With so many things to consider before your big day, choosing your wedding wine can seem like a daunting experience. It is easy to see why; not only is it one of the biggest expenses a wedding can incur, everyone has different tastes, there is a huge array of wine to choose from, and it is often a talking point for guests – you hope for the right reasons!
However, you need not panic! Despite the myriad of options and styles, if you take a little time to consider your selection, or enlist the help of someone in the know, choosing your wedding wines can be enjoyable – especially if you recruit friends and family to taste with you before diving head first into making a decision.
Here are some of our top tips to help you make the right choices.
- Break down the time which wine will be served. Usually this can fall into 3 categories:
– At the reception to welcome guests
– To accompany your meal
– At toasting time to celebrate your happy union
- Consider the season, the time of day, your budget and the guests attending.
- Stay true to the purpose of the day – a celebration to be enjoyed!
The traditional afternoon tea as guests arrive for the wedding reception has moved away towards alcohol. Champagne has historically been the drink of choice, however more and more sparkling wine is used due to its sheer popularity, differing styles and great value for money.
Sparkling wines are produced all over the wine world, ranging in style from sweet and light, like Asti Spumante, to more dry examples such as Prosecco or Cava that can rival Champagne in quality. Typically a dry style works best at the reception – light and refreshing, with flavours of citrus or apple – perfect for accompanying canapés and getting the celebration started. The aforementioned Cava (from Spain) and Prosecco (from Italy) are perhaps the two most popular styles on the market, offering excellent value for money, so your guests can enjoy plenty of bubbles.
Complementing the Meal
When it’s time for your guests to sit down for the meal, it’s typical to provide both a white wine and red wine option. Usually there is some consideration for the menu and wines are often selected to complement the meal you are serving.
For example, if you have a fish starter, you might like to serve a fresh, zippy white like a Sauvignon Blanc or a Muscadet. If you’re serving a red meat for your main course, such as steak or lamb, you might choose something like a juicy Cabernet Sauvignon or a classic Rioja. There are often too many elements in each dish to find the elusive perfect match, so it’s best to think broader and opt for complementary styles and wines which you enjoy drinking yourself – after all, you’ll be drinking them too!
As well as your menu there are a number of other factors to consider when choosing wines for this part of the day. These includine the style of your wedding, your guests, the time of year and the time of day. High alcohol wines might not be appropriate for an afternoon reception or for the guests who are attending, so pay some attention to ABV.
For a classic affair you may lean more towards traditional, Old World wines such as those from Bordeaux or Burgundy in France. If it’s a more modern event or you’re adding quirky touches, you might like to surprise your guests with some more unusual varietals, like Vermentino or Frappato. Give them a try first though; you need to like them too!
Seasonal Wedding Wine
What should you consider for a summer wedding? You’ll want to cool your guests down, and your menu may be lighter too – perhaps with salad or seafood playing a key role – so purchasing more white than red could be advisable. Conversely, what about a winter wedding? Your guests may well need warming up, so a rich, smooth red wine may be an instinctive first choice. If the meal you’re serving is seasonal, like roasted red meat and wintery root vegetables, this will work exceptionally well.
When it comes to the all-important wedding toasts, it’s traditional to serve a glass of Champagne. Wines labelled Champagne are those produced in the Champagne region in France, perhaps the most famous wine producing region in the world. Big brand Champagnes include Moet, Veuve Clicquot, Tattinger and Bollinger, however there are some fantastic lesser known brands, and even own labels which are sensational and perhaps work better for your budget.
In keeping with a more relaxed and modern style wedding, you may wish to forgo the Champagne and serve an exceptional sparkler instead. As long as their glasses are filled, most guests won’t mind what they’re toasting you with! Given the popularity, quality and value for money of other sparkling wines such as Prosecco, it’s just as respectable and widely accepted.
The key point to remember is that wine is part of the enjoyment of the day, not just another expense. Take some time to consider your choices and relax over the decision process – it should be fun! There are plenty of places to get advice; family, friends or professionals like us at the Tesco Wine Advisor team – use the assets available to you. Everyone can help in different ways, whether it’s wine recommendations to complement your budget or menu, or simply to get a better understanding about quantity required.
The WSET trained Tesco Wine Advisor team is available via telephone on 0845 0269998, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, and would be delighted to hear from you should you require any help or advice.
Guest post by Tesco Wine Advisor Jo Mansell