by Jean Smullen
Your wedding reception is going to be one of the most important meals in your life so make sure the wine too, leaves a lasting memory.
You don’t have to go with your venue’s wine list, you can buy wines on a sale or return basis from most off-licences or you can opt to buy wines on sale in any of the bigger supermarkets.
Remember though, your venue will charge you corkage, a charge made for opening the bottles. So, if you’ve bagged a bargain in your supermarket sale and think you’re saving money, think again. A corkage charge of €15-€20 per bottle for still wines and €20-€25 for sparkling wines usually applies. Hotel restaurants, pubs and country houses are flexible and they want your business, so you can negotiate the corkage fee but take it into consideration.
When it comes to choosing wine for your wedding, keep it simple! If your granny and the aunties loves pinot grigio, then opting for an expensive white wine made from Chardonnay and aged in oak is not going to appeal. Pinot grigio is a neutral unoaked style of white and is the second most popular white grape on the Irish market after sauvignon blanc, so it’s always a reliable choice. Do some research first, get a copy of the wine list from your venue and check the wine reviews online.
Make sure to take the menu into consideration when choosing your wine. When matching food and wine certain general principles apply. Consider flavour and intensity, an oily fish such as salmon would be overpowered by a full-bodied chardonnay with its layers of taste. It needs a light, simple wine with enough acidity to lift the flavour of the fish so go for a white made from sauvignon blanc.
If you’re choosing a meat option you want a red wine with a little bit of tannin. Red grapes such as cabernet sauvignon work well with any kind of meat. If you are serving vegetarian or vegan foods there is a wine to match your choice. Vegetables tend to have earthy flavours so a lighter style fruity red or white from warmer countries such as Chile, Australia or South Africa would work with that option.
The most important thing is to find a wine style that suits everyone. A cross-section of your life will be represented at your wedding, so try to go mainstream if you can. Most venues have trained staff with a good wine knowledge (all part of the serviced package). Meet them to discuss your menu and be guided by their advice; they have been doing this for a long time. Finally, don’t forget the toast to the bride and groom, we all love wine with bubbles. At the value end, prosecco is much loved sparkling wine and will fit the bill perfectly. If you want to push the boat, try a Spanish cava as a cheaper option, or if you’re feeling flush, you can always toast your wedding day with Champagne!
As recommended by Jean Smullen https://jeansmullen.com/