Bayonne—Planning a wedding? Filled with nervous excitement? Faced with butterflies every time you think about the table arrangements or ever-burgeoning guest list? It’s no surprise: Planning a wedding is both uniquely exciting and unimaginably stressful. You want everything to be perfect. The bride’s dress, groom’s suit, flowers, cutlery, music, food, table arrangements, transport and venue: The list of considerations seems endless.
And after putting in so much time and effort, preparing for and planning your big day, you understandably expect everything to be perfect. But things can’t be perfect without one essential, unalterable Jewish preoccupation: wine.
There is indeed no joy without wine, according to the Talmud. To make a wedding perfect, therefore, beautiful wines that satisfy the discerning palates of both guests and the happy couple are sacrosanct. They are a mandatory requirement ordained by holy scripture itself.
So how do we even begin to embark upon this most important of endeavors? How do we go about choosing the right wines for the right moments? Daunting, right?
Well, perhaps not. Not as daunting as you think, anyway. First, we need to consider how a wedding is celebrated. There may be some variations according to familial custom, but most ceremonies begin with a reception that includes platters of petits-fours and pastries.
This is the perfect time to indulge in a little—or perhaps, if you feel so inclined, a lot of—bubbly, preferably Drappier Carte Blanche or an effervescent Spanish Cava like Freixenet Excelencia. The bubbles, along with the freshly baked brioche aromas and exquisite, fruity flavours will add that heady mix of vivacious sophistication necessary to kick off the day’s celebrations in style.
After the reception, it’s time for the Chuppah, or religious ceremony. Wine is of course an essential feature. Here, to avoid unwanted accidents, it is best to use either white wine or, if you’d prefer, more of the bubbly consumed earlier. Highly recommended for its refreshing and easy-to-drink qualities, Weinstock Cellar Select Chardonnay, with its gentle twist of acidity and subtle hint of green apples and toasted almonds, is perfect for the occasion.
And then comes the time to eat, chat with old friends and, perhaps later, throw some embarrassing shapes on the dancefloor. For the wedding breakfast, it’s best to offer a selection of at least three different wines. Baron Herzog Chenin Blanc—an off-dry, pleasant white wine replete with flavors of quince jam, peaches and pineapple—is ideal for those with a slightly sweet tooth. Those guests who like dry white with their lox, however, will surely be pleased with the Goose Bay Sauvignon Blanc. With hints of gooseberries, freshly cut grass and lemon pith, its eclectic combination of flavors will satiate those looking to complement the excellent food on offer.
And for the plat de résistance, Château Les Riganes, a nice Bordeaux with a well-balanced, refined yet approachable structure, will be quite adequate. Sometimes a heavier, fuller-bodied wine is appreciated with the filet mignon or the lamb chops. Les Lauriers de Rothschild Montagne Saint-Emilion, for instance, featuring notes of raspberries, freshly turned earth, coffee, complex aromas and a silky-mouth feel, will fulfil the role and satisfy the pickiest of guests.
Finally, it comes to the best part of the evening: dessert! It is hard to resist the temptation to drink more than a glass of the Herzog Late Harvest White Riesling, with its tantalizing notes of caramelized apples, apricot jam and honeysuckle. It will pair wonderfully with profiteroles, or, alternatively, a delicious bread pudding.
Choose your wines carefully and make your day perfect! L’chaim and mazel tov!
By Gabriel Geller
Gabriel Geller is the director of public relations and client services/wine education at Royal Wine Co.