Wedding season is upon us and, due to a positive confluence of factors, weddings in the UK no longer have restricted guest numbers. With the added benefit of a spell of unusually fine weather predicted during August and September, this wedding season could bring a dose of much needed normality back to life in the UK.
The perfect wedding gift
When it comes to attending a wedding, alongside choosing the right outfit and hat, finding the right wedding gift can be a little tricky, especially if there is no wedding list to guide your choices.
Thankfully, a fine wine makes for an exceptional wedding gift, offering the happy couple the option of indulging in their favourite vintage or squirreling it away as a wine investment opportunity.
In this article, we’ll be setting out some guidelines on how to pick out an exceptional wedding wine and suggesting five wines that would make fantastic gifts this wedding season.
How to choose the perfect wedding wine
When it comes to choosing the perfect wedding wine, there are a few factors to keep in mind, including:
Personalising a wedding wine comes in two forms. If the couple you are buying it for are casual drinkers, you’ll want to personalise the wine based on shared experiences or meaningful moments in your friendship.
Excellent wine is available from across the globe, so it could be as simple as getting a nice bottle from the place they, or you, first met. The same applies to shared holiday destinations or where the newly married couple plan to honeymoon.
You might also choose a bottle from the same year that the couple met, or the year that you met them.
If you do find a bottle that has particular personal meaning to you and the newlyweds, make sure you include a tag or personal note that explains exactly why you choose it and why it reminds you of them.
The second, and arguably easier, form of personalisation is picking a bottle that suits a couple with a finer palate.
Most wine enthusiasts have a preferred grape, vintage, or even vineyard. Getting a bottle that hits all their preferences is both an excellent gift and a great way of emphasising your friendship.
Pricing can be a little bit of a loaded term when it comes to purchasing a wedding wine. Not everyone has an unlimited budget to spend on rare wine as a gift.
The good news is that there is a set guideline you can use.
The general rule is that you should spend around the same amount on a wedding gift as the price-per-head of the wedding itself.
It should be noted that this is just a guideline. Weddings are an inherently sentimental celebration, not a formal exchange of gifts. A well thought out wine purchase that reflects your friendship and history with the couple will resonate regardless of the price point.
Part of what makes fine wine such an excellent wedding gift is that it is both a consumable and an investment opportunity. The rare wine market showed record breaking growth even during the economic downturn of 2020 and that upward trend has continued into 2021.
When it comes to purchasing bottles or wine casks for investment, there are some additional factors to consider, including:
- Age-worthiness – The key to an effective investment wine is how well it will age. A wine’s age-worthiness is based on its combination of alcohol, sugars, tannins, and particular flavour.
Understanding what makes a wine age-worthy is key to choosing an investment wine.
- Scarcity – As with all investments, the scarcity of the item goods being invested in plays a significant part in its long term value. This means investing in a limited edition wine usually results in greater returns.
An alternative to buying a bottle of wine is to vest in wine futures on behalf of the newlyweds. Wine futures are wines that are still in the cask.
Buying wine casks, also known as buying en primeur is slightly more risky, but could result in a significant return if the value of the wine rises when it is bottled.
- Appreciation – As a general rule, fine wines tend to appreciate in price over a minimum of a ten-year period. This is because investment grade wines often reach their peak maturity, and therefore value, around 10-years after being bottled.
Five of the best wines for a wedding gift
If you like the idea of wine as a wedding gift, but still aren’t sure what to choose, we’ve put together a list of our top five picks for excellent wedding wines.
Three of the bottles we’ve suggested are excellent drinkers and two are great investment opportunities.
Marchesi di Barolo Roero Arneis 2016
Produced from the star white grape of Piedmont on the family owned and operated Marchesi di Barolo estate, this 2016 vintage Arneis is characterized by its antique gold colouring, and fragrant fresh taste.
Aged in large Slavonian oak casks, this wine has a full body filled with rich and intense flavours of peaches, lemons, tropical fruits and green hazelnuts. The fresh taste fades to a slow, soft, and sweet finish.
Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars Artemis Cabernet Sauvignon 2018
A blend of wines produced across the Napa Valley come together to create this 2018 vintage Cabernet Sauvignon.
It is primarily Cabernet Sauvignon grapes from the Rancho Chimiles Vineyard in Wooden Valley and the Arcadia Vineyard in Coombsville with a touch of Petit Verdot and Malbec.
A deep and intense red with notes of chocolate red fruits, tobacco and cedarwood. The full-bodied mouthfeel compliments the tannins and the lengthy, almost savory, finish that makes it an excellent compliment to red meat and wild mushrooms.
Pio Cesare Barolo 2016
Another entry from the Barolo region, this 2016 vintage Nebbiolo comes from a fifth generation winery that draws from five surrounding villages to create this particular blend.
While this isn’t one of our investment wines, it would benefit from some time in the cellar, growing more complex from 2022 onwards.
Vigorous and spicy, this wine starts with a nose of berries and wild herbs before moving onto a full-bodied mouthfeel full of oranges, raspberry, cherry, and and soft tannins
Paul Hobbs Katherine Lindsay Estate Vineyard Pinot Noir 2018
Aged in new French oak, this 2018 vintage Pinot Noir comes from Russian River in Sonoma County, California.
Paul Hobbs and his winery have been growing a reputation for innovation and producing fantastic wines and this line of Pinot Noirs has never scored less than 91/100 with the critics since its launch in 2006.
That kind of pedigree, and the fact that the 2018 vintage scored between 99 and 94 with the critics, makes this red an excellent investment wine.
Château de Saint Cosme Gigondas Hominis Fides Blanc 2019
A white Rhône blend from the southern region of Gigondas, a close neighbor to the world renowned Chateauneuf-du-Pape, this 2019 vintage stands out as an investment opportunity because of its unique nature.
The white counterpart to the hugely well regarded Hominis Fides Grenache, the Hominis Fides Blanc remains the only white wine produced by Château de Saint Cosme Gigondas, with that scarcity adding to its value as an investment wine.