The Drinks Blogger NI

A marriage of food and wine

For those with a passion for wine, choosing wines for their wedding day is undoubtedly one of the more pleasurable aspects of planning the big day; for others it can be an unnerving experience, bamboozled by flowery descriptions, confusing price promotion, and the sheer choice of wines available in the market. For all couples, there’s the desire to please everyone with their choice, and the ever-more important matter of managing a budget.

For starters, consider what flavours, styles and varieties of foods you will be serving at the reception, and then you can pair specific wines with the selected foods to bring the unique flavours out the best. If you are planning on serving several types of wine in addition to Champagne, you may consider a combination of whites and reds.

Warming, fuller-bodied wines are perfect for winter weddings (full-bodied Chardonnays, oak-matured Shiraz or Cabernet Sauvignon). Summer weddings call for lighter, more refreshing wine styles (Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Chablis or Rosé and Pinot Noir or a Spanish Garnacha).

For a white wine summer option, I recommend the ever-popular Sauvignon Blanc from Chile; Santa Rita’s 120 is perfect alongside seafood and is crisp and refreshing, offering an abundance of grapefruit and lemon fruit flavours, delivered in a softer, more tropical fruit texture. As for red wines to consider, Cabernet Sauvignon also from Santa Rita’s 120 range, deep, ripe ruby red in colour with a nose of blackcurrant, menthol and toasty vanilla notes is fantastic when paired with red meat and is always a party hit for red wine drinkers. For those who prefer a softer red with more versatile food-pairing options, a Ropiteau ‘Les Plants Noble’ Pinot Noir would be a perfect pick. Last, but not least, you may consider serving a few bottles of Riptide Zinfandel Rose which is gently sweet but incredibly refreshing, it balances strawberry and cream flavours with a zesty, crisp finish rose will be hugely popular among the younger female wedding guests, who will be getting ready to kick their heels off for a dance!

The toast

It’s customary to serve sparkling wine for the toast. Many couples choose Champagne, but there are loads of other superb sparkling wines that you may prefer. Sparkling wines from Australia are often made using the same methods as Champagne and can offer excellent value. I recommend McGuigan Frizzante which is full of lively yet delicate bubbles that give a crisp and refreshing sparkling wine. For a lighter alternative, try Prosecco from Italy or Cava from Spain. I recommend Sartori Prosecco Erfo which has a delicate fruity bouquet, reminiscent of wild apple and acacia flowers. In the mouth, it is dry with subtle aromas of fruit and nuts.

It’s nice to pair a dessert wine with your end-of-meal treat. Port is a good choice to round off the meal. I recommend Taylor’s Fine Tawny. Served lightly chilled it has a mellow nose of ripe berry fruit with aromas of butterscotch, smooth and round on the palate full of rich strawberry jam flavours. It is the perfect pairing with wedding cake as it complements the typical fruit and marzipan flavours.

Finally, have fun when choosing your drinks. This is a time for celebration, so choose fun, tasty wines; ones that will be easy to drink and enjoyed by everyone. When it comes to providing wine, I always suggest erring on the side of caution – it’s better to have too much than not enough!

Tip: calculate a half-bottle per person, which is about three glasses

For more information on the fabulous products available at United Wine Merchants please call 02838 316555, or check online at 

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