Champagne can turn any event into a celebration, which is why so many New Jersey brides are opting for the bubbly as a wedding essential, equal in importance to their cake and flowers. “Nothing is as festive as sparkling wine. It makes this your wedding, not just another party,” says Gary Fisch, owner of Gary’s Wine and Marketplace in Madison, Bernardsville and Wayne.
Champagne, defined as sparkling wine produced solely in France’s Champagne region, can get pricey when served to hundreds of guests. “Many brides opt to expand their palates rather than their wallets by serving sparkling wine instead of true Champagne,” says Brooke Sabel, wine director at Natirar in Peapack-Gladstone. Sparkling wines include Italian prosecco, Spanish cava and delicately colored sparkling rosé, and can cost a fraction of the price of Champagne. Surprisingly, a bottle of bubbly should emit a “soft sigh” rather than a pop when properly uncorked, after which it should be immediately poured into flutes and served.
To select a sparkling wine for your wedding, consult your venue’s on-site sommelier, your caterer’s wine expert or your favorite wine shop. Request a private tasting for you and your fiancé, an event that may be the most enjoyable afternoon during your entire wedding process. Sit back and relax as you discover which sparkler suits your tastebuds and budget. Focus on the flavor, aroma, color and price point that please you both.
“Select something delicious that’s also within your budget. No one checks the label when you’re pouring,” advises Andrea Maranca, owner of Tewksbury Fine Wine & Spirits in Oldwick. Or mix and match by savoring Dom Perignon ($144 a bottle) during your limo ride, serving Veuve Clicquot ($43) in the bridal party’s limo and enjoying affordable prosecco ($10) at the reception.
“Our brides often offer an elegant Champagne cocktail as their signature drink to each arriving guest,” says Jeanne Cretella, owner of Landmark Hospitality, which manages Liberty House Restaurant in Jersey City; Stone House at Stirling Ridge in Warren; and the Ryland Inn in Whitehouse Station. One includes the Happily-Ever-After Cocktail.
(Click here for the Happily-Ever-After Cocktail recipe, courtesy of Landmark Hospitality.)
If you and your beau are avid Champagne lovers, add even more fizz. Orchestrate the popping of corks just after you say “I do.” Ask family and friends to sign a magnum of Champagne to be uncorked on your first anniversary. Or give bottles of bubbly as guest favors, graced by custom labels commemorating your big day.
Learn more at a champagne and sparkling wine tasting this season:
– Tewksbury Fine Wine & Spirits, Oldwick; 908-439-0007; tewksburyfinewine.com.
– Gary’s Wine & Marketplace, Madison, Bernardsville and Wayne; 888-994-2797; garyswine.com.|
– Liberty House Restaurant, Jersey City, and Stone House at Stirling Ridge, Warren, host monthly Thursday evening cocktail classes. Call 866-683-3586 to be added to their mailing list or like them on Facebook.