It will not be possible, as you may realise with dread, to avoid the subject of weddings over the next seven days – that wedding, in particular. At the time of writing, it hasn’t been revealed what the guests are drinking, but we do know that the future Mrs Windsor is partial to a Tignanello, or Tig, as she affectionately referred to it in her blog. At least we’ll have a member of the royal family who is a great wine lover.
So, what of the rest of you who are getting married this summer and don’t have a super-Tuscan budget? For most, the priority is to find a simple, inexpensive red and white, and, given the age and inherent conservatism of the guests at most weddings, I’d be tempted to stick to France as a source.
Two sound buys would be Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Languedoc White and Red, both of which sell regularly at £7, but are often on promotion – the smooth, peachy white is currently on offer at £6.25. Both are made by the clever Jean-Claude Mas, who is responsible for a number of supermarket own labels.
Another safe option would be the white and red from La Vieille Ferme, a reliable brand from the Rhône that sells for around £7-8 in Booths, the Co-op and Waitrose. However, Waitrose has them on promotion from next Wednesday for £5.99, an unusually good deal that is well worth snapping up. And, at 12.5% for the white and 13% for the red, they’re not overly high in alcohol, either, which could be a bonus if you want to avoid a car-crash of a best man’s speech, and tired and emotional guests.
If you belong to The Wine Society (membership of which would make an excellent wedding present, incidentally), they have a Burgundian-style chardonnay from the Loire called Les Parcelles for £7.75 (from the 2017 vintage and 12%) and a pale, pretty Saint-Pourçain La Réserve Spéciale (12.5%) at the same price that knocks spots off most inexpensive red burgundy.
For cheap fizz, you’re probably looking at prosecco, but for a slightly more interesting alternative, there’s the smart-looking Cruset Blanc de Blancs at Ocado for £8.99 or, even better, £3.49 in the Calais Wine Superstore. I’d definitely taste it before you buy – at that price, it might be older stock than Ocado’s, or even a different blend, but for a sparkling wine with a similarly soft, creamy appeal as prosecco, it’s an absolute steal.
Four of the best nuptial wines
£7.49 Co-op, £7.99 Waitrose (£5.99 from 16 May), £8.25 Booths, 12.5%
Attractive, smooth Rhône white. Good all-rounder
Ripe, vibrant, southern French red. Perfect for a hog roast
Saint-Pourçain La Réserve Spéciale 2016
£7.75 The Wine Society, 12.5%
Light, pretty beaujolais-ish blend. Flexible enough to go with fish
Cruset Blanc de Blancs
£8.99 Ocado (£3.49 at the Calais Wine Superstore), 11%
Smart-looking alternative to prosecco
More at matchingfoodandwine.com
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