Wine is a pretty special part of all of your wedding parties: It's perfect for all of the celebratory toasts and contributes to the fun everyone will be having from the moment you get engaged. There are thousands of wines to choose from, so where do you start? And when you've settled on some that you like, will they make the most sense for your rehearsal dinner or reception, and what foods will go best with them? To answer these questions and more, we tapped the expert advise of Wölffer Estate Vineyard winemaker, Roman Roth.
"The engagement party is the first celebration of your love and sets the tone for things to come," says Roth. "You should opt for a sparkling rosé, as it is a wine that pairs with a wide range of foods. Sparkling wines are festive and add a touch of elegance to any affair and rosé's pink color screams love. I recommend pairing it with smoked salmon, a raw bar, or cheeses— all perfect for a fête without a formal dinner."
Your bridal shower is the perfect time to show off your taste, whether it be traditional and refined or modern with a pop of color. For the momentous occasion, Roth suggests, "a sophisticated and interesting white wine." He continues, "Keep it classy with a light, elegant white that pairs easily with food. Riesling is a great match for Asian fare and rich dishes, while Trebbiano, Pinot Blanc or Gris go well with fresh shellfish and dressed green salads."
Fun is paramount on this special night, but despite traditions, you should definitely keep your alcohol intake to a reasonable level. "Sparkling dry cider is perfect for the occasion," says Roth. "Cider is rising in popularity. It is lighter in alcohol than wine and comes in a variety of styles. Look for an elegant, effervescent cider that sets a festive mood and pairs well with hors d'oeuvres. You can even step things up with an interesting cider cocktail! It goes well with finger foods like deviled eggs, shrimp cocktail, cheeses, and charcuterie."
"This celebration sets the stage for the way you want to celebrate your wedding," says Roth. "Choose a classic red wine that's versatile and smooth on the palate. Merlot is a good choice for a wide range of foods. Food-friendly styles with good acidity, round tannins, and low alcohol can pair nicely with everything including earthy truffle and mushroom dishes, pasta, and grilled steaks. Select noteworthy vintages for bright fruit and good structure, and local wines to connect your happy event to the place where you're celebrating. For example, merlot is the signature grape of the Long Island wine region."
"After your big day, you definitely want to wake up in style as a newly-minted bride," states Roth. "Sparkling wine is such a celebratory beverage on its own, so opt for drinks like Mimosas, Kir Royales or Bellinis. Plus, bubbly pairs nicely with nearly any food."