I am a lucky guy. Not to boast, but I have what is arguably the best job in the universe, and I'm getting married to the sweetest girl in the world in just a couple months.

   In planning the wedding, there are issues that I, a male of my generation, am unequipped to handle. I don't know why each invitation includes so many envelopes. I am baffled by the difference between square and round patio lanterns. I don't consider a choice between The Pointer Sisters' "Fire" and Eric Clapton's "Wonderful Tonight" to be much of a choice at all.

   When it comes to the wine, I had better be interested. Our centerpieces will be three wine bottles: one cut just below the shoulders as a vase for some flowers, and two more that will be full of wine. Cute plan, no? 

   Last night she made a lasagna similar to the one we'll be enjoying on that evening in June, and I brought two bottles of red and two bottles of white. Since I work in the wine industry, I can't afford the wine I want. What we're looking for is inexpensive wine in availability, that tastes good in a crowd pleasing sense. Bonus points for a cute bottle.



   First up, I grabbed a bottle of 2009 Monte Oton by Borsao. This inexpensive grenache from Spain is what I would consider a consistent value (along with the Ateca Garnacha de Fuego, another good grenache, but something about the flame on the label just doesn't work for our occasion). The Monte Oton is an easygoing wine, with big cherry notes and just a little spice and espresso roast to keep it serious.

   Next, the 2009 Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Villages is usually like ten bucks, but for the rest of March (that's nine more days) it's on sale for $5.99. With 2009 as the best vintage for Beaujolais in memory, plus this outstanding price, I had to at least give it a try. It's good. A textbook example of carbonic maceration, it's all strawberries and bananas, super fruity and super drinkable.

   The verdict? Both bottles have cute labels, are affordable and easy to drink. Either would be great, but my fiancee has a love for grenache, so the people at our wedding can look forward to finding a bottle of Monte Oton on their table. Then I made sangria with the Beaujolais.



   As uneventful as it seems, the Lindeman's Bin 65 Chardonnay is a great value. It features plenty of fruit apricot and pineapple, mostly and enough of the sweetening effects of wood aging without being overwhelmingly oaky.

   With pleasing the crowd in mind some friends and family members do drink only sweet blue-bottle riesling I grabbed a wine that screams spring: the 2009 Gazela Vinho Verde. This would not be my first choice of beverage, pretty much ever. But it is one of the lightest, easiest drinking wines out there, with faint hints of fruit and a tiny amount of fizziness, making it just about right for a nice afternoon. 

   The verdict here? I thought either would have been okay, if not my favorite. As it became clear that my fiancee felt the same, I decided to make it easier by running to the nearest Binny's to grab one more bottle. I was thinking of Las Brisas, a deliciously light, floral and crisp Spanish white, but it's temporarily unavailable. Choice No. 4, which also hapenned to be the recommendation of the wine manager, was Clean Slate Riesling.

   2009 Clean Slate is one of the best values from Germany; it's a dry(ish) style riesling, with lots of bright lemon peel and granny smith apple. I think it was a genuine smile that followed the Clean Slate on my fiancee's lips, and then she said "That's really good." Easy enough; that's the one for us.



   ... Now all I have to do is talk the caterer down on the corkage fee. And talk my fiancee into letting the band play Patsy Cline's version of "Crazy."