Choosing a Wedding Wine – hard work!

Ok so one of the pleasures of having a wedding in Bordeaux has to be the Red wine, but lets take a look at all aspects of the wine choice for your day….

Before we get started we will take out the high end wines, so anything costing over 15€ we will consider as being too expensive, not forgetting that here at Chateau Lagorce there is no corkage…. so 14€ spent on wine is 14€ in the bottle.

1) Sparkling wine for the reception after the Wedding / toasts

I’ll start in reverse on this one, and say if you go for a high priced Champagne, and if you are going to have toasts after the main, then I’d suggest a budget wine. There are 2 main reasons for this 1) most of the toasting wine is left on the table and thrown away, 2) with the best will in the world after a champagne reception and meal served with appropriate wines 99% of your guests will not know the difference between a good and ok champagne.

For the champagne reception I would go for a good quality well presented Champagne, you are not presenting anyone with the bottle, so it is more important what is in the bottle than where the bottle is from. In-fact the wine I’d suggest is actually produced just across the road from Chateau Lagorce – Anna Lagorce Cremant de Bordeaux, it is exquisitely presented in a unique bottle, under the method traditional Champanoise.

2) White wine

If you are eating an entree of fish then most of your guests would prefer to drink a dry white rather than a red or rose. Obviously you have the cliche of a Chablis (as Bordeaux is for red), but did you know that Bordeaux produces some great Sauvignons? In particular, once again excluding an expensive white (I class 7/8 € upwards as an expensive wedding white) I know of a great Bordeaux Sauvignon again within 1km of the chateau – Chateau Peneau II Sauvignons – recent winner of ‘coup de coeur’ of Guide Hachette, chosen first over around 100000 other Bordeaux whites with regards quality price ratio, so at 3.50€ you are getting a great white wine. I can tell you one of the secrets behind this great white wine – Sauvignon Gris, most white wines from Bordeaux have Sauvignon blanc and Semillion, but this Sauvignon Gris really does enhance the quality of the wine. Most viticulteurs in Bordeaux do not plant Sauvignon Gris as it does not have a long life, hence costs a little more, but the benefits really outweigh the cost.

3) Rose or Clairet

Depending on what you have on the menu / who you have invited to your wedding, rose wine may or may not be on the menu. If you are going for a rose then once again you have the choice of near or far…. far possibly being Provence, but near starts getting a little more complicated. Yes Bordeaux produces rose wines as well as white and red! But there is another wine rare outside France – Bordeaux Claret, some of you may have heard of Claret before and think “what is he talking about? Claret is a red wine”, Claret is in-fact a dark rose, and next to a Bordeaux rose you really would not notice much difference. There is however a difference in the processes, and if you were to taste a Claret next to a Rose from the same chateau then you would spot the difference straight away, a claret is more robust and almost heading towards a chilled red wine. Not going into too much detail about the process of producing a claret ‘you take the lighter wine off the top of a red wine tank‘. Starting mid 2011 Danny Douence of Chateau Peneau will be producing both rose and Claret, so any of you getting married this year should be able to taste the 2 wines, and see which one you prefer. Being a lover of red wine I shall head towards a Claret rather than rose, but this is wine, everyone has their own preferences.

4) The Red

With literally millions of wineries in Bordeaux you should find at least 1 or 2 wines you like, although you will not find Shiraz(or Syrah) etc you will find arguably the best blend of grapes in the world – Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc (along with a few other rarer grape varieties). as a very good friend of mine states “Its all about Merlot”. If you are looking for an older wine you need to pay for the age of the wine,so you need to add at least 2€ per year, so you will be looking at around 10-14 euros for a good wine of 5 or 6 years. Alternatively if you are looking for a younger wine then you need to make sure it is drinkable young, hence I’d suggest sticking with the Right bank (anywhere from Bordeaux to St Emilion and beyond), the problem with the Left bank (anywhere to the north west of Bordeaux, but not on the right hand side of the gironde estuary) is when they are young there is too much Cabernet Sauvignon / the wines are too oak-ed to drink. The heavy left bank wines need a few years to age before they are ready to drink. There is not much point noting any red wines, as everyone’s tastes are different and everyone has a different budget, one thing I will say there is a certain charm having the wine of the Chateau where you are getting married at, this is why I would say 75% of our clients choose Chateau Lagorce wines. One last very important point on red wines is that the same chateau can produce completely different wines from year to year, and although we can say recently that 2005, 2006, 2009 and 2010 have been exceptional years it is also worth noting that 2007 was a washout and certainly a year to stay clear of (I have tried lots of different chateau, and the wines produced are never as good as the years either side).

If you need any help with wines for your wedding at Chateau Lagorce do not hesitate to contact me for a few suggestions.

Edward Holmes

Chateau Lagorce

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