Hosting a Tasting Party
Plan Your Flights
Most tastings include two wine selections or “flights” – one with white wines and one with reds. Each flight should include three to six different wines collected under a particular theme, such as “Refreshing Summer Whites” or “Unique Red Blends.” For best results, always begin the tasting with the lightest white wine and end with the most robust red. You’ll also want to make sure that the wines are served at the proper temperature – usually 50° F for whites and light and fruity reds, and 60° to 65° F for full-bodied reds.
Gather Your Supplies
Have at least two bottles of each wine on hand – one for the tasting (allow two ounces for each sample) and one to enjoy with food. You don’t need an array of special drinkware or fine crystal; one wineglass of any type for each person is sufficient. In between each tasting, simply have guests pour out any leftover wine and rinse and dry their glass. It’s also helpful to provide guests with a small notepad so they can jot down their impressions of each wine and rate its aroma, texture, and taste.
Finish with Food
Offer your guests plain crackers, bread, and water to cleanse their palate between wines. After the sampling, bring out some hors d’oeuvres and see how the food influences the taste of the wines. For example, a Sauvignon Blanc may seem acidic alone, but delicious paired with a lemon-butter sauce.