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May 13, 2009 11:37 AM

Need help choosing wines for wedding reception from list (dinner menu also enclosed)

I'm trying to choose some wines for my upcoming wedding reception (hors d'oeuvres, three-course dinner, chatting/dancing afterwards). I'm really not sure where to begin in terms of how many different wines to choose for each portion of the event, and which particular ones to offer (this is my first time hosting a party of any magnitude that is offering wine). I have included below the menu and the wine list that I have to choose from. Any recommendations/advice is greatly appreciated:

Hors d'eouvres
-Crab Cakes with a Lemon and Dill Aioli
-Goat Cheese with Green Tomato Chutney en Croute
-Wild Mushroom Tart with Parmesan Tuile and Truffle Oil

First Course
Grilled Asparagus, Poached Shrimp, Chopped Egg, and a
Sherry Vinaigrette
Main Course
Beef Tenderloin, Fennel and Yukon Gold Gratin, Tomato
Confit, Cremini Mushrooms and a Red Wine Beef Sauce
Fresh Fruit Tart

Vegetarian meal
-Poached Bartlett Pear with Blue Cheese, Walnuts and a
Maple Vinaigrette
-Ricotta and Spinach Cannelloni with Pine Nuts, Tomato
Marmalade, and a Parmesan and Rosemary Cream
-Fresh fruit tart

Whites -
Labouré Roi, Chardonnay, Vin de Pays D’Oc, France
Lange, Chardonnay, Willamette Valley, Oregon
Four Graces, Pinot Gris, Willamette Valley, Oregon
Villa Maria, Riesling, Marlborough, New Zealand
St. Supery, Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley, California
Eberle, Chardonnay, Paso Robles, California
Loimer Grüner Veltliner, “Weinland”, Austria (1 Liter Bottle)

Reds -
Belle Provencal Rouge, Cote de Ventoux, France
Cono Sur, Pinot Noir, Central Valley, Chile
Dona Paula, Cabernet Sauvignon, Lujan de Cuyo, Argentina
Peirrano, Merlot, Sonoma, California
Four Vines, Zinfandel, Old Vine Cuvée, California
Tablas Creek, Cote de Tablas, Paso Robles, California
Roberts Sinskey Merlot, Napa Valley, California
Four Graces, Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, Oregon
Hess, Cabernet Sauvignon, Allomi, Napa Valley, California

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  1. My advice is to go simple (choose one red, one white) and select familiar wines most people know well i.e. chardonnay and merlot.

    I'm sure others will post about what constitutes the "perfect pairing", but that can get complicated, expensive, etc. and you probably don't want another hassle in planning a large event like this one.

    Based on that, I'd go with the Lange chardonnay (they employ some stainless fermentation so it will be more food-friendly than "typical" chardonnay) and the Sinskey merlot; btw, Sinskey is an especially fine producer.

    1. The Loimer Gruner sounds like the most basic. If it's a 2006 or 2007, it might work. I'd taste it first.
      The Cotes de Ventoux I'm guessing is a Perrin & Fils. It's simple, probably, but Rhones can be some of the most food-friendly wines. Cotes De Tablas is probably more expensive but a safer bet. Tablas Creek rocks. I like Four Vines wines but I'm guessing the zinfandel is too big for the food.
      So if it was me, I'd taste the Loimer gruner and see if I liked it and I'd go with the Tablas Creek Cotes de Tablas.

      8 Replies
      1. re: SteveTimko

        see what the corkage fee is and bring in something better

        1. re: redmeatfan

          the corkage fee is $25. We may bring in something better for select tables but that really starts to run a bill when you're talking the entire reception.

          for myself I'd love to bring in the vincent girardin charmes-chambertin grand cru.

          1. re: mikeh

            I would strongly advise against bringing in "better" bottles for certain tables. That could send a message you don't want -- that some of your guests are worth more than the others.

            1. re: BrianD

              I've been to a wedding where the newlyweds' table was drinking different wines. I was not offended

        2. re: SteveTimko

          Steve- I'm not sure why you think the Belle Provencal is a Perrin wine. They don't make a straight Cotes-du-Ventoux under the Perrin label.

          And Belle Provencal is much less expensive than Tablas Creek.

            1. re: SteveTimko

              Well, yes and no. If you follow the link from there to search wine-searcher.com, they don't find any Belle Provencal at any of their stores.

              And the Perrin websites make no mention of it. The Perrin's importer is Vineyard Brands, and their website makes no mention of it.

              So you might be right that the Perrins produced it at one time, but it doesn't look like they do any more.

              1. re: crw77

                Wine Searcher shows no wines with the name of Belle from the Cotes de Ventoux.

        3. Pretty much agree with SteveTimko's reasoning, though I've tried neither the GV nor the Cote de Tablas.

          Your hors d'oeuvres cry out for Champagne or a similar sparkler.

          1. St. Supery and Tablas Creek. Although, as far as Merlot goes, Robert Sinskey does a good job.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Brad Ballinger

              Yes. I think the St. Supery would serve you well for the hors d'oeuvres and the first course. ( I like that paired with lemon, green tomato, goat cheese and sherry vinegar).

            2. I'd add a sparkling wine for cocktails (also good for the rest of the meal)

              I agree with the other suggestions, keep it simple, 1 white, 1 red.