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Entertaining:

How to Host a Wine Tasting Party

by Stuart Glasure

Looking to have some fun with friends while sharing some wine? You should consider hosting a wine tasting party. It's a really neat way to share your wine favorites and to be introduced to a variety of new and interesting wines. You can also add some spice to your fun by using a wine theme ("All About Reds", "Blindfold Tasting", etc.).

Party Size

You don´t need a lot of guests to have a great party. What I have found works best is to have about four to twelve people, and definitely include yourself as one of the registered guests. Also, I like to always have a contest during the party and give away a gift.

Theme Selection

Pick a fun theme, and remember the theme also determines what wines will be poured. You can name a theme like "The Great Italians", "The Great Whites of California", or whatever fits your mood. I would suggest being very creative, the possibilities are endless. If you tell your local wine merchant your theme, they can be a great source of help with wine and theme matching. Also, at a minimum make sure you have 4 to 6 different wine types to taste.

Food Choices

Have you heard the saying "First the wine, then your menu"? If you had a theme for your party and your wines followed that theme, you may want to carry it through with whatever food you serve. For example if you are tasting Italian Reds why not serve some Italian munchies to match.

While you do need to provide foods that complement the wines provided, the food should not the backbone of the party. Focus on the d´oeuvres such as: cheese, fruit, unsalted crackers, bread or other munchies you may have prepared for the evening. Don not forget to have lots of bottled room temperature water and optional spit buckets available.

When all the tasting is done, you may want to have plenty of coffee and desserts. This is also a great time to break out one of your favorite dessert wines.

To experience the full pleasure of the wine, it is important that you serve them at the correct temperature. Below are the basic temperature guidelines:

 
Temperature per Wine Types

37-43°F White Sweet Wines

41-45°F Champagne and Sparkling Wines

46-50°F White Dry Young Wines

48-54°F White Aged and Pink Wines

52-59°F Red Young Wines

54-63°F Port and Sherry

58-63°F Red Full-body Wines

59-65°F Red Aged Wines

 
Serving Considerations

There are important factors to consider when pouring the wine at a Wine Tasting Party.

  1.. Fill the glasses only one-third full. This will prevent anyone from swirling the wine on your tablecloth or carpeting.

  2.. Expect to serve about eight to twelve samples from each 750 ml bottle.

  3.. As a rule, serve white wines before red wines and dry wines before sweet.

  4.. Blush wines are served as you would serve a rose, in-between the white and the reds.

  5.. The serving order is more common sense than etiquette.

  6.. Sweet wines have a tendency to over power the taste buds giving a sensation of bitterness to the dry wines.

Sights

The first step in the tasting process is to examine the wine and take note of the color, clarity, and transparency of the wine. Young wines are typically very clear. Older blends may be expected to have a little sediment. There is a lot to this and it takes a bit of experience to understand which hues are right for each type.

Smell

The second step is in the pleasure of smelling the wine. Swirl the wine around in the glass which awakens its aromas or bouquets. It is important to take a good sniff of the bouquet and try to detect unique fragrances. If are new at this, don´t fret, you will get better over time.

Taste

Now the fun part of actually tasting the wine. Take a sip and roll the wine over your tongue. Different parts of the tongue will register different tastes so be sure to roll the wine around in your mouth. Try to focus on the characteristics of the wine, such as body, sweetness, tartness, bitterness, and fruitiness. You should also take notice the subtleties of the wine´s aftertaste.


About The Author

Stuart Glasure is a Designer, Fashion Artist, Wine Enthusiast, and the creator of "Zany Wearables" and two websites: www.ZanyGiftware.com and www.WineDefinitions.com

 

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