I am so happy to have Hana-Lee from the local blog Wander and Wine here to give us some awesome tips about planning for your champagne toast!
Hane-Lee is a certified sommelier and an expert when it comes to wine pairings. Today she is sharing some of her insiders knowledge about planning your toast and also a list of budget friendly options that will taste great and not break the bank.
Take it away Hana-Lee!
Post by Hana-Lee from Wander and Wine Blog
Yay! You’re getting married! It’s a very exciting time in your life that will no doubt be full of champagne and celebrations. So when it comes to choosing a sparkling wine for the Champagne Toast, where do you even start? A lot of the good Champagne from France will cost you $35 and up per bottle, which might be a bit out of your price range (especially with that 250 person guest list and Uncle Larry’s affinity for spraying champagne bottles in large groups).
Well, there are plenty of options depending on your budget and taste and, with a little guidance, it’s easy to find the perfect sparkling wine for the toast. First, a quick lesson on sparkling wines.
Sparkling Wine vs. Champagne
Most sparkling wines are made from the Pinot Noir or Chardonnay grapes. In the Champagne region of France, sparkling wine is known as Champagne. Outside of the Champagne region, French sparkling wines are simply known as Cremant. Everywhere else in the world, bubbly is referred to as just “sparkling wine” or by regional names such as Prosecco or Cava. Prosecco, an Italian sparkling wine, is typically a very affordable option. It’s fruity, slightly sweet and simple, with less alcohol than many other bubbly options. Spain’s is called Cava and is made from Spanish grapes. It can be very similar in flavor to traditional Champagne from France, and is typically dry and lively with a lot of bubbles. Like Prosecco, it’s also a great value.
Sparkling wines are categorized by sweetness, from Extra Brut (extra dry and crisp) to Brut (dry) to Extra Dry (slightly sweet) to Demi-Sec (very sweet). Brut is the most popular and food friendly style, and is what I typically recommend for large events.
So, how many bottles should you buy?
Well, that depends on whether you want the sparkling wine available for the toast only or throughout the wedding. It’s best to plan on one drink per guest per hour of the reception (of any booze). If that sounds like too little, remember that for every Uncle Larry in the mix there will be an Aunt Susan who doesn’t drink at all. For the toast only, plan for 1 bottle of sparkling wine for every 7-8 guests.
Here are a few great options that are widely available and won’t break the bank, but most importantly, will feel more special than the average bottle:
1. Domaine Luquet Roger Brut Blanc de Blancs ($19) – made solely from Chardonnay grapes, this smooth French sparkling wine has aromas of lemon and pound cake, with apple flavors and a creamy mouthfeel. It’s a great wine that seems much more expensive than it is!
2. Domaine Chandon Brut Classic ($15) – this is a lovely sparkling wine out of California. It’s dry, with aromas of citrus, bread dough and a slightly spicy finish. It’s elegant, crisp and is a consistently good wine year in and year out.
3. Louis Bouillot Cremant de Bourgogne Brut Rosé ($12) – this is a really nice, affordable sparkling pink wine, if you’re looking for something a little different than the standard sparkler. It’s got some light strawberry aromas with a creamy mouthfeel and just a hint of sweetness on the finish. The color of this wine is a beautiful salmon-pink that will certainly liven up any table.
4. Roederer Estate Anderson Valley Brut ($18) – a California wine made by a highly regarded French producer, this bubbly has wonderful honeysuckle and lemon custard aromas with a dry finish. It’s a classy sparkling wine with yeasty characteristics that linger in the mouth.
5. Mumm Napa Brut Prestige ($19) – this sparkler has lots of vibrant apple flavors, complemented by complex black licorice, vanilla and floral aromas. It’s approachable with a hint of bubbly sweetness and a nice structure.
6. Freixenet Cordon Negro Brut Cava ($8) – this cava is fruity and easy to drink, especially compared to others in this price range. It’s got aromas of spiced apples, quince paste and vanilla, with a fresh juiciness to the mouthfeel. The sleek bottle is all black, too – perfect for a black and white themed wedding.
7. Rondel Brut Cava ($8) – an extremely affordable, dry wine that not only looks pretty (the bottle is a beautiful blue) but is tasty too. It’s got rich aromas of creme brûlée and caramel, with subtle flavors of honey and apples. It’s simple and not short on effervescence!