Wine for BBQ Wedding
We are having a BBQ wedding in NJ in August. It will be hot & muggy (unless it rains, which hopefully it won't)! We're having grilled tri-tip, hamburgers, hot dogs, some kind of chicken, and something to appease the vegetarians. I'm thinking a Chardonnay, a Rose & a Zin, as well as a selection of beers. Anyone have specific wines they can suggest? Also, we are not looking to spend a ton of moolah on this one. Thanks!
Donkey and a Goat and Ameztoi (a Basque wine) make nice roses. The Ameztoi Rubentis is more delicate. Otherwise, look for an inexpensive rose from southern France, like Tavel.
New Jersey and August doesn't seem like good Zin weather.
I totally agree with Steve's rec. of Tavel rosé. They're both affordable and refreshing on a hot summer day. And Zin is THE bbq wine, so you're great there, as long as it's not too, too hot out. If you can find it, even the entry level Seghesio Zin is solid, especially for the price.
OP, are you really set on Chardonnay? It's kind of passé, as well as not a great value for your dollar. It's hard to find even decent Chard. for under $30, in my opinion. Plus, the low acid/huge oak in most California Chard. makes it pretty bad with the majority of food. I'd go German Riesling, NZ Sauvignon Blanc or Alsatian Gewurztraminer instead.
Chateau Revelette is a good, easy to find rose - Moore Bros always has it, at least, and I've seen it elsewhere on ocassions. A slight chill on it, and you've got a great August quaffer.
As for Chard, go for a steel barrel one for something more refreshing. Naked Chardonnay is a really nice one if you can find it.
I'd second invinotheresverde's suggestion of swapping out one of your three choices for a nice Alsatian Gewurz, though. It'll be great with the foods you've mentioned and is so nice for hotm, muggy days.
Try Foxglove Chardonnay. It's the second label for Varner. A perennial Parker 90 pointer. No oak. About $15 or less.
I might go in a different direction for your white. Hot and muggy NJ in August, with those foods, too, I would think NZ SB (or a good slightly off dry Riesling). The ubiquitous Kim Crawford and Villa Maria brands of NZ Sauvignon Blanc are always decent, cheap, and crowd pleasers. (For Riesling I'd try Dr. L from Germany or else Dr. Konstantin Frank from the Finger Lakes). Rose you can go *seriously* cheap and get (Bodegas Nekeas) Vega Sindoa Rosato. For under $8, it is a screaming steal. For your red, I agree Zin might be a good way to go, but I cannot give you any good reccomendations in the lower price ranges. HOWEVER, if you are willing to go in a different direction, the 2007 Tere Nere Etna Rosso is being sold at a NJ wine store for $13.99 and that is an *amazing* bottle of wine, even or the $19 that I pay for it out here in CA. It would also work very well with your food.
wanna go really cheap? Vino verde is great ice cold on a hot day. Low in alchohol, too. Even beer drinkers will be chugging it (slightly fizzy). Many decent ones available for $5 a bottle...Trader Joe's has had a nice one for $4. I truly don't believe that you have to pay a lot for good wine, especially for a BBQ situation.
For red, there are any number of good, hearty, spicy Spanish wines under $10 that are great for BBQ: Look for monastrells from Jumilla (e.g. Olivares Altos de la Hoya) or Bodegas Alto Almanzora "Este" from Andalucia.
Rather than Zin, I would check out Marietta Cellars' Old vine Red, It's a blend that includes Zin, and imho is perfect with barbecue.
I also echo the "no Chardonnay" suggestion for the white. an NZ Sauvignon Blanc (my fave is Babich) or a Finger Lakes Riesling will go better with your food, and be more refreshing.
For Rose, there are so many choices at the $10 or lower price point, you should do fine. Check out the offerings at Wine Library dot com. ;)
You should find a wine shop, tell them your budget and menu and they can find the perfect match for you. Sometimes people sugest things that aren't in your market. A great way to stretch the budget, bellinis, made with Looza peach juice or frozen peach concoction topped with an inexpensive prosecco or mix sparkling with a little apple juice and pommegranite are fun too. Another fun tip, alcohol goes a long way instead of beer and wine, you could always have a bloody mary bar. I always joke and say it doesn't matter anyway, people LOVE free booze!!! Happy wedding.
I picked the wines for my own wedding, all well under $10 and everybody liked them. Food was grilled butterflied lamb and smoky pineapple BBQ chicken.
We did two whites and two reds, skipped the rose (not for any particular reason). I agree with other folks, skip the Chardonnay.
Our list was a Vino Verde (Aveleda, $2-5 a bottle) and a Torrontes (Amaicha, from Trader Joes $3-5 a bottle) for the whites, and a Campo de Borja (Vina Borgia, Spanish, $5-7 a bottle) and a Montapulciano D'Abruzzo (Masciarelli, and at $7-9 a bottle, our most expensive wine) for the reds. The Montepulciano was picked b/c it went so well with the lamb, maybe not as relavent for your menu.
The best advice I ever got on saving money on wine is to stop looking at the grapes everybody asks for - Chardonnay, Merlot, Cab, etc. and start checking out things like Picpoul, Vino Verde, Campo de Borja, etc. In our case, we still get compliments on the wine choices, and we saved a bundle. If you have some time, I'd encourage you to do what I did - spend a while buying just about anything interesting (of course, asking for recommendations doesn't hurt) in your price range (mine was under $8) and see what works. God knows I dumped a few down the drain, but on a $5 bottle, so what? After a while I realized bad wine still makes decent sangria. And, I did some good drinking, learned some new things about wine, and most of all, I discovered there is a lot of good wine out there that doesn't cost an arm and a leg. No, it's nothing revelatory, but there is a place for solid plonk with class, esp. at a wedding.
Re: Beers, springing for a keg of something classy is not a bad idea.
Good luck, have fun, and congrats.
If you want some wines (grapes) that are off the radar and therefore pretty good value while also being something that people will think back to your wedding and actually remember it because it's perfect for BBQ (assuming they don't blackout):
Red: Charbono (perfect for grilled meats; although my first introduction was a rather expensive Robert Foley bottling)
White: Godello (a distant cousin of albarino; delightfully refreshing with nice acidity)
I third the Tavel recommendation, although there are cheaper French roses such as those from Provence.
How set on Zin are you?
There are a lot of reds that pair well with grilled meats, but are a heck of a lot more refreshing. A lot of reds even work nicely with a little chill on them. Piggy-backing off another post...how about Bonarda? Very cheap, easy to drink, fruit forward, but definitely big enough to stand up to grilled food. Very refreshing after a bit of a dip in an ice bucket.
Not wine-related but: you may have to make special arrangements to get tri-tip in NJ. It is not a cut commonly available in the east.