Wedding wines by Jane Clare – Part 1: The Bubbles

Wedding wines. Ah, where to begin! You’re all excited about getting married and then you realise you have so much to plan. There’s the dress to choose and the small matter of cajoling the groom into wearing a suit even though he hasn’t worn one for years. Then you start to think about colour schemes, flowers, seating plans and food and drink.
Confusion kicks in before you’ve even set the date.
Relax. Don’t worry. I might not be able to help you with Auntie Bessie sitting next to cousin Tommy, but at least I can give you some thoughts about which wines to choose for your wedding.
Let’s explore some wedding wine ideas.

A special Champagne to celebrate popping the question

Picture the moment. The question “will you marry me” has been asked, the answer has been “yes” and now it’s time to open some bubbles.
A perfect celebration wine is Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve (£35) and wow, this is a special wine. The style of this award-winning champagne, made from reserve vintages of traditionally aged wine, gets a big mmmmmmmm from me. It has amazing aromas of brioche and apples, as if they’ve been baked in a tarte tatin and are now unctuous and caramelised. There’s a lift of acidity together with citrus flavours and hints of apricot and honey. Share this wine with your prospective in-laws if you must, but I suggest you find a romantic setting and sip it with the love of your life as a perfect way to toast your new beginnings.

 A girls’ night in planning the wedding day (and the hen night)

There’s just got to be a girlie gathering once the wedding has been announced. I don’t mean the hen night, oh no, I mean the giggly bit where everybody is excited. The bridesmaids have been chosen and now the bride wants to talk shoes – colour themes – dresses  – and yes, perhaps planning the hen event too.
A refreshing pink and a perky prosecco are perfect to share as mums, bridesmaids and the bride-to-be plan ahead with pizza, patience, notepads and pens.
Prosecco Spumante Extra Dry Vallate (£9.95) is as eager to get into the wedding vibe as everybody else. This prosecco is giddily overladen with bubbles and as it is extra dry it won’t make your tastebuds wearisome. Its flavours of melon and citrus with hints of creaminess will be a winner at any girlie night.
Pasquiers Grenache Cinsault Rosé is a great value pink (£6.95) with aromas of strawberries and cream which float above the glass; but don’t be fooled by its blushing pale pink bashfulness. The wine is made from grenache and cinsault grapes and so it also has a peppery tease in the mouth which follows the creamy fruit flavours.

A fizz for the bride on her Wedding Day morning

English sparkling wine will bring a moment of British elegance at the beginning of a crazy but memorable day. The grapes used in Hambledon Classic Cuvée (£28) – chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot meunier – are the same as used in Champagne blends and the Hampshire vineyards sit on the same chalky band as those across the Channel in the Champagne region.
This wine has classic aromas of buttery pastry, freshly-cooked bread, apples and citrus and it’s one not to be rushed. If you’re the bride, take a sip, and together with deep breaths, gather your thoughts, enjoy a moment of reflection and cherish the calm before the storm.
This wine would be perfect with a wedding day brunch of smoked salmon and scrambled eggs – if you can find someone who has time to cook it.

A fizz for the wedding day drinks reception and the toasts

More fizz? Well yes, of course!! We’ve had prosecco and its simple, celebratory style; we’ve had the elegance of an English wine and the complexity of a carefully crafted traditional champagne.
Now to the guests and a fizz to serve at the welcome reception and to toast the speeches.
Crémant is a perfect choice. It is a French sparkling wine style made in exactly the same way as champagne but without the champagne prices. Which is ideal when you’re catering for larger numbers.
Yes of course you could opt for prosecco, but crémant reaches the “oooo-aaah, that’s so tasty and feels so expensive” parts that prosecco just can’t reach.
Langlois Brut Crémant (£13.50) is a crémant from the Loire Valley and has a great pedigree as it is owned by Champagne Bollinger. The wine shows aromas and flavours of crisp, freshly sliced green apples,with wispy waves of blossom and springtime orchards. It is complex and zesty without being overpowering, so will suit guests who want a little bit more depth to their glass of fizz, but it won’t put off those who prefer lighter, simpler styles of bubbles.
I love crémant. It’s my sparkling wine of choice.
If you are planning or helping someone to plan their wedding watch this blog for the next two weeks when we will be publishing Part 2: How to work out the amount of wine for your wedding guests and Part 3: Which red and white wines to serve at your wedding meal
Jane Clare is a wine columnist, blogger and member of the Circle of Wine Writers. Find her as One Foot in the Grapes on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.