You don’t have to know much about wine to have fun with wine, and that’s what a wine tasting party is all about: fun. They’re great opportunities to mix and mingle with people you like, drink a little, eat a little and learn about an interesting subject.
Hosting a wine tasting is easy. You just need to decide what you want to taste. Maybe it’s red wines of any type for under $10 a bottle. It could be wines of the same type — say, cabernets — from a certain region. You could pit American wines against European wines. Expensive wines against inexpensive ones, the possibilities are almost endless. The idea is to narrow your focus so you’re not just sampling random wines. Set a theme.
After that you’ll need a tasting card. Here again you have a choice. You can show the labels of your bottles, write down a short description of each and leave space for people to score them. Or, you can hide the labels and indicate the bottled simply by number, letting your guests write down their opinions.
General rules are: serve small portions of wine per taste, 2-3 ounces maximum. Have plenty of glasses plus some bread or light appetizers so your guests can cleanse their palates between samplings. Have a pitcher of water ready, as well as a “dump bucket” for discarded wine, plus extra pencils and paper.
Oh, and don’t forget to have a few laughs. Hold a contest to see who can come up with the most pretentious wine term, if that will help break the ice. The main thing is to get people talking and having fun. If you’re the type of person who’s always found it difficult to talk about wine, you’ll be amazed how easy it is to do among friends and in your own home.
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