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budget wine for a summer wedding

im lucky enough to be getting married to the love of my life next july in an outdoor ceremony in vermont. were trying not to break the bank, but like good wine, so im looking for recommendations of good bottles at affordable prices. were looking for a red and a white, under $10/ea for sure, and if possible in the $5-7 range. the meal will be buffet style - garlic-y kebabs of lamb and chicken, lots of summer produce (tomatoes, grilled corn), some middle eastern stuff (hummus, baba ghanoush), and pie for desert. we will likely not serve champagne, neither of us like it much.

for what we want to pay, i'm guessing spain is a good bet and thinking rioja/temperanillo and albarino, but i'm very open to other ideas. any good pairings, budget bottles, or tips on getting cheap wine would be more than appreciated.


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  1. i'll take a crack at a reco...have you thought about serving a really nice rose? the setting and the food (especially all those mediterranean flavors) seems to be perfect for a rose. it'll go really well with a wide variety of flavors.

    i'm not sure what's available in your part of the woods, so i'd recommend talking to a reputable wine store and doing some tasting. There's some really good ones from the south of France that would go well with the food you are serving.

    if not a rose, i do like your rioja and albarino tack. for my wedding, we ended up serving Falesco Vitiano (can't remember the vintage), its widely available and should go for around $8/btl. For the white, we served Meridian Chardonnay.

    Congratulations and good luck!

    12 Replies
    1. re: roehlf

      I don't know if you have a high preference to red or white, but I'd recommend some Vinho Verde (Portuguese White Wine), currently I enjoy Gazella Brand, and its roughly 5-6$ a bottle. The stuff is delicious, especially when served cold on a summer day with BBQ styled foods.

      1. re: roehlf

        Ditto the rec for a rose. It's perfect for the food you're serving and pink looks cool and festive in the glass. Rose from France is delish, but might be out of your price range. I'd go for the Italain version (rosato) which is tastier in my opinion and more in your price range.

        If you want to stick to traditinoal white or red, go with something from Spain; it's the best region for well priced quality juice. For white, albarino is good, but I really like verdejos from Rueda. For reds, any tempranillo or grenache (garnacha) based wine will do the trick. Congrats!

        1. re: vinosnob

          Thanks for the suggestion of Rose, its a great idea. It would be a great fit, though we will have to ponder whether we want to buck the "red or white?" tradition. Might freak some people out, esp. folks who aren't much into wine.

          We're hoping to do pretty limited booze, a cocktail hour with one signature drink in pitchers (along with iced tea and lemonade) and self-serve beer and wine all night. I guess people who don't like Rose can drink beer..

          Anyhow, great idea, we will ponder it.

        2. re: roehlf

          Falesco Vitiano may be a bit heavy for this meal and this time of year. It's also a wine that's better with food than stand-alone since it's pretty hefty in the tannins department. I'd recommend Castle Rock Pinot Noir instead.

          1. re: Dr. Debs

            Castle Rock does a couple Pinots, but the one I've had in the past was just nasty. I've heard others (named for different vineyards, I think) are better. However, I'm really looking for under $10 and don't think any of these apply.

          2. re: roehlf

            For good deals, you might want to check out Table and Vine in Northampton. It would be a bit of a drive, but they have a super experienced staff there, and I expect the $ you save would more than cover gas. Plus Northampton is a fun place to spend an afternoon. They have a website, and have been great about corresponding with me in advance about what might fit my needs. We live in the Albany, NY area and drive out there a couple of times a year to load up on wine.

            I think you’ll have no problem finding a nice Tempranillo in that price range, and I also second the recommendation to have some Vinho Verde from the albarino grape - low in alcohol and lightly effervescent – perfect for a summer afternoon.

            1. re: meg944

              I should clarify – not all vinho verdes are made from albarino but there are a number of good ones available, so you'd have no trouble finding one.

              1. re: meg944

                I hadn't thought of them, but I used to live in that area, and they are a great store. I'll check out their website, thanks for the tip! It would be a fun trip for me for sure - I have some good friends in that area so we could do a wine tasting / wine buying trip.

