In case you don’t happen to be at the time in your life when weddings are a seemingly-weekly occurrence, allow me to clarify: it’s wedding season! While I’d go beyond the purview of this column to talk about what you should wear to your second cousin’s all-day pig roast, I did want to talk about one specific element of weddings, namely buying wine as a wedding present.
While of course shopping off a registry or just forking over some cash is easier, it’s also a great deal less fun. Besides, no one remembers a year later who bought them the citrus reamer or the fish knives, but if you get them a great bottle of wine, they will damn sure thank you when they open it…which hopefully isn’t that night when Aunt Lucy is showing off what she learned at her salsa classes.
What’s Their Taste?
The first thing to take into consideration are of course the tastes of the married couple, because buying Chardonnay for those who would rather drink battery acid doesn’t make a good impression. Yet I wouldn’t fret too much about that, as even people who don’t regularly drink a type of wine will, inevitably, find a time and place for it.
What’s Their Storage Sitch?
More importantly, you should think about time and (storage) space. When I give wine as a wedding present, I often write something on the bottle like “Happy 5th Anniversary!” While the thirsts of the newlyweds might foil even the best-laid plans, I do find it helps to offer some guidance.
If the recipients don’t have any kind of wine collection, I wouldn’t give them something to hang onto for decades, as it will either be consumed quickly or forgotten about and stuck somewhere to (proverbially, I hope) rot.
Suggested Wines To Buy
That said, let’s talk about what kinds of wine to buy. Assuming you’re looking for age-worthiness, the key factors will be acidity and tannins, as both act as preservatives to keep the wine protected as it ages. With white wines, that typically means a few varietals (like Riesling and Chardonnay) from cooler climates like the Mosel Valley or Burgundy, while with reds there are a wider range of options.
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Bordeaux is a classic selection, but the good (and great) wines get real expensive real fast. I’d look at less-heralded regions like Rioja in Spain, where you get tremendous complexity and ageability for a fraction of the price.
Bubbles Are Your Friend
Finally, don’t sleep on sparkling. Besides being a great wine for celebratory purposes, Champagne and other high-quality sparkling wine can actually age for a very long time, becoming more complex and nuanced over time. Plus, having a great bottle of bubbles stashed away is a must for any couple, because you never quite know when an emergency might strike.