Monday, February 8, 2010

The Perfect Pair: Choose the Best Wine for Your Reception

The world of wine is extremely intricate and diverse. Many people spend a lifetime devoted to learning about different wines from around the world, pairing wines, how to properly taste and critique a wine, and even how to know what makes a good wine good. At the majority of weddings, wine is a staple. However, the majority of couples are not wine experts, nor do most have the time to devote years to deciding which wine they ought to serve on their wedding day. That is where our wine expert, or “sommelier,” comes in. He’s provided The Wedding Belle with a list of wines to serve at your wedding that are sure to please and won’t break the bank!

According to our wine consultant Scott Carter, “the perfect wine paired with the perfect food is the ‘icing on the cake.’ The first component of the wedding day that comes to mind is the champagne toast.” Carter recommends an extra dry Prosecco. “They tend to have a touch, almost unnoticeably, of sugar, so they’re able to be enjoyed without the accompaniment of food. Mionetto and Tosca are reasonably priced producers with above average quality.” For those who are looking to go above and beyond with their toast, he recommends Piper-Heidsieck Extra Dry. The great thing about these sparkling wines, Carter explained, is that they’re extremely versatile and can pair with many appetizers as well as lobster or crab, if either were your entrĂ©e.

If you are interested in switching things up after the champagne toast, and you are serving lobster, Carter would pair it with Columbia Crest H3 Chardonnay from the Horse Heaven Hills appellation in Washington. “The subtle tropical fruit and buttery-caramel combination exploit the lobster and drawn butter combination,” he says. “For the more adventurous, I would serve Simmern Riesling QBA from the Rheingau in Germany. If I were to choose a red wine to accompany my lobster it would be Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais. This wine is soft enough not to overpower the lobster, yet it’s acidic enough to refresh the palate for another bite.”

If your entree is crab, Carter says, “My choice of white wine would be Muscadet-Sevre et Maine by any producer, with an alcohol content under 12%. The pairing is a match made in heaven, especially with stone crab claws.”

According to Carter, “Filet mignon is one of the easiest to pair. Almost all Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot will go well with the meat. I would choose Villa Mt. Eden Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. The tannins are soft, the body is full, and the oak adds a bit of spice to the wine, which would reflect off of a fresh ground pepper seasoning of the filet.”

“Pairing chicken may seem like the easiest pairing to make. However, it may sometimes be the most difficult as the pairing generally comes down to the sauce. If the sauce is white, I would serve a Tres Palacios Sauvignon Blanc or Chateau de Maligny Chablis. Both have higher acid structures either to match the highly acidic citrus-based sauces, or to cut through cream-based sauces. If the sauce is red or brown, I would serve an American Riesling for a white wine, as the sugar levels tend to be lower than German. If you are looking for red wine, Steel Creek Pinot Noir or Layer Cake Primitivo are the best, although the Pinot Noir would be the lighter of the two.”

Salmon can be a challenge to pair, but Carter recommends “either a wine from Chablis or Sancerre. Both wines have body and earthiness to stand up to the full flavor of Salmon.”

“Italian themed weddings could be the most fun when it comes to pairing wines,” Carter says. “Some of the best Italian wines are Chianti Classico, Barberra, and Valpolicella, but you can get away with almost any Italian wine if this is the theme you’ve chosen. Most Italian wines pair perfectly with Italian foods.”

We can’t stop drinking before we get to the cake! Carter explains, “When it comes to the cake the rule of thumb is to make sure that the wine is sweeter than the dessert, or else the wine will have a metallic taste. Most Auslese level Rieslings from Germany will fit the bill.”

All of these wines can be purchased either online or at your state liquor store, and range in price from $10 to $25 a bottle, with the exception of the Piper-Heidsieck Extra Dry Sparkling Wine which ranges from $30-$45, and the German Riesling which can range anywhere from $11 all the way up to $150. Happy wine selecting!

Special thanks to our wine consultant Scott Carter!!

Scott Carter

Wine Consultant

ABC Fine Wine and Spirits


Unveiling Wine

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