I wanted to take this time to follow-up on a request I made a few weeks ago. I asked for recommendations on wines to serve at a wedding with a Spanish/Mexican buffet menu. Here are the results...
The first thing I did was assemble a large sample of wines and had a tasting party to try them with similar foods. Several SF hounds joined. Below are the tasting results. They were tasted blind, although a list of the wines being poured was made available (we just didn't know which was which until voting was over). I gave each person two votes on their favorite(s).
Votes # Price Wine
14 S1 6.99 NV Segura Viudas Brut Reserva Cava
8 S3 9.99 NV Rotari Talento Trento Brut
6 S2 6.99 NV Cristalino Brut Cava
0 S4 6.99 NV Domaine Saint Michelle Brut (Flawed Bottle)
N/A S5 14.99 2003 Saracco Moscato d'Asti (Not blind, no voting)
8 W3 8.99 2003 Basa Rueda Blanco
7 W4 9.99 2004 Brancott Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc
2 W5 8.99 2003 Rock Rabbit Central Coast Sauvignon Blanc
1 W1 5.99 2003 Bodega Lurton Valle de Uco Torrontes
1 W2 4.67 2003 Colombelle Vin de Pays des Cotes de Gascogne
1 W6 7.99 2003 J Lohr Monterey White Riesling Bay Mist
9 R6 10.99 2002 Altos Las Hormigas Mendoza Malbec
7 R5 12.99 2002 Kenwood Pinot Noir Russian River Valley
5 R4 5.99 2003 Marques de Daroca Valle del Jiloca Grenache Syrah
2 R1 4.67 2002 Pintoresco Tempranillo de Extremadura
1 R2 7.89 2000 Marques de Arienzo Rioja Crianza
0 R3 7.50 2002 Las Rocas de Alejandro Calatayud Garnacha
0 R7 4.99 2003 Viu Manent Colchagua Valley Malbec
0 R8 5.99 2003 Campo de Borja Borsao
I went with the favorites: 24 bottles of Segura Viudas (S1), 17 bottles of Basa Rueda (W3) (I wanted 2 full cases but the wine store was low on inventory), 17 bottles of Altos Malbec (R6), and 12 bottles of Daroca Grenache/Syrah (R4). Though tempted, I passed on buying for the wedding the Kenwood Pinot (R5) due to price and the Brancott Sauvignon Blanc (W4) because it's a similar style as the Basa--crisp, acidic, un-oaked white--yet more expensive. I did however pick up 4 bottles of Georges Duboeuf Borgogne Blanc for $9 in case there's anyone that must drink oaked chard. I didn't try this wine until the wedding.
The menu changed slightly from the original plan. In the end, the tortilla española was nixed and the only Spanish foodstuff remaining what a half-wheel of cabrales that I brought. Otherwise it was appetizers of olives, goat gouda, and brie; a main meal of chicken mole, tamales, beans, rice, green beans, and green salad; and flan, tres leches cake, and several Filipino desserts.
Wine consumed at the wedding:
14 bottles Segura Viudas
16 bottles Basa Rueda
8 bottles Altos Malbec
6 bottles Daroca Grenache/Syrah
4 bottles Georges Duboeuf Bourgogne Blanc
The big hit was the Basa. It had enough body to stand up even in plastic cups during the pre-ceremony cocktail hour, yet also had enough bright acidity to keep it lively. I fully expecting to take some bottles home, but only ended up saving the one that was lost in the bottom of an ice chest. In the bartender's words: "This Basa is flying, did you bring any more?"
As expected, some guests wanted their chardonnay, so the 4 bottles of Duboeuf went quickly. I tried a sip and found it ho-hum...but then I'm more a fan of aromatic, acidic white wines than richer, oaked, full-bodied whites.
The Altos was also well received. It went rather well with the mole. The Daroca was a bit of a bust...the 6 bottles we opened went largely undrunk. I thought some would appreciate a light, fruity red in addition to the big bodied Altos Malbec, but guessed wrong. Oh well, it was $5 a bottle and I'm sure I'll find good use (cooking, sangria...) for the remaining 6 I have.
I was surprised at the sweetness in the Segura Viudas. During our tasting it didn't seem sweet but by the time we got to the toast, after having some of the Basa and Altos, I found it a bit sugary. The carbonation dissipated really quickly, so it was more like drinking a slighly effervescent, off-dry white. If I had to do it all over again, I think I would have gone with Domaine St Michelle Brut instead.
In other news... most of the guests were more typically beer drinkers rather than wine. But they went crazy for the wines and got hammered. Folks falling asleep in the DJ's car, locking themselves in the bathroom, passing out on the lawn. Great fun. Also many reports of waking up at 5am with splitting headaches (myself included), which I think, but cannot be sure, was caused by the Segura Viudas.
Thanks for all the help, everyone.