Wine Lover’s Guide to Party Planning

A one-stop-shopping guide to the best buys in wine, food and style at big-box stores and megashops like Target and Trader Joe's.

When people think of wine shops, they don't usually think of a 142,000-square-foot Costco. But the big-box king is probably the country's top wine merchant (it sold more than a billion dollars worth of wine globally in 2010). So I hunted for great Thanksgiving wine picks from Costco, Trader Joe's and three other major chain stores, then asked Associate Editor Daniel Gritzer and Style Editor Jessica Romm to weigh in on food and design choices for one-stop shopping. Here, our favorites, plus wines to go with America's favorite night-before-Thanksgiving meal: pizza.

Trader Joe's

Trader Joe's Wine: Best Sparkling Wines
NV Albero Organic Cava Brut ($9) Cava is made in the same manner as its more expensive French cousin, Champagne, but it uses the indigenous Spanish grapes Macabeo, Xarel-lo and Parellada. This appley bottling is crisp and lightly earthy.

NV Piper Heidsieck Champagne Brut Cuvée ($30) A majority of Pinot Noir in a Champagne blend usually makes the wine powerful and rich, but despite that, Piper's Pinot-driven basic cuvée leans toward a more delicate, fresh sensibility.

NV Gloria Ferrer Sonoma Brut ($15) Sonoma's Gloria Ferrer (which is owned by the Spanish cava megaproducer Freixenet) has been making crisp, focused sparkling wines like this citrusy one since it was founded back in 1986.

Trader Joe's Appetizer Picks
Rosemary Pecans and Cranberries ($3.50/5 oz)
This lightly salted, herby fruit-and-nut mix is great sprinkled on a salad or as an easy cocktail-hour snack.
Truffle Mousse Pâté ($6/8 oz)
Les Trois Petit Cochons's black truffle-studded chicken liver pâté is silky-smooth, with a hint of sherry.
Lucques Green Olives ($4/7 oz)
Imported from the south of France, Lucques olives are sweet and plump, with a fresh grassy-green flavor.
Photos (left to right): Courtesy of Trader Joe's, © Theo Morrison, © Theo Morrison.
Multigrain Pita Chips ($2/6 oz)
These thick, sesame seed-studded pita chips have a good whole-grain flavor and a deeply satisfying crunch.
Cilantro and Jalapeño Hummus ($3/10 oz)
T.J.'s hummus has a terrific flavor, thanks to its spicy jalapeño-cilantro pesto topping.
Wild Nova Smoked Sockeye Salmon ($17/1 lb)
The lean slices of this smoked wild salmon have a balanced, cold-smoked taste and a great texture.

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