Great Wedding Wines
What to consider when choosing wine for your wedding day.
Getting married is stressful enough without worrying about the wines as well. But that’s not to say choosing wines should be an afterthought, since brides and grooms want their guests to have a memorable and enjoyable time, and that includes serving red, white and sparkling wines that will appeal to a broad range of drinkers.
Here are a few things to consider when working on your wedding wine list to ensure that your guests have positive memories of your day.
Albertans tend to like their red wines on the fuller side, but for a wedding, where people are not necessarily having food with their wine, lighter red wines such as Valpolicella, Côtes du Rhône, merlot, cabernet sauvignon or Bordeaux blends will almost always work.
For the whites, it’s best to avoid excessively sweet or excessively oaked wines. Best bets are crowd-pleasing whites like pinot gris, soave, torrentés, and lightly oaked or unoaked chardonnay.
Sparkling wines and Champagnes are relatively easy to choose as budget and preference will dictate whether vintage Champagne or a sparkling wine will be used to toast the bride and groom.
Good quality wines suitable for weddings tend to start around $12 to $15 per bottle on a retail shelf (round up — it makes the shock of the final bill easier to take). Give yourself lots of time to taste wines before the wedding so you don’t feel too much pressure. Better yet, blow off some steam with friends by having a wedding wine-tasting party.
Finally, consider your family history and that of your guests. For example, if you are of Italian descent, choosing Italian wine would be a fitting way to honour family tradition (and would most likely work best with the food being served).
The following are nine great choices that will have your guests toasting happily through the night and will work well with most any food you decide to serve.
Masi Valpolicella (Veneto, Italy)
A classic red wine suitable for almost any event, it has good red berry fruits, a little spice and softer tannins. It also has a partner white wine for those who want a matched set.
Chateau St. Cosme Côtes du Rhône (Rhône, France)
A solid pick for the beef eaters at your wedding. With good spiciness and earthiness, this wine punches above its price point and is an excellent introduction to Côtes du Rhône. $18.
Sandhill Cabernet Merlot (Okanagan Valley, British Columbia)
A well thought-out blend, the cabernet brings the power and the merlot brings some refinement. B.C.’s Sandhill winery makes a number of great wines suitable for the big day.
Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio (Veneto, Italy)
Popular and widely available, for many, this is the benchmark pinot grigio. It has great fruit, a lighter body, and is almost always perfect with poultry or fish.
Louis Jadot Bourgogne Blanc (Burgundy, France)
With only a little oak, this wine is very well-balanced, showing good fruits of apple and lime, with mineral, spice and almond.
La Puerta Torrontés (La Rioja, Argentina)
A flagship white grape of Argentina, torrontés is aromatic, with floral, peach, apple and mineral notes. It is perfect with seafood or light, summery fare, or on its own.
Parés Balta Cava Brut (Penedès, Spain)
This bubbly is crisp, fruity and perfect for a summer wedding — so good, in fact, that it’s the sparkling wine I chose for my own wedding. The price is easy to take and it’s organic, too!
Mionetto Il Prosecco (Veneto, Italy)
A crowd-pleasing sparkler full of ripe tropical fruit, it has a nice amount of bubble and is perfectly quaffable. A bargain at around $19, it also comes in a half bottle suitable for wedding favours.
Mumm NV Cordon Rouge Brut (Champagne, France)
When only the real thing will do, this Champagne is toasty, citrusy and perfectly balanced. It’s a great all-around Champagne for occasions special and romantic.