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Need Help -- Red Wine not Allowed at our Wedding Site

My fiancee and I are getting married this summer in a museum that unfortunately prohibits us from serving red wine because they're worried about people spilling it and staining the facility or the art. I rarely drink white wine, and since the menu choices are salmon or prime rib, I'm sure a good number of people are going to be disappointed to not have a choice of red (myself included!).

I could really use some recommendations on white wines that are the closest thing to red, especially some that could stand up to a slab of prime rib. I tried a nice bottle of Zaca Mesa Roussanne served at room temperature a few months ago that is the closest thing to red I've ever had in a white, but at around $25 a bottle, it will set me back quite a bit to serve it to a wedding of 150 or so people. We are going to buy all the wine ourselves for the caterer, so we have flexibility.

Any thoughts or help is very much appreciated.

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  1. Here's some suggestions re. pairing whites & steak.


    Given budget constraints, I'd stay away from mengathon's Krug, Haut Brion blanc proposed by sedimental, or 1955 and 1967 Château d'Yquem proposed by carswell. However, the reisling proposed by Steve_K et al. sounds reasonable.

      1. Can you have your caterer prepare a white meat (pork, veal, chicken) instead of prime rib?

        1. Helpful suggestions. We can't do rose either, just white, and I think we are set on serving the prime rib.

          1 Reply
          1. re: DC Wine Fan

            «we are set on serving the prime rib»

            Then I think you should reconcile yourself to two likely outcomes:

            - you probably aren't going to find anything approaching a satisfactory pairing for the beef (all of the wines recommended in the thread RicRios helpfully links to are more expensive -- often much more expensive -- than your apparent budget);

            - a number of your guests are going to be disappointed (to say the least) at not having access to a red wine, are going to feel deprived of a satisfactory accompaniment to their beef. Some are even going to resent being forced to drink white wine (amazingly, a surprisingly large percentage of wine drinkers dismiss or even detest whites).

            My recco would be to get the biggest, richest, toastiest sparkler you can afford -- a poor man's Bollinger, if such a thing exists -- and serve it and only it throughout the event, from the toasting of the bride and groom through dinner and beyond. If there's a wine that goes with everything, Champagne (and to a lesser or greater degree its imitators) is it. And by buying in quantity, you might be able to secure the kind of discount that will enable you to serve a white wine that has a fighting chance against a bloody prime rib.

          2. Sounds tricky: A museum setting where you can't have red wine. A caterer who offers two entrees, salmon and prime rib, both of which are red wine entrees. Guests who will be disappointed with no red wine.

            I agree that expensive, aged champagne will go well with roast fowl, pork and veal chops, but both the wine and meal will cost you dearly.

            Perhaps you can have a Champagne toast and hor d'oeurves inside the museum, then move the dinner into a heated tent on the grounds. Or, you may wish to admit that the Emperor is wearing no clothes -- the museum is an untenable option -- and begin afresh with new venue options.

            1. Regarding the prime rib the tent Idea might just be the way to go if they have the space. Since your getting married in the summer depending on the local I do not think heating will be needed. I think maria lorraine maybe was sipping a bit. With the Salmon try Chardonny from Catana Zapata from Argentina or Casa Lapostolle Cuvee Alexandre Chard from Chile I think either would be lovely.

              1 Reply
              1. re: wineman3

                re: sipping a bit...Where I live, big party tents usually have heaters. Even though it's summer, the evenings can get chilly, especially if you're wearing a skimpy party dress!

              2. You've got to balance your choices regarding setting and wine. But IMO the mere fact that you can have the dinner in a (presumably very cool) museum trumps the wine issue. You could serve water and it would still be a memorable event.

                So limit your expectations, wine-wise. You're not going to have a perfect pairing. Who cares?

                That said, bubbly goes with everything. If you don't like $25 a bottle, Champagne is probably not an option. But there are plenty of solid American sparklers, French Cremants, and Spanish Cavas that could fit the bill nicely.

                If you want the meal to be all about the wine pairings, have it in a bunker and igonore the art. But your priorites appear to be elsewhere. More power to you.

                Pour a serviceable wine. Only the ingrates will complain, and there's no shame in ignoring them.

                1. Champagne, like diamonds, goes with everything. ;-D

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Sharuf

                    Yep, Champagne for sure. I like the suggestion of something toasty for the steak, would go with something more citrusy for the salmon.

                    1. re: craig_g

                      Champagne could be very fun all the way through -- from light to aged and toasty, but the caterer would really have to step up his game with more menu options all the way.

                  2. I'm with the fans of "stick with the museum and go with champagne." A better bargain in a sparkler is a Cava from Spain. We've had a couple of good ones that weren't too expensive.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: shaogo

                      I second that suggestion. I have had some Cava that has been very comparable to Champagne in quality, though the taste is certainly different, at a fraction of the cost.

                      1. re: Tripeler

                        Try Cremant from Burgundy it will blow Cavas out of the water.

                    2. Gruet sparkler from NM. $15 IMHO, anyone who is sulky when offered delicious bubbly is a grump. Champagne, whether the real stuff of just champagne within quotes says festive celebration.

                      1. Well, it sounds like you've made your bed.

                        There are a lot of talented, knowledgeable folks here who have suggested you change at least one variable...

                        So if you are inflexible, then work with your caterer on beer, spirits and NABs - lots of nice options outside of wine.

                        3 Replies
                        1. Please do NOT choose Cava from Spain............I love Spanish red but a Cremant from Burgundy is such a better choice than any Cava. To me 95% of all Cavas taste like soap. I have tasted Cavas up to 100 dollars and they just are not even close price value to Cremant.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: wineman3

                            I love Cremants. Not just Cremant de Bourgogne, but Cremant de Loire, Cremant d'Alsace, and others. But there's a place for Cavas, too. You may not enjoy them, but others do. And let's not forget the Astis from Italy (including some interesting Proseccos), and all the wonderful sparklers from the New World. California has more than its fair share, Oregon has some great examples, Washington's in the game, and we can't forget Gruet, New Mexico's worthy contribution, as mentioned by Danna above.

                            To the OP - here's a plan. Get the bride and groom and a handful of friends together and taste a dozen or more sparkling wines to decide what to serve at the wedding. Pick a wide variety, and enjoy them all (except, of course, the one's you don't). I can't think of a better way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

                            1. re: alanbarnes

                              Sorry to resus a dead thread – but I’m not often on the wine board, and I’m wedding planning right now so this is right up my alley.

                              To the OP: Sparkling wine gets my vote. I agree that bubbles can handle almost anything. This weekend I had a cava with homemade hamburgers which was un... wait for it... believable.

                              To wineman3 and Alan Barnes: I love both... Crémants are fantastic and I think its fair to say that some pretty refined palates would mistake a good Crémant for champers. However – if I had a twenty dollar bill... I would totes McGoats go for Cava. Better value at that kind of price point.

                          2. A marzen beer or a brown ale might pair well with the salmon.
                            The prime rib is more problematic.

                            1. Wow. What a strange thread and, I suppose, and interesting challenge to speculate about.

                              I think what needs to be said here is you have a problem and finding the right white wine for your given meal may not be the solution.

                              Change venue, or talk to the venue about changing policy. Offer a deposit or sign responsibility for damages. Or change your menu.