                1. re: andytee

                  I actually just got an email that they are going to be closing the Northampton store in April and opening an expanded and updated version of their West Springfield location in May. It does sound nice - tasting room, etc. And for a July wedding, you should have plenty of time.

                  1. re: andytee

                    FYI, my husband happened to be in the area yesterday and stopped in at the Table and Vine store. As they are closing this weekend, they had a section of wines on sale for 25% off, or 50% off by the case, as well as other discounts. He bought some things, and we plan to go back together during the week to see if there is anything else we want to add to our cellar. If you are able to swing it, you might really be able to get some wedding wines at a great price.

                    1. re: meg944

                      that sounds perfect.. however, i just called them and thew person i spoke to on the phone confirmed that they were closing the northampton store (this saturday being their last day open) but said that they were not having any sort of closeout sale.

                      still, i cant imagine they would want to move all of their inventory, and wonder if perhaps they are just not advertising the sale in order to avoid a frenzy.

                      if anyone in the area has more info, id love to know more - i would be thrilled to drive out and visit some old friends and get a good deal on some wine.

                      1. re: andytee

                        He was just there yesterday. The discounted prices aren't showing on their website or anything, but for example, he got 3 bottle of Pommery Brut Apanage (listed at $44) for $16 each. (Incidentally, a nice deal at $16, but definitely not worth $44 in my mind.) He picked up a couple of other random things I can't remember off-hand, but there definitely were some deals. If you have friends in the area, maybe they can swing by and scout it out for you?

              2. Look up the local wineries web sites. Most wineries have a wine of the month or sell thier wine cheaper when purchased in bulk. A great red with lamb is Chambourcin. It has a great bold taste, dry, and very flavorable paired with lamb. It normally runs about $8-$10 a bottle.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Jyman

                  Thanks, but I live in Boston and the idea of scoping "local" wineries for a sale just seems like it might not be the best idea.

                2. Get a bubbly also... try any good Moscato d'Asti... they'll come in the mid-teens and be well worth it for you and your guests... a great summer wine also.

                  As for an easy-sipping white, reasonably priced, your dollar will go farthest with a riesling.

                  For the red, go with something rich... cabernet, merlot, shiraz, zinfandel... whatever your wine supplier recommends in your price range.

                  1. For reds, consider Di Majo Norante sangiovese or Bogle zinfandel. For a good cheap white, the 2005 Varner Foxglove is pretty nice.

                    1. How about a Torrontes for the white? Light, aromatic, less than $10 is easy to find, whereas an Albarino under 10 that isn't completely unbalanced is hard to find.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: jasmurph

                        Any one in particular you would reccomend? I havent drank a lot of Torrontes..

                        1. re: andytee

                          I've been drinking Torrontés "Plata", La Rioja 2006 for a couple of weeks now.

                      2. Something like a sauv blanc is good for summer and food friendly. Maybe Chenin Blanc. We had Chateau St. Michelle Chenin Blanc. Great for a summer day. Recenlty had Solaz from Spain, tempranillo/Cab. New wine and it had lots of umph for the price. Make sure you get a case discount (usually 10-15%) when buying in bulk. I also recommend a sparkler. It is a festive occasion and am sure many guest would enjoy some bubbles. Italian Prosecco is a good buy. Fonsecca was the one we had most recently. Great value.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: wineandcheese

                          Were not much for Champagne / Sparkling wines. If we have room in the budget, we might, and yes, would be inclined towards Prosecco.

                          Sauv Blanc seemed the obivious summer choice, but since I was inclined towards Spanish Reds, I wanted to get something that seemed a better match for that.

                        2. I had the Dry Creek Vineyard Chenin Blanc at my outdoor summer wedding this past July and it was perfect. We went with a Corbieres for the red and it too was a great wine for the food and weather. Each was well within your price range.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: BrianD

                            I second this suggestion. Absolutely first rate and a good summer wine. Easier to sip throughout a party than a chardonnay--would steer clear of those!

