Summer is officially in full swing, lots of tourists, plenty of sunshine (kinda!) and most importantly for me, lots of brides and grooms coming to choose the wine for their big day. This is definitely one of my favourite parts of the job. Besides being a total sucker for romance (be warned, I expect the long version of your engagement story before we even start to talk about the wine), I am a firm believer that the choice of wine is an integral part of the wedding experience. The drinks reception on arrival at the venue sets the tone for the rest of the day and it’s important to get it off to a sparkling start! The wine for the meal should complement the food without overpowering it and as there is normally such a diverse crowd, it’s imperative to find something that will suit most people, from the serious connoisseurs to those who only have wine on special occasions.
The most entertaining part of the whole process for me is watching the bride get carried away as the groom tries desperately to reign her back in and cling desperately to the budget they came in with! The first question I always has to be budget, in current times where we are all cutting our cloth to suit our measure, it really is the deciding factor when it comes to making the final choice. Luckily, we have a huge selection of wines to suit every price bracket, offering excellent quality without having to blow the honeymoon budget. The most popular countries at the moment for wedding wines are Chile, Italy and France, with Argentina becoming increasingly popular. For the bubbles, we have a fantastic selection from the affordable to the lavish! Prosecco, Cava and Champagne are the order of the day and let me tell you fellas, the bride always wins on this argument, if she has a favourite, she will break you down and get her way! Recently, I have had a number of brides go for our Rose Prosecco, it certainly has the wow factor for the arrival, the packaging is particularly eye catching if the bottles are displayed, and is the perfect summer drink. It’s a special surprise and a real conversation starter.
I really enjoy meeting with the happy couples in our specially designed tasting room, as their excitement is palpable and utterly infectious. It also gives me a chance to get a sense of their personalities because at the end of the day, each wedding is unique and is important that the personalities of both the bride and groom are incorporated into all aspects of the day, including the wine. It also gives me a chance to see an incredible amount of really amazing engagement rings!
Completely off the topic of weddings, I have recently had the pleasure of tasting some amazing new cocktails courtesy of our fabulous port suppliers, Cálem Port (sometimes my job just really is that good!). There are a number of different recipes but my personal favourite is the Cálem Rosé with Pineapple and Vanilla. It’s so good that I have to share the recipe with you:
70 ml Rosé Port
10 ml Vanilla Liqueur
2 Rings of Macerated Pineapple
Crushed ice to taste
Preparation: Macerate the sliced pineapple. Put them in the shaker and add the Rosé Port, the vanilla liqueur and the. Shake the mixture, pour it into a tall glass and add some more crushed ice. Decorate to taste.
It is light and refreshing, sweet and seductive, the perfect combination! It’s ideal for long summer evenings and most definitely one for a girl’s night out. My new long drink of choice at the moment is white port and tonic. It makes a nice change from the old reliable gin and tonic, a hint of sweetness but very refreshing, definitely one to try out over Race Week. Be warned, one of these is never enough!