We are getting married in April 2024. We are hiring a venue and caterers. The plan is to serve lamb and hake/cod. Can you recommend the best red and white wines to pair with these that will work well as a general crowd pleaser? We would also love to hear your recommendations for sourcing the wine, eg is it worth travelling to France for same?
First of all, congratulations on your forthcoming marriage. I hope you have a great day.
Before you think about selecting a wine check with your caterers to see if they will supply ice and glasses and are happy to serve the drinks.
It can take a long time to assemble all of your guests for pre-dinner drinks, so make sure you have something to slake their thirst while waiting for the remainder to return from the church or pub or for photos to be taken. Go for something without too much alcohol. Strong drinks and empty stomachs do not make a great match.
Sparkling wine creates the right celebratory atmosphere. Champagne is good, but expensive and anyway, something less alcoholic such as buck’s fizz, mimosa or bellini, or an aperol might be a better idea. Swap the orange for cranberry juice, pomegranates, or puréed strawberries. With these cocktails, go for a prosecco, cava or crémant from France.
There are bound to be some guests who do not want to drink alcohol on the day. Make sure you have a few decent alcohol-free drinks available. You should serve plenty of water, but dress it up a little with mint, cucumber or possibly some red fruits and herbs with plenty of ice. It will look and taste so much better. In addition, think about serving a nice mocktail – something refreshing and not too sweet.
Wine – shop local
And so to the wine; you could take the booze cruise to France, and wine is certainly a lot cheaper across the Channel, especially sparkling wines. However, a ferry journey for two is not cheap and you need to be sure that you are buying something good that your guests will remember – for the right reasons.
Shopping local, in your local wine shop or branch of O’Briens should allow you to talk to someone knowledgeable and taste the wine at home before buying. You should also be able to hire glasses and be able to return any leftovers.
You need a crowd-pleasing white and red wine that will be enjoyed by all, with or without food. For both, you want fresh fruity wines, not too high in alcohol, and for the red wine, not too tannic either.
Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc is one of the most popular choices for white wine. Alternatives include a good Pinot Grigio, Albariño or Soave. It is great to see that you are serving hake, an underrated fish in my opinion. The Spanish adore it, so I would go for an Albariño from Rías Baixas from Galicia in Spain.
Classic choices for lamb include red Bordeaux, Rioja Reserva, and Chianti Classico and all of these work well. However, I would be tempted to go for a Malbec from Argentina. It would go nicely with lamb and is a real crowd-pleaser.
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