                          2. I'll try just about anything once but I have tried Rex Golliath a ton of times and I like their entire line. They have just about everything in reds and whites. You will notice the bottle due to the really big rooster on the label. Pretty cheap in the grocery store, $6-$9 area for all of them. I had the pinot noir last night and the pinot grigio is pretty good for what you are paying. They have syrahs and merlots and just about everything else. Hope this helps.

                            8 Replies
                            1. re: chefsteveo

                              Rex-Goliath! changed owners. The people who started it and earned a pretty good reputation sold the name to Constellation wines but not the frapes or the production facilities. The former owners now make wine under the Cycles Gladiator name.

                              1. re: chefsteveo

                                The Rex Goliath pinot I had in the last year was so bad I poured it out after one sip. It tasted like barbecue sauce. In retrospect I should have poured it out after taking a sniff -- it was easily one of the worst wines I've ever had. Maybe they've gone downhill?

                                andytee, you might have luck with a fruity cotes du rhone. I've been drinking a jean-luc colombo CDR that retails for about 8.99 and is really delicious.

                                1. re: oolah

                                  thanks, oolah - i love cotes de rhone. i had been thinking spanish b/c there are so many options in the $5-7 range, but ill try to track down a bottle of the jean-luc columbo you mentioned to try.. a good $9 CDR is a treat whether we use it at the wedding or not.

                                  1. re: andytee

                                    How about Rosenblum Chateau la Paws? It's under $10, easily available, and they give $6 for every case sold to Animal Rescue? Actually, you may want to check out my recent post on party wines: http://goodwineunder20.blogspot.com/2...

                                    1. re: andytee

                                      just found the aforementioned jean-luc columbo cotes de rhone on a 2 for $10 special. i will crack a tasting bottle this weekend. thanks for the tip.

                                      1. re: andytee

                                        That's a great deal! I hope you enjoy it -- the 2004 is pretty much our house wine at this point -- very food-friendly.

                                        Where did you find it at that price? I'm guessing it's nowhere near NYC, right?

                                        That reminds me -- I've had 2 other very good value wines lately.

                                        Gruet Brut (NV) is a sparkling wine from New Mexico (yep, New Mexico) that's an amazing value at around $9. It's made in the methode champagnoise and is light and crisp -- someone recently told me it's made by a couple of French expats who ended up in that part of the world. Would be a great substitute for champagne.

                                        Also had a 2005 Grupo Yllera Ribera del Duero Viña del Val for about $9 that was *really* tasty. Not anything fancy, mind you, but fruity, floral and easy to drink.

                                        1. re: oolah

                                          I found the Columbo Cotes de Rhone on sale at a local (Boston) area store, Kappy's. It's the 2003. Any comments on the vintage vs. the 2004?

                                          Gruet is good wine all around. I lived in New Mexico for a while and was pretty impressed by them - they make a good pinot noir as well, and passable chardonnay. However, if we go for sparkling wine, I'd buy the Italian prosecco I bought on sale at the same store I found the wine at - an "extra dry" from Gancia, on sale for $9.99 and delightful even to someone who is not a huge bubbly fan.

                                          I have a feeling Ribera del Deuro is going to be my new favorite wine region this summer - I'll look for the one you mentioned. $9 is more than I want to spend for the wedding, esp, with the Columbo at $5 a bottle, but I'll get some for home.

                                          Thanks for the tips!

                                          1. re: andytee

                                            I haven't tried the 2003, but I know that was a hot year in the Rhone Valley, so it's probably extra fruity. Would love to hear what you think of it when you get around to tasting it. I'll be checking out the prosecco :)

                                2. Andytee,

                                  I had the same project last summer, and really enjoyed supplying the wine for my own wedding. My wife and I are wine lovers, and usually don't think twice about buying a $50+ bottle of wine for weekend dinner at home. But, there is no way we could afford wine at that cost for a 175 person wedding. The wedding was on Cape Cod, so we wanted wine that would be enjoyable in warm weather. A great choice for a white wine we also went with Spain, the Montecillo Rioja. It is a nice, light white that tastes very similar to a Pinot Grisio. And, because it only sells for about $5 a bottle. We also went with a chardoney for some people that prefer it, but I don't recall the brand. One red we went with was the Georges Dubœuf Juliénas Château des Capitans. Good wine for warm weather, and I think we paid less than $10 a bottle. We also went with a Pinot Noir that I don't recall.

