Wedding season is upon us! Just as important as the dress, the flowers & the venue is the wine. But how to choose? There are nearly countless varietals to pick from and just like the number of varietals available there are an equal number of opinions on what is the “best” wine. A person’s palate is as unique as their finger print so finding a wine that will please everyone is nearly impossible but I have a few suggestions that should help you please most of them.
First of all, having a quality white and red is a must. Keep your food menu in mind when choosing your wines and try to taste them ahead of time with the meal if you can. Regardless of what you serve for the grand dinner, a Sauvignon Blanc is generally a safe bet when looking for a white. The flavor of this varietal is going to be more subtle than a Chardonnay so it will compliment more foods. The subtlety will also appeal to those who don’t generally prefer wine – it’s a great way to start developing someone’s palate to the world of wine. Also, because we tend to see milder flavored foods like chicken served at weddings (in an attempt to please the most people no doubt!), the natural flavors of grapefruit, aromas of cut grass and high acidity go well with these types of dishes. It’s also a good idea to suggest your Guests drink the white with the appetizer or first course and save the red for the main dish – this leaves you more options for the type of protein you serve.
When trying to decide on a red, the same principal applies. You generally don’t want a super bold and aggressive red because it often takes a seasoned wine drinker to appreciate them and depending on the food you serve, it could overpower the meal. A safe red is a good quality Pinot Noir. A Pinot Noir will Segway nicely after a sip of Sauvignon Blanc and will generally not overpower the main dish. Being light to medium bodied and often fruit forward with nuances of cherries & currants, notes of mushroom and soil make this wine ideal for chicken dishes but robust enough to stand up to a pasta and even beef or wild game.
Most weddings I’ve been to serve white and red with a toast of bubbly during the speeches but if you want to really treat your Guests add in a sweet wine or an ice wine with dessert and watch their expressions of “Wow! That was unexpected!” This addition shows a step above the expected in making your Guests feel special and shows off your know-how in pulling off an amazing wedding meal. A Peach Raspberry Cabernet or a Niagara Ice wine are classic with a tiramisu and even wedding cake!
That’s the wine selection for your Guests, for the Couple of Honor, it’s a different story! I suggest opting for special wine that you both love! Be Bold. Be Daring – you want to remember every single moment of that day so make sure you have your favorite wines at the head table. Plus, you’ll want a keepsake of that day to display right? Of course. Don’t settle for the manufacturer label and don’t hassle yourself with trying to make your own labels…get your wine from a manufacturer who can offer customization both in the wine itself and with the labels. It is worth the extra expense and you will savor it forever!
**The wines varietals mentioned in the article, wine customization and unique labels can all be found at Waters Edge Winery & Bistro. Located on the corner of LaSalle and Reserve in Kalispell.