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Choosing Wine for my Wedding

Many couples find it difficult to choose the wines to serve at their wedding reception.  Of course, it's difficult to make choices that will please all of your guests, and it's made harder still if you're working to a budget.  But if you follow a few simple tips, choosing your wine can be a pleasure rather than a chore.

Wedding Wine

If you are serving a meal at your wedding reception, then it's best to choose the food before you choose the wine.  There is endless and detailed advice available on which wines match which foods: for example that grilled fish should be served with a Chardonnay, or that game is best paired with a Shiraz.  It is safe to ignore most of this advice.  Common sense will tell you whether or not a particular wine will clash with a particular food.  If you are planning to serve a very delicate white fish dish to your guests, it would obviously be best to avoid a very heavy red wine.  Likewise, a very light and young white wine is probably not going to go well with a rich, meaty dish.  Have your food choice in mind when picking wine, but don't let it dominate your choice.

You should also bear in mind the time of year your wedding will take place.  A full bodied ten year old red might not go down particularly well in the middle of summer, regardless of what you serve it with.  And in the depths of winter, your sparkling white, served at just above refrigerator temperature, might not be a great choice either.

Finally, you need to spare a thought for the tastes of your guests.  You might be relatively experienced with wine and appreciate some of the more unusual varieties on offer.  But be careful in choosing a “left field” wine, as your guests might not share your passion for it.  Some wines really are an acquired taste.  In this bracket you can put wines such as Moscatel (a sweet and fragrant wine from Spain), Gewürztraminer (another aromatic wine which is grown across Europe, particularly in Alsace) and sparkling reds (popular in Australia).  This isn't to say these wines aren't good - many of them are excellent - or that you shouldn't choose them for your wedding, just use care with wines such as these.

With all that in mind, we can now look at a couple of popular wedding wines that work well in most circumstances.  For a white wine, New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc is a very versatile option.  Most wines of this type are relatively light – it's best to avoid the complex, oaky flavours of heavier white wines when you're choosing a wine to appeal to a large number of people.  They are also widely available, which is important: you might choose a wine now but decide not buy it in bulk for another six months. 

For a red wine, it's fairly easy to find a Rioja that will suit the season, the food, and everyone's taste.  Rioja is grown in Spain and comes in several varieties: Crianza (which must be aged at least two years before being released, one of which must be in an oak barrel), Reserva (which must be aged for three years, with one in oak) and Gran Reserva (five years aging, including two in oak).  If a wine is simply labeled“Rioja” then it has spent less than the required aging time to be a “Crianza”.  Generally, a Crianza is a good choice for a wedding wine: not too heavy and not too light. 

Overall, choosing the wine for your wedding should be a pleasure and not a chore.  It's actually a great way to make others feel involved in your wedding: buy a few bottles and invite the family round, then choose your favourites. 

This article was written by Benjamin Parker of  Visit the site for more advice on your wedding drinks including pre-dinner drinks, calculating wine quantities and more.

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