Are you bored of hosting the same old dinner or house parties? If you would like to try something different with your friends, then consider injecting a little class and sophistication (not to mention fun) with a wine tasting evening. It may seem like an intimidating prospect that will require heaps of knowledge and equipment, but this is not the case.Also Make Your Kitchen Beautiful With the Help of Kitchens Cheshire
With that in mind, please allow us to present our quick guide to hosting the perfect wine tasting evening.
Where to start?
The first thing that you should consider is a theme for your party. It is no good to simply pop into your local supermarket and grab a bunch of random bottles. Your evening will lack coherence and the flavours of the wines will clash with one another. Some ideas to consider are:
- Choose a region of the world and sample different wines from it.
- Choose a varietal (Merlot, for example) and try different examples of it from around the world.
- Horizontal tasting: this is when you choose a varietal and a specific year and sample each.
- Choose a winemaker
- Choose a type (reds, whites, sparkling etc.)
The food situation is the next thing to consider. Serving food with the wine will destroy the flavours, so you need to either tell your guests to eat before they come, serve a light meal prior to tasting or something for afterwards. Make sure that your guests are fully aware of the food situation beforehand, and also make sure you put out some bread and/or crackers to act as palette cleansers.
The first thing on your shopping list, if you do not already have them are some decent glasses. One per guest should be sufficient unless you want to give them a fresh glass with each new wine, but that will be a little unrealistic for a home party. Make sure that they are clear, so that guests can see the wine, and make sure that they have stems, so that the wine does not become warm with body temperature.
When shopping for the wine itself, choose wine from different price ranges. Each bottle will serve about five full glasses or enough for six to ten people for tasting, so make sure that you buy plenty.
Other items that you will need include corkscrews (more than one), a wine opener, a spittoon (a large bowl or individual cups will suffice), an ice bucket if you are having white wine, a decanter for reds, a white tablecloth to help the colour of the wine stand out, tasting grids (available online) and some table water. Kitchens Surrey
Six to twelve people is a good number for a wine tasting, but this number will depend on how much room you have around your table. You want enough people to comfortably stand around it without extras who will have to lean over other guests to join in. It will make things uncomfortable for the people around the table and the people on the outside will feel alienated.
Consider everybody’s wine knowledge as well. If everybody is clueless or everybody is a buff then that is fine. However, you want to avoid the situation where you have one person who knows nothing amongst a load of experts, or one know-it-all who is giving everybody lectures.
Your evening is finally here; your guests have arrived, the table is set and you are ready to go. Let us therefore provide you with a short introduction to wine tasting to get you on your way:
- Ø Introduce the wine you will be drinking and give a few facts about its origin.
- Ø Pour a small amount and swirl the wine to allow it to breathe.
- Ø Smell the wine and try to focus on the individual aromas.
- Ø Take a small sip, swirl it around in your mouth then swallow or spit it out.
Make sure that you taste the wine in order from lightest to darkest, otherwise the darker flavours will corrupt the lighter ones. The only exception to this rule is if you have a dessert wine, which should always be left until last, regardless of its strength. Similar wines, such as ones from consecutive years, should also be tasted in order. It is best to work this all out ahead of time and have the bottles lined up in order to help your evening flow better.
After each wine has been sampled, give people time to consider and write down their impressions. It is best to do this before opening the subject up to discussion so that peoples’ opinions are not influenced by others. People without much experience of wine may feel a bit shy or silly doing this, which is why it is important to invite people of a similar ability. Things to consider when making notes are:
- Ø Aromas and flavours (fruits, chocolate, earth etc.)
- Ø Texture and weight (light, crisp, full-bodied, rough or smooth)
- Ø Balance (does one flavour dominate or is it a blend?)
- Ø Finish (does the flavour linger or vanish quickly)
There you have our quick and simple guide to a fabulous wine-tasting evening, suitable for amateurs and connoisseurs alike. Do you put on wine-tasting evenings for your friends and, if so, do you have any suggestions that we have missed? Or maybe you are just thinking about putting on your first one? Either way, let us know in the comments below.
Oh, and one more thing, please try and avoid the ultimate wine-tasting faux-pas: Do not get drunk!