Planning your big day is stressful enough as it is; add finding a dress, selecting a five-course menu, and choosing a wine program to the list and it’s safe to say you’re in over your head. While many people fret over the dinner and dress, it’s actually the wine list that can cause the most stress. You’re caught between the dire struggle of wanting to please an array of palates, while also making versatile selections that can pair with an array of foods. Without extensive wine knowledge, this task can seem daunting, almost impossible. But fear not — that’s why we’re here. We’ve compiled a list of go-to reds, whites, and sparklings perfect for your big day. As for the dress and food? Those are totally on you.
Disclaimer: The biggest tip that we can offer is to provide no more than one sparkling, two white, and two red options. Giving your guests too many choices can result in confusion — as well as running out of bottles of an unexpected favorite.
Sauvignon Blanc from Sancerre
Keeping a Sauvignon Blanc option on the list is a great choice because people are familiar with the grape, therefore comfortable ordering it and drinking it. It’s pretty widely understood that Sancerre produces the cleanest, purest expressions of SB in the world. These terroir-driven, mineral-rich wines are more food-friendly as well, making them perfect for cocktail hour as well as dinner.
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Chardonnay from Burgundy
Hold the phone — we’re not suggesting that you serve up a Premier Cru Chassagne Montrachet at your reception (though if your budget calls for it, send an invite our way…) However, Burgundy is brimming with affordable Chardonnay; look for a balanced Mâcon-Villages or Pouilly-Fuissé to serve. Burgundian Chardonnays are classic and refined, and with the perfect amount of oak and acidity, they work beautifully as an aperitif or a food-friendly pairing.
Gamay from Beaujolais
Choosing a Gamay-based wine from Beaujolais is a safe choice; look to one of the 10 crus for wines of higher quality. Cru Beaujolais is light enough on the palate to be consumed without food, yet also pairs well with an array of hors d’oeuvres, vegetables, and chicken-based dishes.
Yes, we know, everyone loves Pinot Noir — so why not stick with what’ll make your guests happy? While we might opt for a nerdier option with a similar body (think Cab Franc or Mencia), you don’t want your guests to feel intimidated by an unknown varietal. Upgrade your Pinot by checking out some options from less popular regions, like Marlborough or Baden (bottles will be labeled as Spatburgunder on the latter!)
Your big day only happens once, right? (We hope…) Our advice? Splurge for some true Champagne and savor this special moment! Though if true Champagne really doesn’t matter to you, we’d recommend finding a Cava Brut Reserva; this Spanish sparkler is produced in the same method as Champagne and tastes pretty similar due to the longer aging of Reservas (at a fraction of the cost!).