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Friday, June 17, 2011

Fantastic Wines on a Night to Remember

This weekend marks a year since my sister and brother-in-law got married.  I can honestly say that night was one of the most fun nights of my entire life, we had such a wonderful time and it’s hard to decide what stood out the most from that wedding, the music, the food, the wine, the overall atmosphere, the fun we had with family and friends, and seeing Lauren and Mike so happy on their wedding day, it was such a special memory we will have forever.
I think a lot of people underestimate the importance of excellent food and wine at a wedding.  When choosing a venue for the wedding, Lauren, Mike, and my parents considered many locations, but when they visited the Garden City Hotel (Garden City, Long Island, New York) and met with Joseph Borbely, their director of catering, they knew instantly that they had found the perfect venue.  The food was excellent, cocktail hour consisted of so many stations including a sushi station, raw bar, Peking duck, and lots of others.  Appetizer was a lobster sampler, the salad was field greens with apple chutney, and dinner was a choice of swordfish or filet mignon, followed by a gorgeous and delicious wedding cake.  But when preparing for the wedding, when Lauren chose the menu, she had to decide which wines would be served.  And her choices were perfect; they were the best wines I’ve ever had at a wedding.  We were told by guests how much they enjoyed the food and wine, and some even sipped Champagne throughout the evening.  We were so happy to hear how much everyone enjoyed the selections.
The Champagne, served throughout the reception, was the Moet & Chandon Brut Imperial NV.  This is such a dependable Champagne that has lovely characteristics of light crisp citrus, a hint of white flowers, nut, brioche, and just an indication of honey on the finish.  While sparkling wines, including Champagne, are very food-friendly and excellent palate cleansers due to their bubbly texture, this Champagne was actually an ideal pairing with the salad and apple chutney, and accompanied the lobster sampler very nicely as well.  In addition, it’s an excellent choice for cocktail hour, as there are so many different flavors and small plates, and it’s not easy to find a red or white to pair with all of what is offered at each station.  The shining moment for the Champagne on that evening was during the toast, I was so honored to raise a glass of Moet & Chandon to the happiness of my sister and brother-in-law at the end of my maid of honor speech.

Moet & Chandon Brut Imperial NV

One of Lauren’s favorite white grape varietals is Sauvignon Blanc - it’s crisp, clean, complex, and relatively easy to pair.  To accompany the lighter dishes, as well as the lobster sampler and the swordfish, she chose the 2008 Domaine Alain Cailbourdin Pouilly-Fume Les Cris.  This is a Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire, and it is very indicative of its region, very pale in color, with energetic notes of bright citrus, white fruit, grassy herbs, and mineral characteristics, very upbeat yet classy and elegant, beautifully structured with bright acidity, and a long finish.

2008 Domaine Alain Cailbourdin Pouilly-Fume Les Cris

After considering a Medoc and a Hermitage, Lauren opted for the 2006 Domaine de l’Harmas Chateauneuf du Pape, which was an excellent pairing with the filet mignon.  The wine, consisting of Grenache and Mourvedre, is a deep dark red Southern Rhone blend, with characteristics of dark and red fruits and berries, tobacco and a bit of smokiness, earth, a complex spiciness, and perhaps an indication of dry potpourri.  The wine is nicely balanced with a bit of sweet fruit, tartness, and a dry texture.

2006 Domaine de l’Harmas Chateauneuf du Pape

Often, it’s best to ask a catering director about upgrading the wines at an event as important as a wedding, as a facility is unlikely to offer its best selections as house wines.  Good food and wines are no less important than a beautiful dress, lovely flowers, and excellent music at an important event, and you and your guests would notice the difference.
Wishing a very happy first anniversary to Lauren and Mike!

1 comment:

  1. I really like it that you have images of the wines you taste and a description of what you think about them.