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Wine, Dine and Be Married


A glass of wine has always been associated with elegance, class and maturity - the same qualities you wish to achieve for your wedding reception. Hence choosing the right wine as important as tasting the food that will be served on your wedding day ahead of time. Tasting and choosing wines can be a fun and enjoyable process, and should start about 2 to 3 months prior to the actual day.

Cheers. Photo by Studio Impressions. Wedding of Shin and Allen.

Let’s start by getting to know the basic of wine and understanding the process of tasting wine.


  • This is the process of looking at the wine in the glass. Look for hue, intensity of color and clarity of the wine against a white background.
  • Each of these elements reveals the quality, age, weight and character of the wine.
  • Common descriptive for sight are Purple, Ruby, Tawny, Brick-red, Cloudy, Brilliant.


  • This is process of accessing the aromas of the wine. It is the primary introduction into the character, origin and history of the wine.
  • The aroma of the wine will reveal the elements of the wine’s bouquet and complexity, and most importantly its characteristics.


  • This process confirms the aromas, with added information on texture, weight, body, structure, tannins and longevity of the wine.

Whether you are looking for wines for special occasion or to start a collection, it will be helpful to take note of 3 basic elements of wine during the wine tasting process.

Three basic and common faults to look out for are:

  • Cloudiness (a sign of spoilage)
  • Wet cardboard aromas (sign of a wine corked wine)
  • Oxidation (flat aromas and brown in colour)


  • The wine’s acidity, sweetness, tannins, weight and flavors do not overpower each other.
  • All elements present itself equally and it doesn’t determine the price of the wine.


  • Also referred to as the finish of the wine. When the wine is tasted, swallowed or spat out during a session of wine tasting, and its flavors still lingers in the mouth and nose, it’s a good sign that the wine is well made.

WHITE - Sauvignon Blanc (so-vin-yon Blahnk)

  • Typical characteristics are dry, crisp and refreshing, grassy and herbeaous. Flavors of perfume, gooseberries, lychee, pineapple, citrus, and melon. Drink best in its youth, and well chilled.

WHITE - Chardonnay (shar-dun-nay)

  • Queen of White wine. It capable of a much wider range of styles and quality, ranging from lean and tart to extremely rich and luscious. It is usually bottled still, but it is a key ingredient in the making of Champagne or Sparkling wine.
  • The element of oak or wood is important in the making and structure of Chardonnay
  • Flavors are bold, ripe, rich and intense fruit such as, apple, fig, melon, pear, peach, pineapple, lemon and grapefruit. It consist elements of spice, honey, butter, vanilla, hazelnut, yeast, and toast.
  • Most Chardonnay does not keep beyond 3 to 5 years, except for the exceptionally well made ones (French).
  • Need to be served chilled.

RED - Cabernet Sauvignon (cab-er-nay so-vin-yon)

  • King of Red wine. This small thick skin grape offers wining combination of top quality despite its origin.
  • Although it is usually bottled on its own, but it is the foundation for famous and expensive blends for Bordeaux, Tuscany and new world meritage.
  • Intense in color. Aromas and flavors of currant (Ribena), plum, black cherry, spice, herb, olive, mint, tobacco/cigar, cedar, anise, and ripe jammy fruits. Tannic with firm acidity. Usually full body, great intensity, and concentrated flavor.

RED - Pinot Noir (pee-no nwa)

  • A very sensitive grape to grow and handle that ripens early.
  • It is bottle still, but it is also a key ingredient in the making of Champagne and Sparkling Wines.
  • Usually light in color with characteristics of black cherry, spice, raspberry, strawberry and currant flavor. Aromas of wilted roses, earth, herb, and cola, sometime herbal, vegetal, and weedy.

Other types of white varieties are Viognier, Semillon, Chenin Blanc, Pinot Blanc, Muscat, Riesling, Gewurztraminer.

RED - Merlot (mur-lo)

  • A key grape variety to the St Emilion and Pomerol regions of Bordeaux.
  • Usually used to blend with Cabernet Sauvignon. High alcohol content, lush and chewy texture. Opulent and fat, rich and smooth weight. Less tannic and acidic, slightly sweet with loads of finesse.

RED - Syrah/Shiraz (sih-rah /shih-rahz)

  • A key grape variety in Rhone, but now it is commonly found in regions such as California and Australia.
  • Shiraz is Syrah. It thrives in both warmer (sweet exotic style) and cooler (rich pepperish style) regions.
  • Flavors are rich and complex. Consist of cedar, pepper, spice, black cherry, tar, leather, and toasted nut, blackcurrant from mature Syrah. Smooth and supple texture, fairly tannic when young.

RED - Zinfandel (zihn-fan-dell)

  • This is quintessential to California. A grape variety with extremely high sugar level that translate into higher alcohol content. It is zesty, spicy, pepper, raspberry, cherry, wild berry and plum flavors. Also includes elements of tar, earth, and leathery notes. White Zinfandel is blush in color, slightly sweet.

Other types of Red varieties are Sangiovese, Grenache, Malbec, Petit Verdot, Tempranillo, Cabernet Franc, Gamay.

Just like how you won’t be wearing neon pink tennis shoes with your wedding gown, you want to make sure that the wines you select for your wedding reception pairs with your food like a handsome couple! Check out our pointers for a general feel of how to match your wines to the cuisine you selected! When in doubt always ask your wine seller for recommendations, they would be most glad to assist you with your choice!

Standard of white wine with white meat and red wine with red meat still applies. Feel free to experiment but the above guideline can serve as a good guideline.
A western menu will be a little more flexible in matching it with wine. This is because most western menus, from the key ingredients used to the way they are cooked, are arranged almost in the same way as how wine should be tasted. It is always from light to heavy.

While wine matches most cuisines very well, please take note of food that is too spicy - it can be difficult to match spicy and highly acidic food.
For most Chinese wedding menus, it is better to serve white wine that is slightly sweeter, crispy and fresh in texture. Red wine should not be too fruity or big in texture. It is should be balance, with soft tannin and youthful fruit flavors.
Chinese menus are tricky to match because of the way the key ingredients used and served. Hence it is important to source for wines that will be compatible and cover most of the dinner courses.

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Keywords: Food and Drink, Wedding Planning

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