Choosing Wine for Your Wedding – Part 3: Casual

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

So far, we’ve discussed wines for your wedding and how choosing the right wines can really highlight your event. I’ve also given you some ideas for a formal wedding; it might be cliché to some but I really do think French wines do represent a form of classic beauty.

French wines are usually made to accompany food.
French wines are usually made to accompany food. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But what if you are not having the big Church or Synagogue wedding with a sit down meal of multiple courses served to you at your table? Perhaps your wedding is in a wedding hall but you and your partner have chosen a more relaxed feeling to the day: seats are not assigned or the meal is served buffet-style. Or perhaps you’ve decided on a more casual venue for the ceremony and reception: a tent in the garden, a barn in the countryside, lakeside at the cottage.

For me, Italian wines come to mind when I imagine a more informal wedding. Although there are many Italian wines that are almost aristocratic in their pedigrees, I just feel that Italian wines exude the feeling of relaxation, they recall afternoon siestas, unhurried lunches and casual dining with family and friends.

Keeping to the idea that it’s good to choose a white, a red, and a bubbly for the toast, nothing says casual and summer like a rosé.

Here are some of my favourite Italian wines under $25 a bottle. Although you can spend far more than that on some extraordinary wines, part of the charm of a casual wedding is in its simplicity. The wines I have chosen are available from the LCBO but are perhaps not ones with which you are familiar; they are what my Italian family would call “country” wines, made for generations from local grapes to accompany family meals.

White – last summer in Amalfi I rediscovered Falanghina. This white wine is perfect for a summer wedding: light, uncomplicated and fresh. The LCBO has a few in stock but I really like Ocone Flora Falanghina 2010 ($16.95). It’s a good example of this wine: peaches with a hint of fresh herbs.  Whether you’re serving grilled chicken or fish, or simple cheese and fruit platters, this wine says “relax and enjoy” at a very affordable price.

Falanghina (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Red – for a red wine for your casual wedding,head to the very South of Italy. Puglia has some very unusual wines that are just starting to find their way to the shelves of the LCBO.  I think your guests would enjoy a Primitivo (also known as Zinfandel). Cultivated in Southern Italy for centuries, these red wines tend to be less jammy than some of the American ones. In fact, their blend of red currants, raisins and woody notes make them a great summer BBQ wine, pairing well with grilled meats, hard cheeses such as pecorrino or parmesan, and pizza. At $15.95, Baroque Primitivo 2011 is well stocked at the LCBO. Served slightly chilled (18 degrees), it would give your casual wedding a nice red option.

Rosé – for a fruity happy rosé, uncomplicated and easy to drink, stock up on Folonati Pink Pinot Grigio ($11.95 LCBO). It’s a simple, light rosé, peachy-pink in colour with sweet summer fruit on the palate and a hint of tannins to give it body and stop it from being too fruit-juice tasting.

BubblyProsecco is Italy’s best known sparkling wine. I have found it suits most people, even those who are not fond of Champagne. I like to think of it as a bubbly that takes itself less seriously. Less yeasty than Champagne, slightly floral with hints of lemon but still dry, Bottega Vino Dei Poeti Prosecco ($13.95) is a great wine with which to toast the newly weds. And the name is even romantic!

Italian sparkling wine
Italian sparkling wine (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You’ve chosen a more relaxed event for your wedding. Choose wines that are as easy-going. There are few people who understand a good summer party like the Italians!