                                  Good luck.

                                  1. Thanks, The Bayou. I actually bought a few $5-7 whites from Trader Joes last week and will have a few friends over for a tasting to pick next week. One was the same Montecillo Rioja you mentioned, also an Argentine Torrontes and a French Sauvignon Blanc. Keep the ideas coming (though really, a major deciding factor will be what I can get local deals on) and I'll keep you posted on this end.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: andytee

                                      Did a tasting of the four whites from Trader Joes and think we have locked in two white wines. Glad to say the two faves were the two cheapest - the Montecillo Rioja (blanca) from Spain at $5.99 and the Amaicha Torrontes from Argentina at $4.99.

                                      Still need to work on the red side of things, havent found as much I liked at TJ's in this price range.

                                      Thanks, folks, for all the suggestions. You guys had some good ideas, and esp. the Torrontes. I had never tried one before and really like the few I have had recently.

                                    2. For great tasting and budget friendly wines for a crowd -- and in the summer -- I suggest Banrock Station wines from Australia. They make a very tasty Sparkling Chardonnay that each time I drink it I cannot believe it only costs $6.99. As well, their Shiraz and their Chardonnay are eminently drinkable, not tannic nor oaky (as might be in low price wines) and a litre of each costs $8.99 -- sometimes as low as $5.99 here in NY.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: ChefJune

                                        i really like new zealand sauv blanc..and for under $10, i like nobilo regional, going rate for that wine at my local retail store is around $8.

                                      2. might want to check out some of the Australian "tryst" line...or chilean wines...I have found them to be great for the price, castillio de diablo is a great line as is Cancho y Tores (spell that right?) they are all some great wines that are affordable and they have some that would go perfect with yoru menu!

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: COPE108

                                          I second the Chilean wine idea- great prices and both Castillo Del Diablo and Concho Y Torro are plumy and excellent.

                                          Also, in my poorer days (I used to work in the nonprofit sector, so there were a lot of them) I reached for Barefoot wines. They are around $7.00 per bottle, and their offerings are straightforward and clean, which means that most people can find something they enjoy. I've never hesitated about serving them to a crowd.

                                        2. Perhaps you've made your decisions already, but I just found your post, as I'm also in the process of picking wines for my end-of-May wedding. I had friends over Saturday night and the crowd pleaser was the 2005 Petit Bourgeois, a sort of poor man's Sancerre (from the Loire valley, $9 something a bottle at the 15% case discount from the Chelsea Wine Vault in NYC.) Haven't picked a red yet, but the saleswoman at Astor Wines highly recommended the 2002 Herederos del Marques de Riscal Rioja Reserva, which I think is around $11 or $12. Good luck, congrats, have fun! -N

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: nicolec

                                            Depending on where in Vermont your wedding will be, I would be happy to give you the names of several wine shops and their owners. You may want to buy the wine here to avoid having to transport it (I'm sure at least some of them would deliver for you as well as give advice/discounts). I am in the Burlington area as a point of reference.

                                          2. I third (or fourth?) the suggestion for vinho verde. Casal Garcia Vinho Verde is a pretty, easy-drinking one, perfect for summer and inexpensive (around $5 a bottle). For the red wine, I'd go with a lighthearted Beaujolais.

                                            1. Agree with the Vinho Verde OR a nice Txakolina (pronounced cha-ko-lee-na) from the Basque region of Spain - both are very drinkable whites best served cold and good for a summer event.

                                              For red you can easily find a Beaujolais in that range.