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Wine for a NYC wedding?

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I'm getting married next month in NYC. We're not keen on the location's house wines (Lindeman's bin 65 Chardonnay and a Rosemount Shiraz).

We'll be having around 100 guests, and will be serving beef, chicken, and pasta in yet-to-be-determined preparations.

Does anyone have any recommendations for wholesalers/stores within driving distance of Manhattan where we can buy our own wine? We need a place that will let us return unused bottles. I'd give a price range, but I have no idea how much these things cost so I don't even have a basis for comparison.

Also, any suggestions for wines that would be tastier than the ones I've listed above but that would still be reasonably priced? In terms of "tasty in which way," I don't know much about wine, but I did not consider the Chardonnay drinkable. For whites I tend to like Albarino, but we would like to buy American wines.

Thanks for any advice you all have. I know very little about wine, so I appreciate your patience!

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  1. Hi there,

    Before you purchase your own wines, please determine if the site/caterers will even allow you to purchase and serve your own wines and if so, if they plan to charge you "corkage." Some caterers will not allow you to byob to your own wedding so it helps to be sure before you shell out for a ton of cases that you can't use.

    If they do let you bring in your own wines, you, personally cannot purchase wine directly from a wholesaler in New York State but your caterers can (but again, they may charge you a slight mark-up). As an alternative, you can purchase directly from a retail shop (I like Astor Wines and Spirits - if you need the contact there, PM me and I'll give you the name). You can usually receive a discount for buying many cases and you can always purchase a couple of bottles to taste before committing to a large purchase. Be warned, it is extremely rare for a retail shop or wholesaler to accept unused cases so you want to ensure you don't overbuy. Much will depend on the drinking habits of your guests. Are they more beer or hard liquor drinkers? If so, you won't need as much wine.

    It really helps to figure out exactly what your menu will be before you start selecting wines to pair with your dinner.

    I hope that helps. Once you have all that figured out, I'm positive that many people on this board will be able to recommend some great wedding wines.

    1. Zachy's and Sherry-Lehmann are two of the largest retailers in your area, but by no means the only ones.

      Given your range of foods, I'd recommend the following wines:

      BEEF: Depending on the seasonings/sauces, cabernet sauvignon would be my first choice here. A nice syrah or zinfandel would probably be the second.

      CHICKEN: Again, depending on the seasonings, chardonnay would be my first choice. Riesling

      PASTA: If with some sort of "red" and/or "meat" sauce, Valpolicella Classico would be my first choice. Barbera would be a second. Valpolicella has the added advantage of being very friendly to drink "by itself". The zinfandel would also work here.

      If the pasta is a cream sauce dish then Chardonnay is probably the best choice, Soave Classico a second choice.

      SO, to give everyone a bit of variety and match all the foods, you might do two whites and two reds for example:

      WHITES: Chardonnay and Soave or Chardonnay and Riesling. Don't worry that you haven't found chardonnay drinkable, there's alot of bad chardonnay out there, but good chardonnay is a sublime wine that everyone loves. Be particular.

      REDS: Valpolicella Classico Ripassa and Cabernet or Valpolicella and Syrah...

      To add interesting "wine friendly" food matchups to your table, serve 2 or 3 cheeses (with plain water crackers or simple toast points) that match most of these wines superbly. A nice selection for these wines would be a plain Chevre, Gruyere, and Parmesan Reggiano.

      Enjoy and congrats to the lucky couple, btw.

      1. You might be able to try and get your caterer to order different wines through its distributers. Wehn we had our rehearsal dinner, also in Manhattan, my wife wanted bottles of Prosecco at dinner. I arranged with the restaurant to provide a case, but I bought all of it.

        We did with wines provided by our caterer, but I know we had a selection to choose from and were not stuck with two specifics wines.

        If I needed a cheap white, I'd look for a Moscato D'Asti, which is a slightly sweet, slightly effervescent, low in alcohol white. I recently served Sarocco Moscato D'Asti at a party, during which it was really praised. If you are also pouring champagne, there might be better choices, as you might not both to be effervescent.

        Cheap reds abound. But if I wanted to make sure I was not breaking the back, that it would go well with beef and would be widely accepted, I'd try to find a tempranillo I liked.

        There are plenty of places that will deliver it by the case, but I am not sure how many would be willing to take back bottles. You might try: Sherry-Lehman, Astor Place (astoruncorked.com), http://www.pjwine.com/ which is way up town but delivered to me in midtown, or several others.

        1. Falanghina is also a nice compliment to most pastas. I would agree with chardonnay if the dish is creamy and/or buttery

          1. "Be warned, it is extremely rare for a retail shop or wholesaler to accept unused cases so you want to ensure you don't overbuy."

            More than even extremely rare, it's actually illegal. A retailer may not take returns of non-defective wine & liquor in NYS. (Maybe beer too, for that differenet set retailers, I don't know about that.)