The Right Champagne for Tim & Rach’s Wedding

Later today I’ll be watching my brother-in-law marry a beautiful, lovely girl from Tennessee. It’s a very good thing. There are some weddings where, upon thinking about it, you are prompted to lean over to your neighbor in the seat next to you and say, "I give it 3 years." Not these two. They are the type of couple where things add up to a comment along the lines of, "I give them 50 years."

Tim is a Video Game Designer of great talent and fame. Rachel is a graphic designer of great talent with a keen mind, more style than any of us should be allowed to posses, and by far the more beautiful of the pair. They deserve an outstanding wedding champagne.

I’m one of those freaks who wonder before they even arrive at the wedding what kind of champagne they’ll be serving. Most often the bride and groom have little choice in the type of sparkling and still wines they can serve at a reception. All too often you are bound to select from a list of wines the caterer shows you. It’s that, or find another caterer.

Still, I’ve been at enough weddings, participated in a few myself, and thought about it enough to have an idea of what the right wedding sparkler is.

Of course the correct drink for any festive occasion is the 1990 Veuve Clicquot La Grande Dame Brut. This amazing wine, interestingly enough, is the correct wine not only for weddings, but for breakfast, lunch breaks, dinners, celebrating birthdays, drinking with popcorn and any other moment in life. However, at about $200 a bottle…well…yea.

So, let’s break it down. Here’s what you want for a wedding that doesn’t take place at Versailles

1. Reasonably price…meaning under $40 per bottle

2. While it can be bone dry, it should not taste bone dry. There are people at the happy event whose appreciation for something with more body will out number those who want their sparkles dry and yeasty.

3. It needs to be able to survive for 10 years so at the couple’s 10th Anniversary a special, well preserved bottle can mark the occasion.

It turns out there are a number of such sparkling wines:

NV Roederer Estate Bottled Anderson Valley Brut (in magnum)
The aging process of America’s best and most consistent NV sparkler will be slower in magnum form. $40

1999 Roederer L’Ermitage
This sports a creamier edge than it’s little brother and is a really great American wine made by a French company. $32

2001 Schramsberg Blanc de Blanc
It’s made from 100% Chardonnay and has that creamy center that infrequent wine drinkers like in their bubbles yet it has that all important citrusy/acidic cut that makes it work with hundreds of foods. $25

1996 Laurent Perrier Brut
Though much more difficult to find than those listed above, this is great champagne at a price that is well below many of it’s peers. It’s a value. $40

I know. It’s a wedding and it’s not about the wine, but about the happy couple. But it strikes m that if you are going to agonize over the invitations, the centerpieces and the salad dressing, you really should give some time to the wine everyone will hold in their hand and drink when the toast to your future is given.


Posted In: Personal


5 Responses

  1. Christopher Pratt - December 10, 2005

    My experience with the Roederer NV has been pretty bad: after about two years in the cellar, it deteriorated into a tasteless, overly acidic drink. I agree that it’s wonderful stuff when newly purchased, but I wouldn’t consider aging it again [I had bought half a case, and wound up chucking it all out after tasting each bottle].

  2. Tom Wark - December 10, 2005

    That’s shame. Good cellar? I’ve had darn good luck.

  3. cpratt - December 10, 2005

    58 degrees F, decent humidity, so far no other problems. I hope it was just a one-off!

  4. barbara - December 11, 2005

    I’ve had success with aging Roederer – only because I forgot it was there.It was the French one and sat there about two years.
    Tom – this is a delightful post. Nice to see such love in a family.

  5. Steve - December 12, 2005

    How about the 2000 Argle Brut from Oregon. I would be happy to sip a flute of that at any wedding and it will only set them back about twenty a bottle.

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