A memorable wedding is the product of dozens of little details, each one impacting your guests in a different way. For one person, the flowers at each table might be that detail. For another, the trim on the bride’s dress. Everyone who attends will link the event with a few little things that impressed or surprised them.
One of those small details is wine. Generally, at a formal event like a wedding, wine is served with dinner. And for most of us, choosing a wine that several hundred people will enjoy isn’t part of our skillset.
The wine subscription service Firstleaf has put together a very helpful guide for couples: How to Choose the Perfect Wedding Wine.
The unique flavor profile of a glass of wine can alter how food tastes, and vice versa. That’s why choosing the right wine is so important — the wrong one can ruin the flavor of the food.
For example: There’s a reason we don’t dump maple syrup over steak. The sticky sweetness of syrup would detract from the savory punch we want from red meat.
Likewise, a sweet, syrupy wine would clash with the flavor of a hearty wedding entrée, like prime rib.
Firstleaf’s guide has pairing suggestions for popular wedding entrees to help you out.
If you don’t see your chosen entree, never fear. The guide contains an introduction to the concept of geographic pairing, the most popular pairing technique.
The idea behind geographic pairing is that each type of wine originally developed in a certain location, and took on the flavors and properties it has to match with the food available in that place.
Wines from coastal regions tend to be on the lighter side, the better to pair with light flavored foods like fish. Wines from inland areas, where sheep and cattle were raised, tend to be heartier.
So, if your wedding dinner Italian-style entrée, consider choosing a wine from Italy, or a wine varietal originally developed in Italy.
Serving a Wine That’s Meaningful to You
Some couples want to choose a wine from a specific place. It could be a region where they’ve visited or that relates to their heritage, or maybe from a winery they visited on a Tennessee wine trail tour. Or maybe they just want to buy local.
If you have a specific winery in mind, Firstleaf recommends that you pick the varietal or varietals first, then choose your entrée. The reason is that many wineries and regions specialize in particular types of wine. To showcase their best, you’ll want a food that can match.
When placing your order, talk to the winemaker or wineseller about good food pairings. You can even have them connect with your caterer to talk about different options. The right pairing can make for a sublime tasting experience for your guests.