Useful Tips

How to organize a wine tasting party

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Wine tasting is an event where they try new wines, enjoy the nuances of taste and aroma, admire the color or play of bubbles of a sparkling drink in a glass. This is a great pleasure, which will be even greater if you share it with friends. Let's talk about the rules of etiquette, compliance with which will make home-made wine tasting an extremely pleasant and long-memorable event for you and your guests.

First, we note that the classic tasting, which serves nothing but wine, water and bread or crackers, is very rare at home. Basically, we invite guests to friendly gatherings, where we drink wine for appetizers or more solid dishes and share our impressions. It is about such an event that will be discussed today. Before you begin, you can recall that we already wrote about wine tastings, but not within the house, but in restaurants, bars or wineries.

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To let the New Year party drift - quite often this means not to be at the epicenter of fun, but to spend a few dull night hours in front of the TV. Need a plan to hold an idea together. The evening was Mexican - it was inappropriate, the pajama party was inappropriate, the trip to the country house was cold. What about a wine tasting party? Read about how to organize it and spend it with a bang!

What is the principle of wine selection?

It can be one country or region of production, one grape variety, one style or even one vintage. Such a logical approach will help to avoid chaos in the heads of guests and make the tasting informative and meaningful. Here are some ideas for tasting sets:

- Wine of a popular variety of the Old and New Worlds. For example, Riesling, Pinot Noir or Cabernet Sauvignon. Options for tasting Sauvignon Blanc: 1)Vinum Optimum2)Chatau Paradis Terre des Anges blanc3)Di Lenardo Venezia Giulia4)TerraMater Vineyard5)Vicar’s Choice6)Penalolen

- Blind wine tasting of different price categories: will guests be able to guess the order of prices for a particular drink, will they feel the difference between a simple table and expensive vintage wine? Options for blind tasting white dry wines: 1) Trebbiano d’Abruzzo Il Roccolo, 2) Verdicchio dei castelli di Jesi, 3) Pulenta Estate Chardonnay VIII, 4) Domaine Landrat-Guyollot, La Rambarde 5) Antonin Rodet Clos La Bressande 6)Chateau Olivier Blanc Grand Cru Classe de Graves

- The wines of one region, vintage and varieties, but from different manufacturers. Options for tasting a Tuscan Sangiovese 2013 vintage: 1) Cinque 2) Chianti Classico Bandini Villa Pomona 3) Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Le Casalte 4) Gavioli Sergavio Chianti Colli Senesi 5) Rosso di Montalcino La Fornace 6)Chianti Classico Casanuova di Nittardi

- The same wine from different vintages, once and for all to make sure that weather conditions and aging in a bottle have a serious impact on grapes. Options for a vertical tasting of Virginie de Valandraud Saint-Emilion Grand Cru wine: 2006, 2007, 2011,2012.

How much wine do you need?

It’s not at all necessary (and not even necessary at all!) To fill the glasses completely, otherwise not all guests will be able to reach the finish line without incident. One bottle of each sample should be enough for ten people (the standard tasting portion is 75-90 ml), but it is better to have a small supply hidden for the time being away from the most insatiable friends (at the end of the article you will find out why it can come in handy )

What else do we need?

- Sommelier knife (in the case of a quiet wine tasting),
- Wine glasses
- Water,
- Napkins
- A light snack with an unobtrusive taste. We recommend simply unsalted crackers, they do not spoil a single wine, and food can be served after tasting.
- An ice bucket is desirable,
- Decanter (if the tasting will have powerful red wines),
- Numbers instead of labels on bottles (for blind tasting),
- Additionally, you can use tables of vintages, maps of regions, forms of tasting notes.

Helpful hints:

- Decant wines that need it before guests arrive.
- If you still want to go against the system and accompany the wine with gastronomy, rebel wisely: choose cheeses and sausages without a strong smell.
- It may seem strange to someone to pour wine before tasting, but this has the lion's share of common sense :. So the guests do not have to wait until everything is ready, and the wine will open much better.
- Pause for fifteen minutes between the wines, so the guests will pay more attention to each sample, and not one of them will pass by, will not go unnoticed.
- Prepare an interesting story about each drink so that the tasting does not turn into a game of silence. And let everyone tell about their taste and aroma impressions.
- Serve the wine in a well-lit room in which there are no extraneous odors: if the room smelt of ham, then in wine you can’t catch anything other than “meat tones”. Therefore, the kitchen is swept away immediately!
- If you make a theme party, then be consistent until the end: as a New Year's gifts to friends, you can pick up wines. Remember the advice to stock up on the second instance of each drink? Having learned the taste preferences of the guests during the tasting, you can make a beautiful New Year's surprise: present to everyone the very stocked bottle of the drink that he liked the most. Or do without spontaneity, following instead the tips from my article What wine to put under the Christmas tree.

