Help with wines for a Thai wedding reception.
We are eloping to Thailand and when we return having a large Thai themed wedding reception. The food will include passed Thai appetizers, and then a buffet with Thai salads, 2 soups, several curries, noodle dishes (pad thai) and a few rice dishes.
The venue offers regulation chardonnay / merlot/sparkling wine, which we can switch out for anything their vendor carries. I don't want to raise the price excessively, I am looking for wines under $15.
I would like something that will complement the food as well as being a good choice for a broad range of people. Definitely a red, white(or 2) and a sparkling and hopefully a rose as well.
I am thinking about prosecco or cava for the sparkling- in fact I've considered doing all Spanish or all Italian.
Can anyone offer guidance?
Prosecco or cava would be dandy for your sparkler. Bubblies from France (Vouvray, Crémant de Loire, Blanquette de Limoux, etc.) and the States (Gruet) would also work.
For Thai food, your safest bet is a high-acid, low-alcohol, off-dry Riesling. Germany makes many good ones, the States (mainly upstate NY and the Pacific NW) and Australia a few.
Thai food is not particularly compatible with red wines; if red you must, look for something fruity, supple and unoaked (various Grenaches like Borsao from Spain or easy-drinkers from the Languedoc).
Thanks. I know that Reisling will be a common suggestion for a white,but I am worried about it being the only white for a large party (225+ people.) since a fair percentage of people don't really like it. I was looking for an interesting alternative that would work as well.
My initial thought to Thai food is that it doesn't pair well with red, but I was wondering if that was just my misconception. It seems that a spicy beef dish (such as a Penang curry with beef) should pair well with reds.
As an alternative to Riesling, look at Chenin Blanc, again preferably not bone dry. The best are from the Loire though the Baron Herzog and Bogle Chenins and the Pine Ridge Chenin-Viognier blend, all from California and all at your price point, are also pretty good. Some people like Sauvignon Blanc and Gewurztraminer with Thai, but I find that, while they may work with some dishes, they're not the best choice for a passe-partout wine.
As for panang curries, the coconut, chiles and spices like lemon grass present a challenge for reds, making them seem harsher and hotter than they are. (You can counter that by toning down the flavourings, by choosing wines that aren't very harsh or hot to start with and/or by serving the wines lightly chilled.) But, hey, a lot of people won't notice and others will actually like the match; the last time I was at a Thai resto, the table next to ours was enjoying Cabernet Sauvignon with a spread of seafood dishes. If you want something a little more substantial than my earlier recommendations, look to the Côtes du Rhône or Côtes du Ventoux (but stay away from Syrah-dominated wines). Perrin (and its mass market label La Vieille Ferme) make a range of widely available, affordable and quite drinkable wines from those appellations. There are also innumerable smaller producers, of course.
Do you have a list of choices available from their vendor that we could help you with?
I recently had an excellent sparkling Chenin Blanc: Chateau L'Aulee Cremant de Loire Brut NV ($15) that might work. Are you concerned that the folks on your guest list are expecting "the usual suspects" and will balk at anything "different"?
Heck, a still or sparkling Mead (Heidrun's current Orange Blossom is fantastic!) would be a fun and delicious choice or perhaps a rounder, slightly off-dry Viognier?
There is an Italian Prosecco house that make a sparkling Viognier which my family abosultely loved when I brought over for dinner last year.
I agree about the red wines being tricky as many of the lighter ones would be overpowered by the spices and many of the heavier ones might add heat to the fire.
The venue uses one of the largest wine distributers in my area. Anything they distribute, I can pick. The list is enormous and widely varied.
The guests are going to be a mix of family, my parent's friends and our co workers and friends. There will be a lot of sophisticated palates- my parents and their circle are very into restaurants, and I (as well as many of my friends) am a chef.
However, I still find that many people(especially older) have the same knee jerk bad reaction to reisling that they do to rose.
If I can offer 2 whites, problem solved.
I would normally ask the sommelier at the restaurant about this-but it is all a secret! We are eloping and so no one will know about the reception until we are actually married.
Perhaps a Gruner Veltliner for the white if so many apparently don't like off-dry German(ic) Rieslings?
If you can find a Dornfelder from Germany I would get a bottle to try with Thai food before-hand. Typically unoaked and similar to Beaujolais in body it *might* just work, though if it was me I would stick to off-dry sparklers and still Gewurtztraminers for anything of a Thai nature.
Or try to find Monsoon Valley wines from Thailand. These are the only Thai wines imported to the US at this time, but they are affordable, quite drinkable and very unique. Made by Siam Winery specifically for Thai food. But other than that, Cava or Prosecco is perfect.
Viognier would be my pick as its pretty versatile with Thai's prominent flavors. Check out this winemaker out of Sonoma specializing in wines made for Thai! www.banyanwines.com
As mentioned earlier Monsoon Valley wines would be a treat as they use an indigenous grape varietal for their red! soft and palatable, and it's a great novelty for the theme.
have fun eloping!