Author: Sue Straight
Here is a recipe for a fun and informative wine tasting party:
6 to 8 wine-curious friends
Enough wine glasses so everyone has a glass for each wine lined up in front of them, plus a glass for water; if you are tasting 6 wines and you have 6 tasters, you will need 42 glasses. Make sure that the glasses are all the same size and shape. This is important, but I’ll get into why in another tip. Stay tuned…
Wine evaluation sheets
It’s really fun to explore different wines or themes (wines make by women, BBQ wines, sweet wines, etc.) with your group. I belonged to a tasting group like this for many years and we used to do a monthly blind tasting and it was a blast! Every month, a different member of the group would host the tasting. The host picks the wines and lets everyone know which wines and foods to bring. People can bring their own wine glasses if the host doesn’t have enough for everyone – not everyone has 48 matching wine glasses!
Here’s what you do:
Let’s say you want to make Zinfandel the theme of the party. Have each guest bring a bottle of Zinfandel and a food that pairs well with it (sausage, BBQ ribs, hearty cheeses, etc). Have the host be in charge of “bagging the bottles”. In another room, the host puts each wine in a brown paper bag, numbers the bag, records the number on a sheet of paper and removes the foils from the bottles and opens and pours the wines for each guest. This way, the guests have no idea which wine they will be tasting, other than the varietal (Zinfandel, for example). If you have 6 guests (including the host), you will have 6 wines to taste.
Give each guest a wine evaluation sheet that has a line for each wine, and include room for visual, aroma and taste impressions for each wine. It’s also fun to rank the wines – the less known and/or less expensive wines often show well and even win these blind tastings.
Have the host pour all the wines, then everyone can swirl, sniff, sip and spit (a good idea!) to their heart’s content. Have everyone write their impressions of each wine down and rank the wines from most favorite to least favorite. When everyone is finished writing and ranking, the host will then “unveil” the bottles. There will be gasps of surprise, because when you taste wines “blind” all of your pre-conceived notions about price, producer, and ratings from wine critics and competitions will be challenged. You will have to rely on your own good taste! After all, taste is an individual thing and wine is no exception. After the excitement has died down, dig into the food and enjoy your favorite wines.
The Wine Wench®