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Fine Wine & Good Spirits

Prince William and Kate Middleton followed their royal wedding, a tradition-heavy morning ceremony, with a festive brunch. Were they onto something?

We tend to think of the meals that accompany weddings as evening affairs. But for brides who love brunch, a delicious and leisurely late-morning or early afternoon meal can also be a delightful part of the wedding celebration, either as the reception immediately following a daytime wedding, as an extra treat the morning after the wedding or even as a venue for a bridal shower. Some wine-loving wedding planners may hesitate before planning an important brunch – is it appropriate to serve wine early in the day? Does wine go with the eggy, cheesy, pastry-centric dishes included on classic brunch menus? Can we still get all our toasting in? Happily, the answers are yes, yes and yes. It’s easy to pair delicious and festive wines with every part of a brunch, get your Champagne on and still enjoy responsibly. Visit your local PA Wine & Spirits Store or browse to learn how.

What goes with “creamy”? Classic brunch dishes center around cheese and eggs – omelets, fritattas, quiches and other creamy, cheesy treats. These foods beg to be paired with crisp, white wines that balance the rich dish, and refresh the palate with every sip, such as a bright, unoaked Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio or Chenin Blanc. But sparkling wines really fill the bill – after a few scrumptious forkfuls of Eggs Benedict, you’ll crave their effervescence and light acidity. Look for dry Champagne from France, or expertly crafted American versions. Italian prosecco or Spanish cava will provide similar refreshing qualities and more bubbles for your buck.

For the raw bar and carving station. Seafood often plays a big part on the brunch menu, and many of the wines mentioned above will shine with these dishes too. Dry French white wines such as Sancerre or Champagne are time-tested matches for shellfish. Be sure to consider sauces or sides accompanying your oysters, shrimp or scallops: Vinaigrettes are notoriously difficult to match with wine, but light, lemony sauces shine with dry white wines. Is there ham under your hollandaise? That calls for wine with a hint of sweetness – a fruity rosé or a Riesling that’s not bone-dry.

Here comes the pastry tray. It’s not a celebration without sweets, and there are wines to pair with everything from wedding cake to cannoli. Look for semi-dry or sweet sparklers to pair with such treats. Italy produces two perfect bubblies to sip with dessert: Asti, a light, sparkling Moscato; and Brachetto d’Acqui, a deep pink sparkler sure to complement anything chocolatey.

Cheers. If there’s a wedding, there will be toasts. There should be no shortage of bubbly, as it pairs so beautifully with brunch foods. But if you’re looking for something very special to make an important toast, consider a vintage Champagne, which winemakers set aside as particularly high quality; or a blanc de blancs, a rarer Champagne made with only Chardonnay grapes. Ask a wine specialist at a Premium Collection PA Wine & Spirits Store to guide you through the possibilities.

And enjoy responsibly. Your guests may not have the option of falling directly into bed after your brunch celebration – so remember to enjoy responsibly. Make sure revelers enjoy the buffet as much as the bar, and that plenty of water and other non-alcoholic beverages are available. If you’re serving white wines, the good news is that these have lower alcohol content that most red wines and spirits. You can stretch your sparkling wines farther by mixing them with tasty fruit juices or purees, such as passionfruit or peach. And nothing says brunch like the classic mimosa, sparkling wine with a splash of fresh orange juice. Sound good? Let’s do brunch!

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