Photo: Courtesy of Kim Crawford, Tormaresca Neprica, Wolffer Estate, Domaine de Saint Peyre, Sean Minor, Joel Gott, Francis Ford Coppola, Laetitia Estate, and Clayhouse
While you're in the midst of brainstorming signature cocktail ideas, don't forget to think about what types of wine you plan to serve during cocktail hour and the reception. When it comes to wedding-day wine, the key is to find a delicious option that won't break the bank since you'll need quite a few bottles to keep your guests' glasses full. Surprisingly, there are several affordable blends that don't sacrifice quality. From red and white to rosé, we did some research on the best wines under $20 that both you and your guests will love on your big night. Your friends and family will never guess the bargain you got! (Bonus idea: Personalize each bottle with a custom label that matches your décor.)
1. Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc, $14
This buoyant wine is chock full of fruity sweetness and succulent citrus, with a crisp, and long-lasting finish. It pairs great with seafood like lobster and fresh oysters, as well as with light summer salads.
2. 2011 Tormaresca Neprica Puglia, Italy, $8-$12
This is a steal by the bottle, as restaurants charge much more for it on their menus. It features a blend of Negroamaro, Primitivo, and Cabernet Sauvignon, and the perfect balance of fruit and tannin. It pairs well with a wide selection of foods. "Our customers buy this wine for parties frequently and then come back for more," says Heather Tarter of Main Street Wine and Gourmet in Orleans, MA.
3. Wolffer Estate 2013 Rosé, $17
This sweet rosé is filled with vibrant fruity notes, like apple, kiwi, cantaloupe, and mint — an ideal blend for a summer wedding. Since it pairs well with hors d'oeurves like shrimp and soft cheese, this is ideal for cocktail hour.
4. Domaine de Saint Peyre Picpoul de Pinet, $10
This wine takes us to the Languedoc region in the south of France where the small village of Pinet is located. "It will please most Sauvignon Blanc drinkers as well as up the ante a bit for any Pinot Grigio drinker, says Tarter. It also sells by the case all year long, so it will be available for your wedding — no matter the month.
5. Sean Minor Vin Gris Rosé Carneros California, $13
This Pinot Noir is from California and has a bit less strawberry fruit than a typical Provence or Rhone Rosé. Tarter considers this one of her personal favorites. Of the subtly earthy wine she says, "I love Rosé made of Pinot Noir, often called vin gris. I find that many red wine drinkers prefer Pinot Noir Rosé for its flavor profile."
6. 2011 Joel Gott California Zinfandel, $15
Hints of sweet spices and aromas of blackberry jam and roasted plum complete this California Zinfandel. It has a soft feel, long finish, and a bit of acidity to go along with its red fruit flavors.
7. Francis Ford Coppola Sofia Rosé, $19
Named after the world-renowned filmmaker and winemaker's daughter, this wine has a beguiling aroma of pomegranate, raspberries, wild flowers, and bergamot, all served up in a beautiful bottle. It is bright on the palate, pairs well with a variety of foods, and would look picture-perfect on reception tables.
8. 2012 Laetitia Estate Chardonnay, $18
Tart green apple and dried honeycomb come together in this Chardonnay for those who like fruitier wines. Notes of hazelnut sweet cream, hard lemon candy, and spicy anise round out its multitude of layers. The brand suggests drinking it with prosciutto wrapped melon for an sophisticated, yet yummy treat.
9. Clayhouse Adobe Red Paso Robles, California, $15
A bevy of grapes is included in this excellent, affordable wine. Tarter often directs her customers to this blend when they are looking to serve a large group of people as it "blends equal balance, so when looking for a crowd pleaser, it is all about the blend."