There are lots of little considerations you’ve got to make when planning a wedding and one that’s so often neglected is which wines are best suited to your day. Now here at GoHen we’re partial to the odd glass (or two) so to find out how to pair the best vintages with your perfect “I do”, we caught up with Novel Wines’ wedding vino expert Ben Franks.
What’s hot for this year’s wine loving couples?
Depends on the couple! When we help you choose wines for the biggest day of your lives it’s always about you. We don’t just help you choose wines based on whether you like red or white, we get to know you and tailor the entire selection to your memories and interests because we want your big day to be your best memory yet.
For example, a lovely couple we know got engaged while holidaying in Croatia so our unique range of Croatian and Mediterranean wines was a must-have. Otherwise, we always encourage our couples to go for English fizz over Prosecco or Champagne – it’s some of the best wine around nowadays!
What’s not? Is there anything couples should avoid?
Don’t buy crowd-pleasers everyone else wants, your wedding should be about you! Treat yourself to the wines you love. We’ve done the hard job of making sure every wine at Novel Wines tastes excellent, so whatever wine you pick from our range you’re in safe hands.
Is there one mistake that most couples always make when choosing their wedding wines?
Over-ordering is generally an issue, which can make buying wine – especially if your venue charges corkage – expensive. A bottle of wine will give you six respectable glasses of wine (125ml measures).
When you think about the meal and welcome drinks, then discount the people who probably won’t drink because they’re not into alcohol or they’re driving, you end up with an average of around 3 glasses per person (not including the reception party later). This is usually 1 glass of bubbly to toast and a couple of glasses of red or white with your meal. If you know your party are big drinkers (or you’re serving a few helpings of bubbly to welcome your guests), add another glass or 2 to the average and you’ll healthily accommodate everyone!
Are there any special kinds of wines that we might not know about that are perfect for weddings?
It’s all about the fizz! Great bubbles are being made across England & Wales now, so buying home-grown is what it’s all about. Toasting with a classic blend Furleigh Estate from the Jurassic Coast in Dorset or a delicate fruity fizz like Hampshire’s Raimes Blanc de Noirs are top picks.
Anyone doing a cheese board should consider dessert wine. It doesn’t have to be expensive like Sauternes – we have a gorgeous Thai Chenin Blanc sweet wine that tastes like crushed red apples and is unbelievably good with blue cheese.
Is there anything couples should look out for when finding the right wine merchant for their wedding?
The best wine merchants will go above and beyond to make your day extra special and offer you a dedicated contact to discuss your wine selection. Look out for merchants who also offer you the opportunity to taste some wines before going ahead with your decision. It’s important you like what you’re serving!
You must have a pretty good wine collection…
We have over 150 wines hand-selected by Gyorgy (the other half of Novel Wines) and I from undiscovered producers all over the world. Every wine on our list is a talking point, whether it’s the cool and crisp Koshu white from vines near Mt. Koshu in Japan, made by leading female winemaker Ayana Misawa, or the smoky and jammy Sula Shiraz from Maharashtra in India. We also have one of the UK’s best online selections of wines from England, Hungary and Croatia.
Difficult question alert. If you could only drink one wine for the rest of your life, which would it be?
Such a difficult thing to answer! It changes every day. The one wine I can still vividly remember the taste of was the vintage Guy Charbault “Memory” Champagne 1997 but if I drank that for the rest of my life I’d break the bank.
I could endlessly drink the 2011 vintage of Hubertus Clusserath’s single vineyard Riesling Spatlese, or I wouldn’t mind enjoying the red Nobilis Feteasca Neagra from Romania if it came with a supply of fab lamb dishes.
You must have been around lots of weddings, what is the best wedding day advice for brides?
Just remember it’s your day, so have the time of your life!
Spending all day looking and talking about wine sounds like a dream, so what’s the best part about your job?
It used to be tasting, because you get to explore so many different flavours. As someone who has always enjoyed great food, wine is an easy thing to fall in love with because it’s all about flavour, the situation you drink it in and who you share it with – just like food.
Nowadays the best thing about my job is meeting the winemakers and hearing their stories. I taste wine all the time but it’s a lovely experience to go and meet the people who put their heart and souls into what they do.
You can tell us, we won’t tell a soul, honest… What’s the worst song you’ve heard played for the first dance/walking down the aisle/other?
I have been at a family friend’s wedding where the first dance was to The Fresh Prince of Bel Air because both the bride and groom had spent a lot of their early days together watching the show. It was definitely funny but mostly like watching your friends embarrass themselves at karaoke. I’m sure coming up with the dance they did was a lot of fun mind you!
Any final parting words of bridal wisdom?
When you go for the dress, get one of those ones that you can detach the bottom from so you can spend the evening dancing until the early hours like it’s never going to end.
Can we have one more glass before we go?
Always time for one more glass! How about a small glass of the extra special Chateau Musar 1999 red to celebrate? It’s one of the most unusual and delicious wines I’ve enjoyed for a long time.