Now that school has started and summer vacations have come to an end, September is a great time to gather your girlfriends together for an evening of fun. Consider hosting a wine tasting where you can casually catch up and learn something new about wine too. If you don’t know much about wine, don’t be intimated by your lack of knowledge. I’ll provide some tips below to make your event a success. And, once your friends are all together, you’ll find the most important thing is to enjoy the experience and have fun!
HOW TO HAVE A PARTY?
Biltmore Inspirations offers several ways for you to easily host a wine tasting party. As an Independent Consultant to Biltmore Inspirations, I am available to lead your event in Greater Phoenix, or one of the cities I frequently travel. If you live somewhere else, one of my teammates from Biltmore can support you; just contact me and I’ll help you make the connection. Hosting a party through Biltmore is very easy for the hostess. We provide delicious free food samples, recipes for the appetizers you’ll make, and wine and food pairing guidelines for selecting the wines. We even provide your grocery list (items are less than $20 for a party), making party planning effortless.
Biltmore has a full line of products from their Wine Cellar Collection that can add to the party. From Reserve Wine Label Coasters to glassware, decanter, to wine stoppers, there’s many products available that can enhance the wine tasting experience. Guests will have the chance to add these items to their personal collections during the party.
Alternatively, if you want to try the tasting on your own, consider purchasing this Just Add Wine Tasting Kit where you’ll learn to enjoy wine in three easy steps: Swirl, Sniff, Sip. This kit includes all of the essential wine tools in a leather box, plus a user-friendly instructional DVD, tasting notes and wine scoring sheets to help you identify the characteristics of fine wines. All you need to add is wine and friends. The box measures 5.75″W x 6.5″D and retails for $49.98. This kit makes a great holiday gift as well and you can purchase it online here.
HOW MUCH WINE TO SERVE?
This will depend upon the number of guests, but generally I recommend 4-6 different wines. If you offer more than that, it can get confusing. You can serve a choice of wine varietals that pair well with the food you are serving, for example: Chardonnay with Blanched Asparagus Spears and Biltmore’s Smokey Mountain Mustard Dip, or Zinfandel with Biltmore’s Hot Chipotle Raspberry Sauce drizzled over Brie Cheese. Or, theme the party and just serve one varietal (such as a Pinot Noir) made in different regions of the world.
The ideal amount per pour per person is 2 ounces to taste. Each 7.5 ml bottle contains 25 one-ounce pours, or enough for a little over 12 tastes. Remember to provide a wine tasting bucket for guests who may not wish to drink their entire samples.
TIPS ON TASTING.
When tasting wine, you don’t want heavier wines to overwhelm your senses and distort the tastes of lighter wines. So at your wine tasting party, have your guests taste the lighter wines first and the heavier, drier wines last.
Serve in this order: Sparkling wines first, white to red, light to dark, dessert wines last.
Once the tasting begins, remember the most important thing is that tasting wine is different from drinking wine. You drink wine for pleasure, and at a wine tasting, the purpose is to become more knowledgeable about the wine by comparing one wine to another.
Start by Swirling – Swish the wine around in the glass five to six times to aerate the wine. To ensure you don’t spill it, place your second and third finger in a “V” around the stem of the glass. Hold your thumb on the top of the foot of the glass. Then, rotate your hand in a clockwise fashion several times.
The Nose Knows – Take a big whiff of the wine and allow your nose to truly smell the scents of the wine. Can you describe what you smell?
Take Teeny Sips – Do not fill your mouth full with wine, but take a tiny sip and hold it on the tip of your tongue in the front of your month. Make note of what you are tasting? Describe what you taste.
The Slow Slide – Allow the wine to slide back slowly over your tongue – this area is called the mid-palate; and you’ll experience a very different set of flavors here.
Flavor Savor – Finally, swallow, or spit, and then pause for a moment to savor the last swirl of the wine. This is the aftertaste or finish.
Jot down your preferences on a tasting note card allowing a score from 1-5 (5 being the highest) for color, intensity, aroma, taste, body/ tannins, and finish. Then, mark a total score of how much you like it. Be sure to keep the notecards on the wines you liked the best for future reference.
A wine tasting is a great way to explore the differences of wines and to create a memory-base of the types of wines you most enjoy.