Guest Blog: Wedding Wines

Choosing wedding wines? The Graped Crusader slays any wine buff that dares stand in his way when choosing his own Wedding Wines…

It’s an age old adage that you can please some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of the time but you can’t please all of the people all of the time. I don’t know who originally said that and to be honest I wish he or she hadn’t! I don’t think anyone has ever had these words ringing quite so loudly in their ears as I did when I sat down to choose the wines for my wedding….

It’s quite a tough job picking wines for 70 people when you’ve held yourself out for years as being something of a wine buff. When you factor in having a budget around £5 per bottle it becomes something of a knee trembler! Whenever I’m looking to impress I tend to play slightly safe and head well over the £10 a bottle mark. Working at less than half of this was a challenge to say the least!

So, how on earth do you pick wines to please 70 people on such a budget? I spent hours with a pad scrawling my plans for the wine and to be honest, it took me far too long to reach the solution: I would pick the wines that myself and my fiancée enjoy drinking. Put simply my approach had to be “we’re already buying the lot of you dinner so you’ll drink what you’re told!”….. And off to Majestic in Calais I headed!

I started with the red, and given the wedding is on the 19th of November and our food is pretty rustic (breads, cheese, cured meats, lamb casserole, chicken and mushroom pie etc) I wanted something relatively bullish that would have enough personality to drink all day with our without food. I therefore decided to live life dangerously, and opted for a Ravenswood Vintners Blend Zinfandel 2007. I’ve lost count of the number of wine industry friends who told me that a Zinfandel was without question the worst wine to give to people with a meal, but this only made me all the more determined to serve it as people will be drinking all day but only for a short time with the meal. It’s not a wine that many people are familiar with and the Ravenswood is an absolute bargain at Majestic. It’s also a fun drink and I have absolutely no doubt that the guests will love it. It’s a bit of a brooding red but the dark berry flavours and slight caramel undertone make it an easy drinking red with or without hearty food.

Having gone a little left field with the red I felt I needed to reign myself in slightly with the white and therefore went for something which is almost universally guaranteed to be a crowd pleaser; Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc in the shape of the Fairhall Cliffs 2010. I tried quite a few before selecting my weapon of choice and the Fairhall Cliffs delivered very well on taste and the all important budget. It’s essentially a classic Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc which is entirely easy drinking.

Finally, I wanted to give my guests something that for some reason lots of my friends just don’t like to drink: dessert wine. I avoided the heavier dessert wines (though would have loved to serve something like Pedro Ximenez!) and went instead for the Concha Y Toro Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc 2007 from Chile. My reasons for choosing this boiled down to the fact that it’s not a massively sweet wine but it’s sweet enough to sit well with dessert.The sparkling choice was to be fair a bit of a no brainer for me. I’ve always gone for Lindauer when looking for a budget sparkler, and the Special Reserve Blanc de Blancs is fantastic at this price point. I use this wine all the time in tastings (normally against a prestige Blanc de Blancs from Champagne) and people more often than not pick out the Lindauer as being the pricey wine. I’m delighted that I got carried away and massively over ordered on fizz! We need a total of 10 bottles to cover the toasts meaning we have 26 spare…

So there you have it. The wines are chosen and in under two weeks my choices will be judged by my nearest and dearest. If I survive I’ll update you in my follow up blog…..!

Richard Saxton AKA The Graped Crusader is a wine writer / blogger who writes wine columns for Emerald Street (Stylist), Good Bottle of Wine Magazine and Browse Bullring, amongst others. His website can be found at

5 thoughts on “Guest Blog: Wedding Wines

  1. All sounds very tasty….If only I was going, I could look forward to drinking at least a bottle of each just so I can choose my favourite and report back!

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