Wine tasting. Selection of wines and snacks

First, decide on the wines. How much to prepare them? Optimum of 5-6 varieties, otherwise the taste buds will be overloaded, which will hinder the correct assessment of the drink. Consider that one standard bottle (750 ml) is enough for 6-8 people.

You can select wines for various reasons. Here are some ideas:

  • Wines of the same type. For example, only red dry wines or semi-dry white, only pink or only sparkling.
  • Wines of one country or one region. For example, arrange an evening of Spanish, Chilean or Crimean wine.
  • Wines from grapes of one grade. It can be, for example, Chardonnay or Cabernet Sauvignon from different regions.
  • Millesime of one year. Try, say, Shiraz 2011, released by different manufacturers.

Be sure to take care of water and snacks. At home tastings, usually no one spits wine into the spittoon, drink a drink, so it is important that there is enough food and drinking water - this will help to avoid intoxication.

Pair wine + food. We talked about the classic combination of wines and snacks, you can use our tips, as well as the recommendations of the producers of the selected wines. Remember that the more democratic the wine, the easier it can be a snack to it. For young ordinary wines, cookies, sausage, simple cheese, pizza, nuts are suitable. Aged fine wines are served with meat delicacies, aged cheeses, seafood, and gourmet dishes. Fruits are suitable for both simple and chic wines.

A delicate moment: What if the guest came with his wine? On the one hand, it is permissible not to open the bottle brought. However, if the bottle is chilled, then the person probably expects it to be open. Open it. The appetizer brought by the guests is also worth putting on the table. Even if you already had a couple of wine + food ready, it’s better to step back a little from etiquette and a tasting plan than to offend people.

Wine tasting. Crockery and other necessary things

Prepare your glasses - ideally your glass for each type of wine, but you can get by with one glass for red, one for white and one for sparkling. Glasses do not need to be washed before pouring wines of a different type or variety into them. The remaining few drops of another wine will less distort the taste and aroma of the drink than drops of water.

The wines at the tasting are usually put on the table in bottles and opened immediately before pouring into the glasses. However, at home tasting, it is not forbidden to pour wine into a decanter, and if decantation is required for wine, then it even needs to be transferred, shortly before serving, to the decanter.

A tablecloth and dishes for eating at a wine tasting are most preferably white so that the color of the drink is not distorted. You can prepare notebooks or just paper and a pen for each guest - write down their impressions of wine. Discussion of entries can be very interesting!

Wine tasting. Wine cooling and serving

The serving temperature of most red wines is 16-18 ° C, white and pink 10-16 ° C, sparkling 7 ° C. If you do not have a special wine cabinet, then cooling the wine strictly to a certain temperature is difficult, and it is not necessary. Hold red wine in the refrigerator for a little while, white or pink. The sparkling wine is either placed in the refrigerator for several hours, or refrigerated in an ice bucket.

The procedure for serving wines is as follows:

  • from white to pink, from pink to red,
  • from young to mature,
  • from light to strong
  • from dry to semi-dry, semi-sweet and sweet.

Semi-sweet and sweet wines are served after dinner, and not before and not during it. The exception is a Sauternes, which can be served in front of the main course, with toast, foie gras and fig jam. Of course, sometimes you can deviate from etiquette and experiment, combining, for example, semisweet wines with fish or sweet wines with meat. However, strict adherence to etiquette implies tasting semisweet and sugary drinks only after a meal. The reader may ask: “What about the popular tradition of starting a festive lunch or dinner with champagne?” We answer: “Choose a brut!”

After uncorking the bottle, the owner or hostess pours a little wine into their glass, checks the aroma of the drink, and, if everything is in order, begin to pour it into the guests' glasses. First of all, fill a glass of honored guest, if any.

That's all the basic rules that should be followed when conducting a home wine tasting. Agree, there are not many of them and sticking to them is not difficult. Of course, sometimes you can neglect the rules and just enjoy the wine and good company, but observing the beautiful traditions that have developed over centuries is a separate pleasure. Do not deny yourself in it. Good luck with your wine tastings!

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