Picking your Wedding wine

Wedding toast

The wedding fair season is in full swing. So much time is spent on organizing every other part of the day, sometimes selecting wine for the wedding banquet is overlooked.

  • How much wine do you need?

The rule of the thumb is 1 bottle per 2 guests, that is 2.5 glasses per person

  • Should we select red or white wine?

The type of wine will depend on the food that have selected. Consider wines that are popular, rather than your own tastes.

Popular white wines:

Sauvignon Blanc, Unoaked Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio – these wines will match with fish or chicken dishes.

Popular red wines: Merlot, Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon – best with meat dishes

The time of the year at which you are having your wedding reception may assist you to decide on a preference for red or white wine. During Winter you may select more red wine that white wine, the opposite in Summer (white wine over red wine).

  • How much sparkling wine will we need the welcome reception?

Normally there are 6 glasses from each bottle. Regarding welcome drinks prosecco, cava or new world sparkling are perfect.

  • Corkage and controlling how many bottles opened

Always negotiate the corkage charge with the hotel, it is not set in stone. It is a good idea to ask somebody not directly involved with wedding party to oversee and to keep track of the number of bottles opened by the waiting staff. Some hotels can be liberal with the number of bottles opened during the banquet and of course, you are the one paying!

If you get the wine as part of the wedding package insist on a tasting as a part of the meal tasting that hotel provides.

I would recommend that you consider buying your wine from independent wine shops, they give great advice and usually give “sale or return” on un-used stock.

Just a note –  beware of buying abroad or in other constituencies. I have dealt with couples that hadn’t ordered enough wine and then struggled to source the same/similar wines at home.

One of the services I provide is advice on the selection of wedding wines. Please contact me if you would like some other information.


Ummm Winter Warming Reds!

Roaring Fire with wineThe Autumn and Winter is well upon us, with the cold and damp evenings, it is great to get back to the nice warming reds to sip by an open fire or warm living room snuggled under a blanket or its to warm yourself up as you return from an outdoor sports fixture, shopping trip or may have just been outside for longer than you thought you would.

There is a great variety of reds and from light in style, medium and then up to the big heavy hitters.

Here are some to choose from:

  • Cabernet Sauvignon: Oakey, warming berry fruits are a New World style , as some styles of Cabernet Sauvignon particularly South of France are lighter and drier in style.
  • Shiraz: Peppery and spicy flavours Australia/Chile, French call it Syrah, again it is the main grape in wines from Southern France.
  • Merlot: Medium style with a spicy flavours.
  • Malbec: flavours of dark chocolate Argentina are the leaders in making some fantastic Malbec`s Mendoza region are brilliant examples of this wine.
  • Zinfandel: Californian`s are the only show in town when it come’s to brilliant example`s of this grape type and are widely available, Ravenwoods Zinfandel range are great value for money
  • Sangiovese: Italy- Barolo,  Brunello di Montachino, these wines are not cheap so they are a treat wine, but are superb, rich elegant wines.


I think It gets a raw deal but because it is considered a tipple for lets say, the “more mature” drinker and also some of the branded ports haven’t helped.

The port I like most, if i`m totally honest its actually fantastic is Niepoort LBV

Great after a meal or just a glass rather opening a full bottle of wine.



My Wine Reviews June-August 2015


These are the wine reviews which I put up on the winetastings.ie facebook page on Friday. Please like winetastings.ie facebook page.

Each month I will put them together on my blog.

-Tesco Finest* Picpoul de Pinet Languedoc France 2014

This wine is a really food example of the Picpoul de Pinet style from the South of France, refreshing with apple and pear flavours, this would go brilliantly with shellfish or seafood.

Available in Tesco


– Leval Vermentino Pay D`oc France 2014

I loved the Leval Malbec, so this week its the turn of the white, this is a wine to enjoy in the sunshine,which at the moment is limited  
This is a juicy wine with tropical fruits like peach and apricots on the nose and loads of fresh fruit in the mouth.
Great with fish dishes and summer salads and of course drinking on it`s own.

Available in Dunnes Stores 

Leval-BDX Conq-Vermentino (3)

-The Velvet Devil Merlot Columbia Valley Washington State U.S.A 2012

I hadn’t tried a wine from this area before, this Merlot is a nice and easy drinking medium bodied wine. Good strong black berry fruits on the nose with liqourice and little smokey spice on the palate.Great with Lamb.

Available in Super Valu

Velvet Devil



Few things from my visit to Vinexpo

I recently had the pleasure of attending Vinexpo in Bordeaux.The French do like to do things a bit different, by that I mean I was at Prowein last year it was business but the French really liked to play up the social side of the event i.e numerous invitations to after show events.

  • An Invitation to a Cheval Blanc Tasting

I was very lucky to be invited to a Cheval Blanc tasting hosted by Pierre Lurton the Winemaker.

He talked with such passion about the wine, his hand movement in explaining some of the famous vintages was like the conductor of an Orchestra and he was very magnanimous about his role in the wine making process he said “wine is created in the vineyard not in the wine cellar”  crediting the people who tend and harvest the grapes to the cellar master. Oh! the wines were excellent.


  • Vineyards are everywhere in Bordeaux, even at the Airport.

This picture taken outside Departure entrance.


  • Walk to the Exhibition Centre every morning,

It`s a floating bridge, a 15-20 min walk in very warm conditions,not great if you were socialising to the wee hours the previous evening 🙂


  • Breathalyzer and Alcohol unit card

These were handed out at the Pays Dòc Stand.




My Wine Reviews for April/May 2015

Hi there

These are the wine reviews which I put up on the winetastings.ie facebook page every Friday lunchtime.Please like winetastings.ie facebook page if wish.

Each month I will put them together on my blog.

Weekend Wine Recommendation:

– The Exquisite Collection Shiraz South Eastern Australia 2013

This weeks wine starts you thinking about the barbeque (which is probably in the shed).

It is an Australian Shiraz that has loads and loads of black fruit flavours like plum, blackberry and cherry with lovely hints of liquorice and eucalyptus on the nose.

Be advised this is a big full bodied wine at 14.5% a/c.
Perfect with steak, burgers, or any barbequed meat.

Available in Aldi  (This is a great value wine)

download aldi

Weekend Wine Recommendation:

– Estevez Cabernet Carmenere Syrah Maule Valley Chile 2013

This weeks wine includes the grape Carmenere that is synonymous with Chile.This a surprising red, it is subtle and smooth with red and blackberry aroma`s with flavours of dark chocolate and spice.
This wine is great on its own or with food. It is recommended to go with lamb cutlets,sausages or light spiced curries.

Available in Aldi

cab car syr aldi

Weekend Wine Curiosity!
-Toro Loco Bobal-Merlot Utiel Requena Spain 2013

I came across this wine in an article in The Guardian newspaper a few months ago, I was intrigued to see what a wine at such a low price tasted like. Well, it is drinkable but I wouldn’t buy it again. With minimum pricing coming soon, wines at these prices will be a thing of the past.

Some black fruit flavours but not much aroma on the nose.
Would go well with tomato dishes or light cheese.

Available in Aldi