Summer’s wine anthem may very well be rosé all day, but there are still plenty of other worthy candidates to consider for your nuptials this season, in addition to the blush bottles. Yet with so many overwhelming options to choose from, just how does one narrow down the grapes? Tim Wallace, Head Sommelier for Stowe Mountain Lodge, has a few tried-and-tested tips. “Choose what you like instead of creating a list based on your family members’ preferences, have a budget in mind that you can spend (and then plan to spend a lot more on alcohol), and by all means set aside a few special bottles like the Chablis you had on your first date, or the Grand Cru Burgundy from your trip to France just for your table since it’s your party,” he says. Since you’ll need a selection of vinos suitable for your guests regardless, here’s what’s drinking well right now.
"Generally speaking, Champagne proper rarely fits in the wedding budget, which is why most couples opt for Cava or Prosecco. However, some especially wine savvy guests will be able to taste the difference in quality. For this reason, I'm a big fan of Crémant de Bourgogne for your toasts, as well as to enjoy all night,” says Hillary Zio, a sommelier and wine educator. “Crémant de Bourgogne is made in the same style as Champagne, unlike Prosecco. The only difference is that it comes from about 300km south. They even use two of the same grapes, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, along with Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris.”
Above: 2015 Dominique Gruhier Crémant de Bourgogne Extra Brut
“This Crémant de Bourgogne is very dry and slightly mineral with notes of wet stone and crushed shells. It has a hint of green apples and Meyer lemon, but for the most part it's not very fruity. I've found that fruit-driven sparkling wines can be a miss among a lot of people. Neutral, crisp, refreshing and affordable bubbly is the way to go for a wedding," Zio adds.
SHOP NOW: Flatiron Wines & Spirits, $21.99
Broc Cellars Chenin Blanc Petillant Wine
When it comes to sparkling wines, what’s old is new again, according to Wallace. “Petillant-Naturel (or Pet-nats in the wine world) is one of the oldest methods of winemaking and these natural wines tend to be cloudy and delicious, with bright flavors perfect for toasting.”
SHOP NOW: Broc Cellars, $32
Eric Rodez Rosé Champagne Blend NV
“Eric Rodez is a producer to seek out for a summer wedding since his rosé Champagne is certified biodynamic and produced entirely from Pinot Noir from Ambonnay, one of the greatest grand cru sites in the region,” explains Aquavit Sommelier Nick Valenta. “This wine is fresh and vibrant and epitomizes everything that’s great about the new wave of producers that are turning the tide in France.”
SHOP NOW: Shop Banquet, $66
Gran Moraine Rosé of Pinot Noir
Oregon’s Willamette Valley is known for many things (and creating many wines), but their Rosé of Pinot Noir is so smooth it could easily pass for a South of France top contender. Let’s just put it this way: Notes of Chinese gooseberry, Asian pear, and honeysuckle nectar are going to make your partygoers’ palates extremely happy.
SHOP NOW: Gran Moraine, $28
Diving Into Hampton Water
Everyone loves the pink, which is why in the summertime it runs like water, especially in beach towns like the Hamptons. This new rosé (that happens to be produced by Jon Bon Jovi, his son, and iconic French winemaker Gerard Bertrand) is a flawless blend of Grenache, Cinsault, Mourvèdre and Syrah hand-picked grapes and you can’t argue that the bottle and glass cork are très chic and very wedding appropriate.
SHOP NOW: Wine.com, 24.95
Kendall-Jackson Vintner’s Reserve Rosé
Kendall-Jackson’s newest 2017 Vintner’s Reserve Rosé will pair well with fruit and veggie-driven appetizers and salads, or a cocktail or dessert hour cheese course, given its food-friendly quality, but it might also be a good idea to have some on hand to appease the KJ fans in the fam. Regardless of Wallace’s rules, we all know those diehard loyalists.
