine. Brand popularity and reputation, grape
varieties from specific regions or vineyards, as
well as accolades and publicity, can contribute
to increased demand and price escalation.
Remember the keys to stretching your
wine dollars: Stay open-minded by exploring
new regions and new grape varieties, stay
within a comfortable price range and be persistent. You’ll surely reward your palate with
one of the many values from the ever-expand-ing world of wine. C
Annette Alvarez-Peters oversees Costco’s
national wine, spirits and beer program.