Ray Isle (@islewine on Twitter) is Food & Wine's executive wine editor. We trust his every cork pop and decant – and the man can sniff out a bargain to boot. Take it away, Ray.
June is back on top. After dropping to second place (after September) in 2011, it is once again the most popular month for weddings. What surprises me, though, is that it’s not the most popular month for bankruptcies, given the average cost of a wedding these days is about $28,000. Love conquers all, it seems, even one’s bank account.
But the fact that you’re blowing nearly thirty grand on your nuptials doesn’t mean that you have to spend the bulk of it on wine. In fact, there are some terrific wine values out there that will please even the most critical of guests. Possibly even your new mother-in-law, though that might be asking too much.
One approach to choosing wedding reception wines that will add some fun to the process is to do a casual taste-off with your spouse-to-be. Find three or four whites and three or four reds that you think are good possibilities, then open them all and taste them together—that way you’ll end up with choices that you both like. (Some venues require you to use wines on their list; ask them for some samples, or find the same bottles in a nearby store using a site such as wine-searcher.com.)
Also, keep in mind that you’re choosing wines for a very broad range of people, everyone from your best friend to your weird uncle Morton (or whomever). You yourself may love bizarre organic wines from Slovenia, but a wedding is one instance where you might want to head toward choices that are a touch more familiar. Here, for example, are a few great values that would be ideal wedding reception pours.
2012 Acrobat Pinot Gris ($12)
2011 Louis Jadot Mâcon-Villages ($15)
2010 Columbia Crest H3 Horse Heaven Hills Cabernet Sauvignon ($15)
2010 Louis Martini Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon ($18)
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