SHOP NOW: Wine.com, $19.99
Tank Garage Post Disco
Grüner Veltliner is always well-received at warm weather soirées, so a couple cases of hipster Napa Valley producer Tank Garage’s “Post Disco” white is a smart move behind the bar. Described as “ridiculously, maybe even dangerously, quaffable”—thanks to hints of jasmine, cracked white pepper, and fresh key lime—it’s a wine that will certainly get noticed (just not as much as your dress).
SHOP NOW: Tank Garage, $30
Auteur Sonoma Coast Chardonnay
As a small boutique Sonoma Valley wine producer, the couple to be shows they’re “in the know” amongst wine collectors, as these wines are unique and continue to receive top merits from all the critics. This specific Chard is “delicately crafted and walks the tight rope of being a lovely rich and full-bodied California Chardonnay yet balanced with the expressive mineral edge of a French Burgundy. It pleases all crowds—your Aunt that loves an oakier Chardonnay will be a fair match as will your husband’s Aunt that raves about Chablis,” says AUTEUR Wines proprietors and winemaker Laura and Kenneth Juhasz.
SHOP NOW: Grapes Wine, $34.99
Lieu Dit Sauvignon Blanc
According to Wallace, winemakers Eric Railsback and Justin Willett moved to Santa Barbara after years of dreaming about creating their own wines and their Lieu Dit masterpiece is as balanced as Sauvignon Blanc gets. “Its beautiful acidity will enhance just about anything on the menu, and whether you’re having a quick bite of your entrée or you’re on your 12th trip to the dance floor, this is an all-night wine,” he says.
SHOP NOW: Lieu Dit, $25
2016 Arnot-Roberts Falanghina "Handal-Denier Vineyard" Dry Creek
“Falanghina is a slightly floral, very approachable white grape, originally from Italy's Campania region. Arnot-Roberts produces this one in Sonoma Valley, so it has a bit more weight than the Italian version,” says Zio. “It has ripe peaches and daffodils on the nose, and pairs perfect with fish."
SHOP NOW: Kogod Wine Merchant, $32
2015 Meiomi Chardonnay
If you’re looking for a crowd-pleaser, this well-known white is one to consider for the big day. It’s described as smooth, with hints of pineapple, lemon peel, honey, almonds, baking spices, and custard notes.
SHOP NOW: Grapes Wine, was $21, now $15.99
2016 Roc des Anges L'Effet Papillon Rouge
“From France's Cotes-du-Rhone, this is a blend of Carignan, Grenache and Syrah. It's basically the middle of the road in terms of body, tannin, alcohol and acidity, so pretty difficult to hate,” says Zio. “There's a lot of red fruit up front on this one, with just a touch of cocoa and black pepper. You can't go wrong choosing a ‘middle ground’ red like this that's sure to please the masses at a wedding.”
SHOP NOW: Convive Wines, $15
Bodega Garzón Balasto
This wine makes for a nice treat for just you and your wedding court, or to serve for your VIP crew at the rehearsal dinner. If you do want to splurge and your reception involves any sort of outdoor grilling (or even a gamey or carnivore-centric meat dish), Garzon’s Tannat is what you want to have on hand. “Its fruit and body perfectly complement char, while bringing some serious juiciness to balance out the leanness,” says Valenta.
SHOP NOW: Bounty Hunter Wine, $119.95
Dirty & Rowdy “Unfamiliar” Mourvedre
“This is the wine you want to drink to prove to your friends and family that you’re the most fun person at your own wedding—just look at that label,” says Wallace. Not only will it have everyone asking what it is, but it’s bright and light (not over powering) and definitely a glass of red that people will keep going back for.
SHOP NOW: Dirty & Rowdy, $23
Odette Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
Odette Estate’s Cabernet Sauvignon from the Stags Leap District is only their fourth vintage produced and has received 100-point scores from famed wine critic Robert Parker, so if you have some serious cab drinkers in your group, this is the vino to crack open with them. It’s decadent and rich, and has dark fruits galore (like sweet black raspberries, cherries, and currants) so obviously it’s one to let breathe and enjoy during the main course well into cake time.
SHOP NOW: Grapes Wine, $129.99