Wine and weddings – then and now

Posted on: 4th February, 2019

Category: The Wine Buff

Contributor: Tony Eklof

Tony Eklof, originally from New England, has settled in Clonakilty after a career as a librarian at University College Dublin. His knowledge and passion for wine has been inspired by frequent visits to the wine growing regions of the continent, particularly Italy and France.

The Marriage at Cana, as described in the Gospel of John,  refers to the event when the wine ran out at a wedding in Cana, Galilee, and Jesus performed a sign of his glory by turning water into wine. 

The story caught the imagination of some of the greatest Renaissance artists, including Veronese of Venice, Giotto in his landmark frescoes in Padua, and Tintoretto where his glorious depiction, ‘Le Nozze de Cana’, is on display in the iconic Basilica della Santa Maria Salute, the last great building constructed in Venice.

As the church was a short hop and a skip from the hotel we were staying in last November we got a chance to see this superb work. In the foreground you can  see a strong man lifting what must be one of the huge vessels of wine, perhaps after Jesus had performed his miracle? I can’t find any reference to what sort of wine it might have been. Cabernet? Chardonnay?

In any case, it seems weddings have moved on from the days of Cana. Look closely at Tintoretto’s masterpiece, not a ‘chocolate fountain’ in sight, not to mention a cupcake or a ‘wedding donut wall’. 

So, what to advise if you are planning or helping to plan a wedding with regard to the wine? Your first and most important decision will be whether to choose a wine from your hotel list or to bring your own and cough up the corkage which the hotel will inevitably charge. The attraction of the first is obvious, leave it to the hotel, no fuss, no transporting bottles to the hotel. Personally in person, as one of my favourite author’s comic creations* is fond of saying, I would go for the latter option. If you take the trouble to research a nice light wine that will go both with the starters and afters, you can find plenty of well-priced examples which when even after corkage is factored in, will probably come out less expensive than the cheapest wine on the list. Below I suggest one example. 

As to what wine would match your ‘wedding donut’ I’m afraid I’m at a total loss. 

*Catarella, in Andrea Camilleri’s wonderful Montalbano novels.

Recommendation: Reserve de la Saurine, Red, White, or Rose, M&S. €9. Lovely, easy-drinking wines from the southern Rhone.

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