You’ve been wanting to expand your wine palate. What better way to do it than a wine tasting party? Here are some ways you can put together your own wine tasting with friends.
What to Order
Deciding on which wines is part of the fun, and you don’t have to go crazy and spend hundreds of dollars. A good California white wine might cost you less than £40. If you get three bottles of similar quality, you will end up spending £120. That ought to be enough to entertain six friends.
Another idea is to compare more expensive bottles of wine with less expensive ones, thus saving money on your total wine bill. You would get one good bottle of specific types, such as Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot and Pinot Grigio. Then get one inexpensive one for comparison. This could be fun with a blind tasting that will reveal what people actually think about the two wines.
You could also simply ask each person to bring their favorite wine or to provide a specific inexpensive alternative to the higher quality wine. Another way to defray costs is to ask your guests to provide the food while you handle the cost of the wine.
What You Need
To do it up right, choose clear glasses to allow your guests to see the exact color of the wine. Glasses of water that allow people to rinse their palate are a good idea, since you may not want to provide spit cups or bowls.
You should also provide notecards for guests to jot down what they smell or taste. This card can also serve as a voting tool to decide which wine is preferred by the group. If you want, you can cover the labels and give each wine a number. This creates a blind tasting situation.
Decorations are easy as you can simply use your best tablecloths or choose a seasonal theme. However, you might also want to decorate with plain crisp neutral colors such as black and white to set off the color of the wines.
Remember to have a plan for any guest that gets intoxicated and wants to drive home. One way to help reduce the chances of this is by offering a meal after the wine tasting.
However, to keep the focus on the wine, you don’t have to offer a meal. Perhaps just a few favorites such as cheese, chocolate and crackers. This could add another aspect to the wine tasting. How does the wine taste with something sweet, something salty, and so forth?
How to Party
A wine tasting party isn’t exactly a wild event, but that doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t be fun. Keep the pace slow enough to give people time to consider each wine. Pour only one ounce of wine for each guest and be sure to do it a few minutes after you have allowed the wine to breathe.
Encourage discussion, asking what they wrote down about the way the wine smells, looks or tastes. If you are feeling really brave, give a brief talk about each wine after it has been discussed and the vintage revealed. Keep it to a paragraph or share the duties with others to ensure that no one dominates the conversation.
At the end, invite people to vote on their favorite. If they have their card, they won’t have to recall which wine is which. Then try to set a time for the next wine tasting. It may just become something your friends do every month, or you may go a step further and book a slot on the Tastes of the Hunter Wine Tours.