Budget Wine for early Fall wedding
I am getting married outside of Nashville, TN in a small mountain town at the end of September. We're having a relatively small (125 people) evening reception at a bed and breakfast (inside/outside). Heavy hors d'oeuvres of harvest vegetables, salmon, pork with fruit chutney, wild rice with toasted almonds and cranberries, etc will be served. Could anyone recommend a budget-friendly red, white and sparkling wine? I'm trying to keep it $10 and below. Thanks!!
congrats! and yes, here are some budget-friendly recommendations: Trapiche "Oak Cask Chardonnay, McManis Cabernet Sauv.,and Lucien Albrecht Crémant D'Alsace--Brut-Blanc De Blancs....each will satisfy the novice or the wine snob, and the white & red are $10 or less.. the sparkling is around $15, and quite good. Best of luck, and have fun!
Am mostly clueless when it comes to US prices but, speaking generally, I think your menu calls for a flavourful but not heavy white and a supple red. In the former category, you might look for a Chenin Blanc (there are some generic Vouvrays -- e.g. B&G's -- from the Loire that are more than drinkable and Herzog makes a pretty good California iteration), a Pinot Gris (from Oregon, Alsace or northern Italy, where it's usually called Pinot Grigio) or an Alsatian blend like Hugel's Gentil. For a red, a Pinot Noir would be an obvious choice for your main dishes (good luck in finding one for $10, though maybe it can be done). Affordable wines of a similar weight include Zweigelt and St-Laurent from Austria, Teroldego from northeast Italy (Mezzacorona makes some good ones, especially the riserva), Gamay from the Loire (Gamay de Touraine) and Beaujolais, almost any Savoie red and Borsao, a 100% Grenache wine from northeast Spain. If the US makes such wines at a $10 price point, I've yet to encounter them; Saintsbury's Garnet at around $20 is the closest I've found up here in the frozen north.
For white wine, Pine Ridge makes a nice chenin Blanc / Viogner blend for around $10 to $12 - if you have until Sept., you can probably pick it up on sale somewhere. Kim Crawford makes a nice unoaked chardonnay, usually in the $12 to $14 range when not on sale. Ch Souverain and Ch St Michelle both make decent Chardonnays that I have seen under $10 recently.
A PN might be a good choice for red given the salmon, pork and fall veggies on the menu, but bargains are harder to find in this category. Chalone Monterey Pinot Noir can be found for around $13 - $14. A little lesser wine but still passable is Pepperwood PN, which will be less than $10.
All of these wines are generally mass market offerings that are reasonably widely available. If you have access to a store that has a good selection of Spanish imports, you could find some really nice wines in your price range.
i disagree with carswell.
for 125 people just keep it simple. australian wines are popular and decent for mass-produced "budget" wine. also i've heard chilean wines are good value. people will appreciate it more if it's familiar. go to your local liquor store and ask an employee to recommend a few good cheap bottles. it's your wedding- it should relfect you- so serve the wine you like.
You'll be looking at 8-12 cases of wine to make sure that you do not run out. I'd talk to your local retailer and see what sort of deal, he/she can offer.
In general terms, the two wines that I would concentrate on would be Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris/Grigio for the pork and the salmon. However, the PN will likely run over your budge. Even the lighter fare from the Pacific NW will be over that budget - unless you can get a deal. Many distributors are eager to get their client's wine out to the masses, so you might want to look for a deal. The PG, again, I'd look to the Pacific NW, should be no big deal.
For the guests, you probably should look to a light, food-friendly Chard and maybe a bit more full-bodied red, say a Merlot, or Cab. I'd personally opt for a Malbec here, as the bang-for-the-buck is still good for these, especially from the Mendoza region. Spain also is offering some fine wines for less than many of their counterparts.
One concern should be getting the wine to the ceremony, and then chilling the whites to a good temp.
Sorry, but I do not know any <US$10 sparklers, but maybe a Cava (Spain) could be found.
And remember, you do not have to bring each wine in for <US$10, just the total. So, if you find a good deal on a PG, the extra can go towards the PN.
Congrats, and good luck,