Spirits, Sparklers, Wines and Weddings
REMY XO COGNAC
Paired with final details in advance of walking down the aisle. The smooth spirit was made available by the Best man and carried in the traditional wedding flask. Looking quite dapper in a suit crafted from chocolate brown linen procured in Bangkok, the Best Man's cognac was the perfect accompaniment to the ceremonial witnesses signing a marriage certificate. Again, the Best Man, along with the Maid of Honor—the stunning Jessica— put signature to form in the main room of the small cottage overlooking the thick green lawn where I would soon await my bride. Witnessing the signing of the wedding license by the witnesses were friends and the Rabbi, who did have concern that the groom may be enjoying too many nips from the flask. He was assured that while the cognac did in fact perform its task of calming the nerves, there wasn't enough cognac in the flask to dull the senses.
2009 FAILLA VIVIEN SONOMA COAST PINOT NOIR
What a welcome remedy this beautiful Pinot was for the groom's dry mouth as he stood under the Chupah and gazed at his bride's hand in his. The Ceremony of the Wine comes after the rings and before the breaking of the bread (though from a digestive standpoint, I think they ought to be reversed). With this cold climate Pinot bringing the palate back to life, the Rabbi remind the bride, groom and attendees that "As you drink from this cup, may you draw contentment and find happiness from the cup of life. Thereby may you experience life's joys as doubly gladdening, life's bitterness sweetened and all things hallowed by true companionship and love."
2006 MAYO FAMILY WINERY SPARKLING BRUT "LAUREL HILL VINEYARD"
Glasses filled with this salmon-hued singled vineyard sparkler produced by the Best Man made it into the newlyweds hands not more than 10 minutes past the moment when foot-came crashing down upon glass and the shouts of Mozel Tov filled the wedding grounds. Sparkling wine remains the first choice for moments of congratulations and there were many of those as friends and relatives met us, Kathy and I, as we slowly made our way, Mayo Family Winery Sparkling Brut in hand, to the spot where the photographer would assure we never forget what we looked like at this moment. Meanwhile, the single-vineyard sparkler sustained the wedding's attendees as they strolled, talked, introduced, kept child's bests from soiling, and awaited the wedding party's immortalizing to finish.
2009 FAILLA SONOMA COAST CHARDONNAY
The perfect wine to greet guests encountering a single, long, 100-seat table festooned with candelabra, candles, linen and silver inside a mountain. It also accompanied a palate refreshing spring herb salad dressed in citrus, a combination that not only served this wine well, but provided guests with an easy slide into the wedding feast and the chance to become accustomed to their seat neighbors and acclimated to their darker, more elegant surroundings.
2009 FAILLA PEARLESSENCE PINOT NOIR—SONOMA COAST
The amazing Pinot Noir that most held in their hand as the Best Man rose to tell tales about the groom, assure the parents of the bride that their daughter had made a good choice and generally make outstanding work of the traditional toast by the groom's number one. Also the wine that brings the feast near to its tipping point from celebration to festivity.
2008 FAILLA OCCIDENTAL RIDGE PINOT NOIR—SONOMA COAST
The wine that took its effect somewhere between the introduction of roast vegetables to the table and the delivery of the succulent salmon and savory lamb. Also the wine that the Father of Bride swung from side to side as he looked north and south of his seat at members of the 100-person gathering, attempting to acknowledge the significance of each one, and doing an outstanding job of it too. This wine was also, by the way, the one those guests who were so inclined, used to allow themselves to move from happy to giddy. And there is no better wine with which to make this treacherous move.
2009 FAILLA PHOENIX RANCH SYRAH—NAPA VALLEY
It takes some time to move 100 people from concentrating on their salmon and lamb to concentrating on a groom, standing up straight in a darkened space with glass of Syrah in hand. That's OK, I thought, because it gave me more time to gather myself, my thoughts and drain my glass of the remnants of this Syrah and do a refill prior to saying a few words about my hopes, memories, dreams and new bride. This Syrah is substantial and elegant, exactly the accompaniments I think is appropriate for a few words about what my father might have thought of this day had he been alive to see it and a few more words about the empathy, wit, charm, caring nature and beauty of my bride who fulfilled my desire to be a man crazy in love.
There are moments in life that are so much better preserved by the presence of fine wine. Surely the celebration of commitment and love, the coming together of family, the acknowledgement of faith and tradition, and the passing forward of all these values is just such a moment.