Monday, June 23, 2008

Tallahassee Wedding Wine Choices

I just got back from a weekend in Tallahassee, Florida. For those of you who weren't paying attention in 5th grade social studies class, Tallahassee is the capital of Florida. It's on the panhandle, actually closer to Macon, Georgia and Montgomery, Alabama than to Miami, for example. I'd never been there before, or anywhere in the real south, for that matter.

The trees were shockingly beautiful. Old and graceful Cypress, Willows, and others, trunks of huge diameter, and many of them with lacy green Spanish Moss draped all over the branches. I saw alligators, blue heron, various other heron, and ibises on the Wakulla River. I ate an amazing pulled pork sandwich at a place called Gertie's BBQ. I saw many stately looking houses set in deep green fields, and many boarded up houses and stores in the downtown area. It was super humid, and quite hot - at least 95 during the days. Some of the accents were amazing - this park ranger who piloted our boat on the Wakulla River - I could listen to books on tape, or anything else this guy says, all day long.

My friend asked me to select the wines for his rehearsal dinner and wedding, an honor of the highest proportion. Approximately 250 people planned to attend each event. Rehearsal dinner was BBQ ribs and chicken and the usual sides. Wedding dinner was a buffet that including everything from Sushi rolls to roast beef to cheese fondue. Budget was $15 per bottle, which I took to mean including shipping from NY, which adds about $3/bottle. Why ship from NYC, you ask? I wanted to get delicious natural wine for the wedding, and the closest cities I could find that had what I might have wanted are New Orleans, Atlanta, and Miami. Why not just go with what I know and do it from home.

This wasn't easy! After several tastings with bride and groom, we decided on the following for the rehearsal dinner:

2006 Domaine de la Pepiere Muscadet, $12, (Louis/Dressner Selections). Crisp, bracing, a bit creamy, nice citrus falvors, easy to drink as an aperitif or with dinner. It wasn't as easy a year ago when it was released, but the year in the bottle has mellowed the edges. This vanished right quick, before the dinner even began, I believe. That's what happens when you offer delicious white wine on an outdoor terrace on a summer Friday evening in Tallahassee.

2005 Clos Siguier Cahors, $10, (Jenny & Francois). You already know that I love this light, but deep and complex rendition of Cahors. I thought that its berry and licorice flavors, and its medium bodied and slightly grippy texture would work well with BBQ. Hard to gauge, but it seemed as though people enjoyed it.

For the wedding:

2006 Domaine de la Fruitiere Jardin de la Fruitiere, $9 (JD Headrick Imports). A VdT blend of Chardonnay and Melon de Bourgogne, this is one that I discovered while tasting through the recession wines.

2004 Domaine de la Soucherie Anjou, $12 (Rosenthal Imports). I was worried about the alcohol at 13.5%, but in all other respects it seemed like a good choice. It turned out to be a lovely glass in the frothy heat of the wedding. So yes, both whites are Loire Valley.

2006 Château d'Oupia Minervois
, $10, (Louis/Dressner Selections). A beautiful dark and fruity red. I only wish that they had chilled it a bit.

2006 Domaine Rimbert Saint-Chinian Les Travers de Marceau
, $12 (Jenny & Francois). Yeah, I know that it's also a Grenache blend, but this wine is very different from the Minervois. This one is lighter in color and body and the perfume is raspberries and herbs. The Minervois is darker and juicier and earthier.

It was a gorgeous wedding. Even the weather cooperated - for those two hours, the humidity lifted, the breezes swayed through the trees, the light was perfect over the pond. And everyone focused on having fun, not on their wine, which is a good thing.


Anonymous said...

nice choices neil.
i wish you could have picked my wedding wines last fall. i had some nut named mcduff choose ours.

David McDuff said...

Actually, I had Neil pick the wines. I just took the credit.

Anonymous said...

hmm, that's not what you said in your toast........

Brooklynguy said...

funny, i don't remember picking the wines. i remember picking the bread for the toast.