by Eunice Fried
To Satisfy As Many Tastes As There Are Guests
Weddings are a celebration of love, of life, of happiness and hope. A celebration we gladly drink to with white, red and bubbly, an array of wines we hope will satisfy as many tastes as there are guests.
At most weddings, raising a glass of sparkling wine as a toast to the bride and groom is the highlight of the event. But a number of guests will probably also like to sip sparklers earlier, as an aperitif. So to be well supplied, allow about half a bottle per guest. Since most wines come in cases of twelve, that means for a party of 100, plan on buying four cases (48 bottles) of Champagne or other sparkling wine.
Which of the myriad labels to buy? An excellent domestic choice is Domaine Chandon, the Napa Valley outpost of the famed Champagne house, Moët & Chandon. Its California sparkling wines are made with the same care it gives its Champagnes in France ($21-$45)
We often think of weddings through rose-tinted glasses and so, if you choose Champagne, why not a rosé Champagne? And one of the loveliest sparkling rosés is Ruinart, well-balanced, fine, fruity, delightful, the color of a pink rose petal ($75). Other rosé Champagnes to consider are Henriot Rosé, full, vibrant ($65); Gosset Grand Rosé, pale, rich and delicious ($60); and G. H. Mumm Le Rosé, crisp with lively bubbles ($70).
For a white wine that should satisfy most tastes, consider an upper class Pinot Grigio from Italy's Alto Adige region. Three choices from this region that raise Pinot Grigio to a new level are Abbazia di Novacella, Alois Lageder and Cantina Terlano ($17 to $22). For other worthy whites, check out Sauvignon Blanc from South Africa, among them, Mulderbosch, Thelema and Klein Constantia ($16 to $25); and from Chile, Concha y Toro, Veramonte, Santa Rita and Amayna ($16 to $20).
California's Sonoma County is producing some of that state's best Pinot Noir. Fuller, fruitier than their original Burgundy relatives and far less expensive, they can match most dishes that call for a red wine. Look especially for those from MacRostie Winery and Vineyards, Ferrari-Carano Vineyards and Winery, Patz & Hall Winery, MacMurray Estate Vineyards and Benovia Winery ($28 to $75).
Another red to consider is a full, round Malbec from Argentina, among them, Luigi Bosca, Nieto Senetiner and Catena ($15 to $40).
For the small wedding with a big budget or for that matter, any wedding where price is no object, one of the most elegant and singular red wines is Italy's Ornellaia, a classic blend of Bordeaux-style grapes grown in the western rim of Tuscany. A beautiful, impressive wine – graceful, polished, balanced, outstanding – it is truly dazzling ($250). Rumor had it that George Clooney chose Ornellaia for his wedding to Amal Alamuddin. Checking with the winery, it confirmed – not a rumor, a fact.
How much white and red wine to buy? As we estimated a half bottle per guest for a sparkling wine, consider a third to a half bottle of white and red per guest. And as with sparkling wine, round that number to cases so that, if you are having 100 guests, plan on 36 to 48 bottles, half of them white, half, red. Most wine shops offer a 10 percent discount when you buy by the case.
And when sipping that red or white or toasting with bubbles, think about this. Marriage can be easily compared to wine - choose it carefully, tend to it properly and it will get better and better with age.