All honey-coloured sparkle filling fine-rimmed long stems, we can’t think of anything more celebratory (or beguiling) than a champagne bar at a wedding.
Delicately ornate and arranged in repeated form on glass tabletops, marble surfaces or beautiful antique trays, favourites of ours includes crystal cut flutes or even the pure decadence of champagne fountains full-to-overflowing in an extravagant cascade.
Ever a fountain of knowledge on all things bubbly (& all things wine!) we caught up with the gorgeous pair behind one of our favourite wine stores and registries, Wine Please, picking their brains on the perfect beverages (and their unique differences) for a champagne bar on your wedding day…
Clearly passionate about wine, the different regions, origins and variables of palette, you’ve worked hard to create a beautifully curated online store and wine club that offers guidance to consumers…having tasted many, many champagnes, do you have a firm favourite?
I love Pol Roger. It’s a classic. There are so many beautiful Champagnes from small growers to the big houses but for me, Pol Roger is a classic. It was Winston Churchill’s favourite Champagne and has a fantastic story and brand. My favourite Churchill quote is ‘My tastes are simple, I am easily satisfied with the best’. Pol Roger is the Champagne that I come back to for all of our family celebrations and was our bubbles of choice for our own wedding.
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Budget aside, tell us a little about the key
differences between sparkling wine, Prosecco and
My favourite topic! All three varieties of bubbles are essentially ‘sparkling wine’ and are a perfect aperitif as well as a symbol of celebration. Sparkling wine can be made anywhere in the world, however Champagne and Prosecco are from specific regions in France and Italy respectively and must be grown and produced in line with strict rules to be able to use these names. They can be served as they are or mixed with other ingredients to make sparkling cocktails.
There are plenty of amazing sparkling wines which are made using ‘methode traditionelle’ here in Australia which would be ideal for a wedding. This is the French method for making Champagne and results in really beautiful complex flavours and small, plentiful bubbles. Ed Carr at Arras is leading the way with Australian sparkling and I recommend his bubbles to clients on a daily basis for parties and weddings. The Arras Blanc de Blanc is my favourite non-Champagne sparkling right now.
Champagne can only be made in a small region of France approximately an hour out of Paris. The Champagnes are so varied that it’s important you try them before deciding which to serve at your wedding. Most importantly it’s about the level of sweetness that you’re after. People may prefer a rich or a demi-sec which is slightly sweeter than a Brut. With Champagne you should be looking for a rich, long lasting flavour with both fruity flavours (think peaches and white cherries) and toasty elements and a little acid to keep it fresh on the palate. You’ll know when you find the one!
Likewise, Prosecco is made under strict controls however this time in Italy. Once again it’s important that you find the Prosecco Superiore, the best producers of this popular variety. Prosecco is lighter than Champagne with a more fruit forward, fresh flavour profile. This includes melons and green apples on the palate. It’s gaining popularity and is a delicious alternative for celebrations. The bubbles are created using a different method to Champagne so they tend to be lighter with less persistence. In particular Prosecco DOC Frizzante has a less lingering perlage (bubble) and is probably not ideal for weddings. If you like Prosecco I’d recommend you try a Franciacorta – it’s a sparkling from Lombardy made using Methode Traditionelle and a personal favourite of mine.
What considerations and advice would you give
those wishing to set up a bubbly bar at their
I think it’s an amazing idea… there are so many ways to do this but I would recommend keeping it simple and elegant. If you’re serving Champagne I would serve it just as it is. This would be the sparkling I’d have being circulated by the waiters on arrival and prior to speeches. A Kir Royale is a striking cocktail which can be made by adding 10mL of crème de cassis to the flute before topping up with sparkling wine. It’s a vivid purple and looks fantastic amongst the other beverages. In addition I’d serve a Bellini or Mimosa depending on the season. A Bellini for a summer wedding which is fresh white peach puree mixed with sparkling wine and a Mimosa in winter which is fresh orange juice mixed with sparkling wine.
Shop some of our favourite Champagnes
and sparkling wines (everything from the well loved to the truly
decadent) as listed below:
Arras Brut Elite NV
Pol Roger Brut NV
Villa Sandi Valdobbiandene Prosecco Superiore DOCD
Bollinger Special Cuvee Brut NV
Verve Cliquot Yellow Label Brut
Krug 2000 Clos du Mesnil
Bollinger 1996 Vieille Vignes Françaises
Louis Roderer Cristal 2004 Rosé
Ruinart R De Ruinart
Krug 1996 Clos D’Abonnay
Jacques Selosse NV Les Chantereines Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru
Chandon Brut Rose NV
Dom Perignon Vintage 2004
Krug Grand Cuvee
Moet & Chandon Ice Imperial NV
Moet and Chandom Nectar Imperial