So what does a wine critic choose to serve at a wedding when one of his sons is the groom? My middle son James and his fiancé Naomi are getting married next week and there has been much to organise.
But central to my way of thinking is which wines we are going to serve at the reception.
I have been involved in wedding receptions most of my working life and if I had two bits of advice it would be these.
Firstly, keep it simple. And that goes for any large event. The more choice you give guests, the greater the opportunity for something to go wrong.
A fizz, a red and a white wine are all you need.
Secondly, you are never going to please everyone so don’t even try. You need to think about wines that will appeal to a broad audience, are food-friendly, and most importantly, that the happy couple are going to enjoy themselves.
Sparkling wine is what most people associate with wedding receptions and Champagne has always been synonymous with nuptials.
But with the rise in both quality and popularity of English sparkling wines, that is beginning to change. We now live in one of the most exciting wine regions in the world and we should be flying the flag of local produce, especially when some of it is truly world class.
So for their big day we have chosen Hambledon Classic Cuvée Rosé NV, Hampshire (Hermitage Cellars £29.95, hambledon.co.uk £35.00 and other stockists locally).
It’s one of England’s finest sparkling rosés, with its pretty pink colour and lively mousse. There are notes of strawberries and red cherries on the nose, followed by more red fruits on the palate with a lovely fruit driven yet crisp finish.
Our family has strong links with South Africa and so it seemed appropriate to choose a pair of Cape wines to serve with the wedding breakfast, especially as the bride and groom have visited a number of vineyards in the Cape winelands.
Andrew and Rosy Gunn, owners of Iona Vineyard, have become friends of ours and their vineyards situated near the coast on the Highlands of Elgin produce some of South Africa’s most elegant, cool climate wines.
Iona Sauvignon Blanc 2018, Elgin (Hermitage Cellars £11.85) is in many ways closer to the Loire Valley in style than it is to Marlborough with citrus, some tropical fruit and green herbs on the nose, the palate offers real purity with a touch of minerality and an elegant, long, beautifully balanced finish.
Roan Ranger 2017, Darling (Hermitage Cellars £8.90) is a blend of cinsault, grenache and mourvèdre from old bush vines and is a very clever play on words with a quite beautiful label.
It is one of those wines which is eminently drinkable with juicy red fruits and a touch of spice on the nose followed by more juicy fruit, silky tannins and lingering finish.
Here’s to the happy couple!