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Aug 7, 2013 06:00 PM

Wedding reception this Fall

I am seeking counsel on what varietal wines to serve at an outside wedding reception in October in Alabama. We will have a full bar with spirits, wine and beer. Would you serve one each red and white, two each red and white? What varietals are the crowd pleasers? Of course there will be guests with a high level of wine appreciation and some with limited knowledge and taste. I would appreciate any suggestions......thanks.

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  1. We had a similar setup at our late September 2010 wedding. We went with two each - one sweet and one dry. That way the aficionados, who generally prefer a drier wine, and the newbies, who tend to like sweet, were both satisfied. Specifically, we had a Riesling and Chardonnay and a Sweet Red and Zinfandel. Honestly, no one cares when you're footing the bill. Beer, spirits, and a limited wine selection is above and beyond what many (most?) weddings offer!

    1 Reply
    1. While I might lean toward a big Cabernet Sauvignon, it would depend on a couple of aspects:

      What are you serving?
      Any idea about price-point per bottle?
      Are you buying locally in AL?
      Aren't they an ABC state?

      For me, I would likely have two whites, and maybe a Chardonnay and a Sauvignon Blanc, then maybe a Rosé and a red, or two reds, of different weights.

      If AL is an ABC state, then one would need to view their list, as selections can be very limited.

      Good luck, and please let us know a bit more.


      5 Replies
      1. re: Bill Hunt

        Thanks, Bill. Yes, Alabama is an ABC state, but there are several very good wine stores. The price point is 15-25 I guess. The menu is southern, not totally resolved. Have discussed quail, shrimp and grits, and beef on a buffet. Pretty varied. All rich flavors. If we got two reds which varietal would you get besides SB?

        1. re: jmills

          OK, thanks for that info.

          Shrimp & Grits - Sauvignon Blanc - like a little squeeze of lemon on the shrimp. While I enjoy the NZ SB's, I would NOT go there with the food - I would think either Sancerre, or maybe a full-bodied Napa SB, from someone like Groth, or maybe Jos. Phelps.

          Quail - Pinot Noir by my palate, though the prep might bend me a bit. I would think OR, or Burgundy. Not sure what you have.

          How is the beef going to be prepared? If grilled over a smokey fire, then I have two for you - Hermitage (Northern Rhône), Côte Rôtie (again, Northern Rhône), or, outside the box, an Amarone (IT). Otherwise, many Cal-Cabs, or even Zinfandels will work.

          Price-point CAN be an issue, and especially with an ABC state.

          We visit family in MS, also an ABC state, and you should hear me swear - well, maybe you shouldn't. It is not a pretty sight, or sound.

          Good luck, and most of all congratulations!


          1. re: jmills

            Beaujolais (NOT Nouveau) and Pinot Noir are so food friendly that I'd probably choose them for the reds, menu sight-unseen.

            and perhaps American Sauvignon Blanc and WA Riesling for your whites. (Dry and Off-dry).

        2. If it's just a bar (not going to be any food with it)... then I'd probably go with riesling and soft sippable red like Valpolicella Ripassa...

          If you want a sparkler, add Moscato d'Asti...

          That's a killer combo for casual sipping: riesling, valpolicella ripassa, and moscato d'asti, what time should I be there ? :)

          1 Reply
          1. I like the Beaujolais idea, but pick a good one - like an easy drinking Chiroubles. Second red - something more substantial like a Merlot/Cab from Chile or an early drinking Zin from California..

            Whites - Chardonnay because so many peope like it and Riesling or Sauv Bl.

            If no food, one one each color wll do.