Yesterday I talked about how not to have a home wine tasting party, so today here are some ideas on how to do it right. First off I should say that there are many wine shops and individuals who will gladly do this for you. They pick the wines, some will bring snacks, and they have great knowledge to impart. That is certainly an option, and not a bad one, either. However, for this article we will stick to ways to DIY.
One way to go, if you have the cellar or a deep enough wallet for it, is to provide a variety of wines for your guests to sample. This option allows you to ensure that your wines are paired perfectly with whatever you provide to eat.
Another way, one that I would submit is more fun, not to mention much more economical, is to have your guests each bring two bottles of something that they really like. If you are going to much trouble preparing food for the gathering you may want to be a little more specific than that. If it works, just specify reds. If you are trying to be more precise with your pairings, perhaps suggest a varietal or two, or even tell your guests what you will be serving and see how well they can pair the wines. The main thing is to have fun and not worry that your clueless friend brought a Cab and you are serving only seafood. Who knows? You might find a surprising match. And if it’s horrible, then everyone can have a chuckle and you can find a hunk of cheese in your fridge to match with it.
The other choice that you will have to make is the format of your party. One option is to set out the open bottles and let your guests sample whatever they want. The other option, which I prefer, is to put the wine bottles in paper bags and then taste them blind. Without discussing them, everyone can make notes. Once everyone is finished writing, it is time to discuss and compare notes and keep tasting. The second bottle that all guests bring is for drinking after the tasting.
Deciding on what sort of tasting to have depends on your guests and what would be the most fun for you. Whatever type of tasting party you choose to have is really up to you. How can you go wrong when you get good friends together with good wine?