You needn’t go to a winery to have a wine tasting. A wine tasting in your home is a unique spin on the tired old cocktail party. And, you needn’t be a sommelier to pick wines for a tasting. Here are some tips to help you host a wonderful wine tasting. First make your guest list and send your invitations at least two weeks in advance. We have the perfect invitation for this event, called “Wine Tasting”.
Next, think about the wines you’ll choose. For most tastings, three white wines and three red wines is appropriate. You might also choose to serve dessert at the end of your tasting and pair it with a sweet dessert wine. Pair your wines with cheeses that are suited to the flavor of the wine. Here are some suggestions:
White Wine and Cheese Pairings:
Gewurztraminer & Swiss
Riesling & Gouda
Chardonnay & Baked Brie
Red Wines and Cheese Pairings:
Italian Chianti & Gruyere
Zinfandel & Muenster
Cabernet Sauvignon & Blue Cheese
Dessert Wine Recommendation:
Muscat with Cheesecake
In addition to your cheese, you’ll want to provide some bread for your tasters to use to cleanse their palates between tastings. Other than this, apart from some dessert at the end, you don’t really need to serve food. However, if you wish you might have a simple plate of appetizers for guests to enjoy while you’re waiting for all the guests to arrive. You don’t want to begin the tasting until everyone is there.
A wine tasting needn’t be fancy, but it should have an air of elegance about it. You might choose to serve Italian wines and decorate around this theme, using old wine bottles for vases and giving your home a Tuscan feel. Or, if you choose to include both domestic and imported wines, you might stick with simple elegance; white tablecloths and candles with a few flowers and your best glasses.
Tips for the Evening
When you begin your tasting, you’ll work from sweet to dry with white wines and progress from light to full-bodied with red wines. You might want to spend a little time learning how to properly taste wine before the party so that you know how to take in the color, bouquet and flavor of each wine. If your guests are novices, offer them a little wine tasting lesson before you begin.
Design a tasting card that specifies the type of wine, the producing vineyard, the year and a brief description of the wine (usually found on the wine’s label). Make sure that each guest has his/her own tasting card to record the wine’s distinct appearance, aroma, flavor, and cheese pairing nuances. This helps guests remember which wines they like for purchase later.
You’ll need a pitcher of water so that each taster can rinse his/her glass after tasting each wine. You’ll also need a dump bucket for dumping remaining wine at the end of each taste. Remember that you don’t pour a full glass for tasting; rather, just a taste.
It’s a nice option to have a second bottle of each type of wine on hand. This way, when the tasting is over if your guests want to linger for a while you can offer them a full glass of their favorite wine from the evening.