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7:00am Saturday 28th April 2012 in NewsXtra
Fancy a drink? Our drinks columnist Sam Wylie-Harris pops the cork on wedding day wines.
By Sam Wylie-Harris.
Wines for the weddig season.
Beyond the ivory silk tulle, bouquet, rings and honeymoon, it's not surprising so many busy brides-to-be start to stress over the amount of decision-making ahead of their big day.
Formal or informal, intimate or extravagant, after the venue has been booked and the wedding breakfast chosen, deciding which wine and champagne to serve can often be an after-thought with all the excitement of getting hitched.
So depending on the size of your wedding fund and the number of guests and corkage fee, here are some reasonably priced suggestions that chime with the occasion and have lasting appeal long after the best man's speech.
Fairytale weddings don't come cheap, but that doesn't mean brides on a budget can't serve a supermarket sparkler such as The Co-operative Prosecco NV, Italy (£5.99 from £8.99, until May 1, The Co-op). Fashionable, fun, and the fizz of the moment, ask the waiting staff to tie a white napkin around the base of the bottle (for amateur wine snobs), and let the honeyed notes of apples and pears shine through.
For A-list receptions and a taste of la dolce vita, the trendy label on Collalbrigo Brut NV, Italy (£9.95, www.fromvineyardsdirect.com) will complement a contemporary table setting. Sourced by the famous Cipriani dynasty (founders of Harry's Bar and Hotel Cipriani in Venice), this delicious prosecco is the closest thing to sitting on a terrace overlooking the Grand Canal. But for country weddings, why not serve it with fresh peach puree for the perfect Bellini to sip on a manicured lawn.
Unless you were born with a silver spoon in your mouth, champagne receptions on a grand scale remain out of reach for most newlyweds. However, cremant sparkling wine from the beautiful Loire Valley is a luxurious alternative, especially when the producer is partially owned by Bollinger.
From the picturesque city of Saumur, try Langlois Chateau Cremant de Loire, France (£13.94, www.graysandfeather.com), which is not only dressed with a platinum label but blessed with good taste. A traditional method sparkler, it's chenin blanc dominant and spends a minimum of two years on its lees. Lively with toasted brioche notes giving way to grapefruit with hints of lemon sherbet on the creamy finish, these fine bubbles suit wedding toasts.
To cater for the main event, whether it's a sit-down or buffet, still wines need to be food friendly and have wide appeal to grace the table. For guests tucking into light bites and seafood appetisers, try the aptly named La Chapelle White 2009, Cotes de Gascogne, France (£6.95, www.fromvineyardsdirect.com). A chardonnay and sauvignon-based wine, it's a lively fruit salad of peachy fruit with lifted gooseberry, white flowers on the nose and good acidity on the lemony finish - a super trouper for larger parties.
For smaller gatherings, you can't go wrong with a good pinot grigio to please the nearest and dearest. From a reliable Kiwi producer, Villa Maria's portfolio of quality wines includes this crisp and refreshing Villa Maria Private Bin Pinot Grigio 2011, NZ (£8.99, Waitrose). An excellent food-friendly white, the delicate lemon, apricot and lime flavours have plenty of zest with a tangy, floral finish for lasting appeal.
With several hours of wedding celebrations, red wine lovers should try to opt for a light to medium-bodied wine that won't dull the tastebuds and will last the course.
For cab sav fans thirsty for a lip-smacking red that's not too dry or tannic, this little gem from Languedoc-Roussillon in the South of France is a top drop. Try Cabernet Sauvignon, Domaine de Saissac 2010 (£7.75, www.corneyandbarrow.com), which is a gorgeous dark garnet red with baked red fruits and delicate blackberry flavours, soft tannins and a hint of peppery spice on the silky finish.
And the best gamay goes to... Louis Jadot is synonymous with trophy wines from Burgundy, and its estates in Beaujolais produce deliciously fresh and fruity styles such as Louis Jadot Beaujolais Village Combe aux Jacques 2010 (£9.49, Waitrose). Made from 100% gamay, this gold medal-winning red can be served chilled at outdoor summer weddings, partners well with white and red meats (as well as a cheese board), and the light cherrylicious flavours can also be enjoyed with the fruits of a traditional wedding cake.
Best buy Not on the high street... For the hedonist in the cellar, Eminent Wines (www.eminentwines.com) offers flights of fancy to distinguished wineries across Europe, and specialises in sourcing prize bottles such as this super Tuscan, Tenuta dell'Ornellaia Le Serre Nuove 2009, Bolgheri, Italy (£45, order line 020 7419 5058) - a Bordeaux-style blend that's the bees knees and ready to drink now.
LIiquid news In honour of the most famous passenger ship of all time, Berry Bros & Rudd has released a limited edition single cask malt whisky to commemorate the centenary of the sinking of RMS Titanic. A limited edition 100 bottles of Glenrothes 13 Year Old Single Cask from Speyside (£100, 70cl, www.bbr.com) will be released with individually numbered replica labels from the early 1900s. Berry Bros & Rudd had 69 cases of wines and whiskies on board the Titanic, with 10 bottles of Berrys' Best malt whisky destined for a client at the British Embassy in Washington. For more information, visit www.bbr.com