Choosing Wine for your Wedding – Part 2: A Formal Affair

I have an exciting series of  five posts on choosing the right wine for you wedding. Claire Fowles is a sommelier and wine blogger for In addition she is busy planning her own wedding.

As I mentioned in my introductory piece, the wines you choose for your wedding should reflect your personality just as much as do the invitations, the venue, or the music.

A Formal wedding

However, I think you might also want to take into account the style of your wedding when selecting the wines that you serve: are you hosting a formal black-tie affair with long gowns and glittering chandeliers, or will it be a casual garden affair with summer dresses and golf shirts?

For a formal affair, I would think of French wines. It may seem unadventurous but I think it reflects the event: timeless, classic.

First and foremost, you want to choose wines that will complement the dishes that you will be serving

No matter what you are serving, though, I think you can find something appropriate from amongst the following suggestions:

Bubbles: a formal wedding is the most likely wedding to include a formal toast to the happy couple. For this, you will want a nice, crisp bubbly.

Nicolas Feuillatte Brut Rosé – this Champagne is one of my favourites. At $56 a bottle (LCBO), it is less expensive than other some other champagnes but it still has the panache associated with the genre. I like this one because it is romantic in colour but serious in taste: slight strawberries on the nose, not overly yeasty in the mouth and with a lovely effervescence on the tongue.

If your budget is more limited, a Crémant d’Alsace is a great sparkling wine at a more affordable price. Crémant d’Alsace Brut Rosé Allimant Laugner ($19.95 LCBO) will give you a similar profile to the more expensive champagne. Rosé Crémant d’Alsace wines are made exclusively with Pinot Noir grapes so these will not be overly sweet wines and you can enjoy your toasts and save some pennies.

English: Bottle of Crémant d'Alsace (a sparkli...
English: Bottle of Crémant d’Alsace (a sparkling wine) from J. Ziegler, Sigolsheim with glass. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Red: regardless of the meal, you will have guest who will want red wine. I like to err on the lighter side of the palate to appeal to the widest audience and a larger variety of foods (believe me, nothing is worse than seared tuna with a heavy, tannic red wine; the metallic umami will jump right).

Louis Jadot has several red wines in the LCBO that I feel are classically French in both style of wine and labeling. Any of their collection would suit a formal wedding but I have tried and love the  Louis Jadot Beaune Theurons 1er Cru 2006 ($45.95 LCBO). This wine can best be described as silky, with the rich red berries, soft tannins and slight cigar box qualities that make for a fantastic French red wine.

Bottle of Louis Jadot Brouilly Cru Beaujolais ...
Bottle of Louis Jadot Brouilly Cru Beaujolais wine made from the Gamay grape in France. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If your budget is a little tighter, I don’t think you can go wrong with some of the Beaujolais wines. These will be lighter in style but often please the white wine crowd and have the benefit of pairing with lighter dishes such as chicken or even fish. Georges Dubeuf Beaujolais Village ($12.95) is always in stock at the LCBO and is one the best known Beaujolais wines on our shelves.

White: There is nothing more classic than a crisp French Chablis. I have yet to serve one to a guest, even a red wine drinker, who has not enjoyed it.

On the higher end of the price scale, I really enjoy Domaine Pinson Frères La Forêt Chablis 1er Cru 2010 ($37.00 LCBO). It’s a great expression of this type of wine: full bodied and capable of holding its own against even a steak dinner. It is in low quantities at the LCBO but you can always ask for any good Chablis.

For the more cost conscious, the LCBO stocks less expensive Chablis like the Bouchard Père et Fils Petit Chablis ($19.95).

The key, I think, to matching your wine to a Formal Wedding is to go for the classic look and the classic taste. For me, nothing is more classic than France. Of course, your caterer or venue will have ideas to share with you but I hope I have at given you some classic wine ideas for your Classic Wedding.