I've just returned from a beautiful country wedding which had all the fancy elements that make a great party. Amazing location, fantastic band, delicious food and all in all a great atmosphere. Yet what was particularly interesting about this wedding was the fact they served sparkling wine instead of Champagne at the reception, and you know what, on a very warm English summers day, it was a refreshing and welcome change. As much as I love Champagne and lets face it most of us do, it can be rather dehydrating. All the weddings abroad I have ever been to have served sparkling wine and it was so much more paletable in the heat. So why not do the same at a British summer wedding? I asked top wine expert Pieter Rosenthal, at www.lovethatwine.co.uk what his advice would be if couples were to go down the sparkling wine route at a wedding.
"Nothing starts a wedding off better than the sound of corks popping. Champagne remains king among sparklers but doesn't come cheap. Here are a couple of alternatives that won't break the bank but will still impress your guests. Remember, many venues will allow you to bring your own wine along for a small charge per bottle and buying larger quantities usually attracts a retailer discount as well."
Below are Pieter's top buys.
Villiera Brut Natural 2007
Made from Chardonnay in traditional 'Champagne' style. A very dry, crisp sparkling wine. Fresh nose with green apples, lemon and a little nutty complexity. The palate is zingy and although very dry it is certainly not austere. The bubbles are fine, creamy and the bottle looks fantastic. If you like elegant Champagne, this is for you.
Cono Sur Brut
Chardonnay is dominant, with tiny quantities of Pinot Noir and Riesling coming from a cool region giving plenty of freshness to the grapes. Dry and incredibly vibrant. Zingy citrus fruit and a little of that yeasty character you get from Champagne. The distinctive black and green label is edgy and very cool. Perfect for wedding toasts.