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Choosing the right wine for the big occasion
By Pan Zheng


SELECTING the right wine can be a daunting task for novices, especially if one is picking a vintage for a big wedding celebration. There are so many wines on the market and practically everyone has their own ideas about which ones are best.

Here are some tips on what to consider when picking a wine for that special occasion. Three key considerations are the season, menu and time of the wedding reception.

White and rose wines are ideal during the hot summer. These lighter wines stimulate the appetite and often have distinct citrus flavors that work well in hot weather.

Full-bodied wines like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir or Shiraz are usually better suited to winter weddings. These wines usually pair well with the heartier fare served when the climate turns cold.

Wedding receptions in China often take place around lunch time while in Shanghai wedding ceremony is usually held at night. This makes a difference in the wine selection as people tend to drink less during the day. Light wines usually work best for such receptions. Red wines are in most cases the best option for dinner receptions, but always remember to pair the wine with the menu.

Another thing to consider is that everyone has different tastes and preferences. Thus, while you may have a special affinity for a certain chateau and vintage, it doesn’t necessarily mean it will be the best option for your reception.

Choosing a wine that goes well with a variety of foods will work best, especially if the cuisine is Chinese. Numerous courses will be served during a Chinese wedding banquet, meaning niche wines may not suit the food.

New World wines are often good options to satisfy the majority of guests. For example, wines from Chile often have rich fruit flavors. Napa Valley wines from California and those from Barossa Valley in southern Australia are also stellar choices.

Some novice drinkers also can get too caught up with brands. There are numerous wines that don’t cost too much and offer tremendous quality for those with the patience to look. But if your heart is set on a well-known chateau, check out their entry-level wines. Often much cheaper, these wines also offer good value. Examples include Sangre de Toro of Torres, Penfolds Rawson’s Retreat from Australia and Astoria, which is served in almost every restaurant in Italy.

Customized wines are a nice option with adequate preparation time. This includes a customized label to commemorate the occasion.

Don’t forget to provide a non-alcoholic option for those who don’t drink alcohol.


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