Tis the season for love, laughter, beautiful brides, handsome grooms, breathtaking venues, delicious food and inevitably bad “banquet wine!” I am always amazed at how many brides obsess over every detail from the gown to the flowers to the photographer to the caterer, but when it comes to the wine selection, it’s usually a complete afterthought. Did you know that wedding wines can be affordable and delicious?! It’s true! I have been to so many weddings where I end up drinking club soda or a beer because the wine selection may as well be alcohol-infused cherry cough syrup. Ladies, you deserve better and so do your guests.
One of my recent clients really wanted to serve Veuve Clicquot for the wedding toast, however the venue had a very steep mark-up on that bottle. Let’s keep things in perspective, your guests will most likely never see the bottle of bubbly. The venue or caterer typically pours the sparkling in the back and hand-delivers or tray-passes the flutes to your guests. There are some amazing bottles of Champagne and other sparkling wines around the world that won’t break the bank. By selecting a lesser known and equally delicious Champagne, I was able to save the bride more than $1,200, just on the sparkling selection alone. I love Veuve. It’s a great choice, especially when budget doesn’t matter, but it’s like buying a high-end car, you are paying for the name. Why not save a special bottle for toasting in your honeymoon suite instead.
For the toast, why not choose a Cremant, Cava, Sekt or American bubbly? No need to stress out over this, I am here to offer some tips on selecting the perfect wedding wines for the most important day of your life. I also offer bridal consulting services, if you need some personal guidance! After all, every detail really does matter.
Sparkling – Sparkling wine is produced around the world. If you’re looking for a budget-friendly alternative to Champagne look for a Cava, Sekt, Cremant or a great bottle of American bubbly. Here a couple of my favorite bottles under $30.
- Schramsberg Mirabelle Brut or Brut Rosé, Napa, CA (SRP: $26-$30)
- Thibaut-Jannison Blanc de Chardonnay, Monticello, VA (SRP: $29)
- Lucien Albrecht Cremant d’Alsace Brut Rose, Alsace, France (SRP: $20)
- JCB N 69 Brut Rose Cremant de Bourgogne Burgundy, France (SRP: $22)
- Doctor Loosen Sparkling Riesling “Sekt,” Mosel, Germany (SRP: $16)
Here are some great white and red ideas for food friendly varietals to serve at your wedding:
White Wine – Believe it or not, you don’t have to serve a Chardonnay at your wedding. While it’s the most planted white grape in America, the quality level varies greatly! It is one of the world’s most manipulated grapes. Truth be told, it’s difficult to find an astounding thought-provoking delightful Chardonnay for under $25 bottle. The budget wines boasting bare feet and fuzzy animals are not varietally sound and don’t resemble anything near a true Chardonnay. Why not be creative and serve a crisp, refreshing Albarino or Soave? Most people will ask for white or red, it’s that simple. Just because your great aunt only drinks white Zinfandel or your neighbor only drinks Chardonnay, don’t cater to one guest! If the wine is delicious and it works with the food and the season, they’ll love it. Trust me!
- Off-dry Riesling – A touch of residual sugar and intense acidity make this an incredible versatile wine with an array of dishes from a raw bar to soups to salads to spicy dishes.
- Albarino – A briny, crisp and delightful white offering floral notes or gardenia, white peach and citrus makes for a great choice for spring and summer weddings.
- Soave – A fabulously fun alternative to Pinot Grigio. This wine made from the Garganega grape hails from the same region in Italy, but has a bit more personality than the run of the mill Pinot Grigio. Dare to be different, your guest will thank you for it. Think hors d’ouevres, salads, vegetarian and seafood courses
Red Wine – I like to opt for a lighter, fruit forward red for wedding wines when possible. They tend to be more versatile with a wide selection and they have less tannins, which stain your teeth. I am just thinking about your photos here!
- Pinot Noir – Pairs equally well with beef tenderloin and mushrooms as it does with salmon. This thin-skinned grape offers bright acidity, moderate tannins and tends to boast bountiful aromas of red berries, currants, cranberries, with hints of earth, spice and mushroom, depending on where it’s grown. Looking for values? Try a Village Burgundy, Spatburgunder, or Chilean Pinot Noir.
- Pinot Meunier – It’s one of the three grapes allowed in Champagne production and it’s one of the most widely planted grapes in France. It’s a unique and great alternative to Pinot Noir.
- Beaujolais – This lovely wine produced from the Gamay grape is best served with a slight chill. It’s just as versatile as Pinot but a little more fruit forward and laid back.
If you are interested in learning more about my bridal consulting services, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to hear from you. Here’s to many years of wedded bliss and great wine!