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calling all connoisseurs

Will be getting married this November, garden wedding. I know diddlly-squat about wines. My best resource is Trader Joe's. Would like some reccs from those of you who are able and can espect my shopping choice. Already pic't up:

Rodney Strong - Merlot and Cabs
Wente - Chard
Sterling - Chard
Bonterra Chard
and Gloria Ferrer Chard

What else can YOU reccommend?? Thank you !

Kitchen Queen :)

"To the world you may be just one person but, to one person, you may be the world!"

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  1. KQ,

    There's no need to call "connoisseurs" -- it's far more important that you and your fiancée like the wines being served (#1), that the two of you think they match the food being served (#2), and that the wines fall within your budget.

    I am more than happy to offer you some suggestions (along with my congratulations), but in order to make EFFECTIVE suggestions, I'd like to know what food you're serving? where the wedding will be (Hawaii in November would call for different recommendations than New York City)? what kind of wines the two of you enjoy (e.g.: are you "wedded" to serving Chardonnay and Cabernet [or Merlot])? what's your budget, and how many people are coming? and what about sparkling wines?

    3 Replies
    1. re: zin1953

      Thank you - Wedding in So. Cal. - backyard in Rancho Cucamonga. Casual Elegance Hors d' oueveres prior w/cheeses/fruits/smoked salmon etc. After dinner is Persian - meat and fish kabobs, rice and salads. Desserts, pastries, mousses, chocolate fondue and a full coffee barista bar. "We" don't drink wines, all for guests. Don't want to spend more than 15$ per bottle. A few dessert wine suggestions would be great too. You live in Glendale AZ?

      1. re: Kitchen Queen

        KQ,

        I live in Berkeley, CA.

        I am a bit surprised at the lack of a sparkling wine. One of the best deals in the market today is Gruet Brut from New Mexico. Don't laugh! It's VERY good and very affordable -- it's my "go to" recommendation when people want a sparkler on a budget. OTOH, if you want to stick with California, I'd look to:

        Chandon's Brut or Blanc de Noirs (around $18, but you can find it on sale)
        Gloria Ferrer Brut or Blanc de Noirs (around $16)
        Mumm's Brut or Blanc de Noirs (around $17, but you can find it on sale)

        IF -- and it's a big if -- if you're staying with California wines, I'd probably pick a wine that is "softer" than a Cabernet Sauvignon, and opt for either a Pinot Noir or a Merlot. The Rodney Strong Merlot you mention would certainly work. So, too, would wines like

        Pinot Noir ($16.99 and under):
        Castle Rock
        Chalone Monterey Co. (not their Estate -- too much $$$)
        Estancia
        Fleur de Carneros
        Gallo of Sonoma
        Jekel
        Kenwood
        Ramsay

        Merlot ($16.99 and under):
        Beringer
        Blackstone
        Bonterra
        Buena Vista
        Chateau Ste. Michelle (OK, it's from Washington)
        Gallo of Sonoma
        Geyser Peak
        Hahn
        J.Lohr
        Markham
        Rodney Strong

        Someone mentioned Bogle Petite Sirah, and that would also be a good choice.

        For white wines -- again, if we're sticking to California wine -- I think Riesling would be a good choice.

        Rieslings (all under $15):
        Chateau Ste. Michelle, off-dry (yes, Washington State)
        Chateau Ste. Michelle, dry
        Fess Parker
        J.Lohr
        Jekel
        Trefethen (this is the only wine listed that is more than $9)

        Congratulaitons, and good luck!

        Jason

    2. KQ:

      just curious; since you don't drink wine, somebody else must have suggested the above list.

      Am I wrong assuming it was your catering service?

      1 Reply
      1. re: RicRios

        I am NOT using a caterer however, I am very familiar w/Rodney Strong wineries as well as others. I have had many wines in the past and will on occasion. The above wines were a combo of my own supposed knowledge and a suggestion from a Trader Joe's employee. BTW - I enjoy the planning of events and will do the same with my wedding.

      2. KQ:

        The one thing I notice about your list is that you basically have two wines: Chardonnay and Cabernet/Merlot (which I combine in that they are very close on the flavor spectrum)...

        Why not reach out and add:
        A sparkler
        A sweeter, dependable white like riesling
        A medium red like pinot noir or a lighter one like beaujolais

        The above will have the benefit of adding new flavor options plus matching a range of foods not particularly covered by chardonnay and cab/merlot.... they are abundantly available in reasonable price ranges with reasonably consistent quality (unlike other wines that may be more "tricky")

        Lastly, depending on what you're having for dessert, some sort of dessert wine... if you want to go with a drink that "everyone loves", isn't too expensive, matches alot of desserts, and has a way of wrapping up a meal in a very pleasant style, try a Moscato d'Asti.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Chicago Mike

          Chicago Mike-
          I am open to any suggestions but, I need specific brands. As I said, I'm not too familiar with spirits so, I stuck to which I do know. A dessert wine or two would be great. How about a Pinot Grigio?

          1. re: Kitchen Queen

            There's a ton of mediocre pinot grigio in the states...

            As for specific brands, my answer is always "the best that your wine vendor(s) have available in your price range"...

        2. I see a great interest in Reislings and Gewürztraminer these days. The have become my favorites in contrast to the oakier chards. These are a bit less austere with the Gewurz having a bit of a "spicy" aroma. But I do agree with Chicago Mike. Make sure YOU like it. My opinion is that if you like it...it's a good wine...for you.

          1 Reply
          1. re: winediva1

            the reason I'd do riesling over gewurztraminer is that it's fairly easy to find a good riesling whereas finding a good gewurztraminer is trickier, IMO.... and there's just a whole lot more drinkable riesling out there at friendly price points than there is gewurztraminer.

          2. Try Bogle's Petit Syrah which goes for about $10 at TJ. It's a good example of what a petit syrah should be for a good price.

            1 Reply
            1. re: MEalcentric

              Thank you - You're the only one so far with specifics! I appreciate that.