Anytime of year is a good time to have a wine tasting. The same goes for hanging out with good friends. Entertaining is something that is great fun for the hosts and their guests. However, throwing a wine tasting party can seem a little intimidating and expensive. With the recession, many more parties are being hosted at home. Just because you’re serving wine doesn’t mean it has to break the bank. Here are a few tips to throw an easy and inexpensive wine tasting at home that will have your wine enthusiast friends talking about for months to come.
1. Pick Your Wine
Wines don’t have to be expensive. You could host a party with a collection of inexpensive wines just to see which ones taste the best. It can be a tasting where you find a wine that could end up being a staple in your home. There are many good varieties that can cost anywhere from $10-$12. I have had great-tasting wines starting at $2.99. You can choose from red (Cabernet, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Syrah, Red Zinfandel,) or white (Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Sauvingon Blanc, Riesling.) Make sure the white wine is served chilled or on ice and the red wine is room temperature.
Six to twelve guests is a good number for a wine tasting. It is best to have no more than 6 different wines as to not overwhelm your guests. You can choose to do a potluck to help cut down on costs for food or wine. Assign your friends to bring a favorite wine or appetizer. You will want to have an open space available like a dining room or living room so everyone can mingle and discuss the wine.
Food is really important for your party. You will want to offer your guests with some appetizers when they arrive. It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate, maybe just some finger foods. You don’t want your guests to be hungry during the tasting. Some good options are dips and chips, salads, humus, chicken skewers, olives. While tasting you should stick to bland foods: dry toast, crackers, bread and some bland cheeses (Muenster, Longhorn or Colby.) Make sure everyone has a glass of cold water to cleanse their palate after each taste. When you’re finished, you could provide dessert or some fruit with more bolder cheeses to enjoy with any leftover wine.
Make sure everyone has their own wine glass and don’t forget the wine opener. There is generally 25 oz. in each 750ml bottle and the average taste is 2 oz. So one bottle can serve up to 12 guests. Provide water to swirl out the glass after each new wine, and a bucket for pouring it out. Some hosts like to hand out a wine tasting grid when beginning. It is used to rate the wine according to several sensory characteristics (smell, taste, texture.) Another option is to provide some pad and paper to everyone. The five basic steps for a successful tasting are: Introduce, look, smell, swallow, and evaluate.
If you have any unused wine you can keep white wine in the fridge for up to 5 days and red wine for 3-4 days. Make sure you put the cork back in.