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How To How to Host an Unforgettable Wine Tasting Party

A Wine Tasting Party is an ideal way to get friends and family together to learn about wine and experiment with new or unusual varities. Pairing wines with cheeses will only enhance your tasting experience. Read on for a list of ideal cheese and wine pairings.

Difficulty: Average

Time Required: 2-3 hours

Here's How:

1.   To begin your wine tasting party planning, select your wine varieties. Perhaps choosing three reds, three whites and ending with a sweet dessert wine and a round of cheesecake. By pairing your wine selections with complimentary cheeses, your guests will be able to experience the subtle flavor enhancements offered by mellowing the palate with favorable varietal /cheese combinations.
 

2.   Determine your guest list and send invites at least two weeks before your tasting (you may consider utilizing free online invites through: evite.com).
 

3.   Decorations for a wine tasting party can range from a white table cloth and candles to Old World, Tuscan faux paintings and vintage bottles scattered throughout your “tasting room.” In either case, remember to keep the atmosphere light and engaging. You may consider starting the evening with a bit of wine trivia, just to get the conversation rolling.
 

4.   Design a tasting card that specifies the type of wine, the producing vineyard, the year and a brief description of the wine (usually found on the wine’s label). Make sure that each guest has their own tasting card to record the wine’s distinct appearance, aroma, flavor, and cheese pairing nuances.
 

5.   To make your event a bit more challenging, offer a “blind tasting” experience. In this case, you still provide your guests with their individual tasting cards; however, you pour each wine without identifying the label, allowing them to incorporate all of their senses to identify the respective wines based on the labels’ descriptions. The guest that is able to identify the most wines correctly wins a prized bottle of wine or perhaps a book on the art of wine tasting.

6.   Typically, when tasting wines, you will want to work from sweet to dry with white wines and progress from light to full-bodied with red wines. Have your guests sample each wine by itself, assessing the wine’s unique color, smells, flavors and then introduce the appropriate cheese pairing and have them reassess the wine’s qualities in light of the subtle flavor changes.
 

7.   Providing bread between wines, allows for guests to cleanse their pallets and sets them up to fully experience the next wine. As your tastings come to a close, cap off the evening with a crisp dessert wine, perfectly paired with a slice of cheesecake.
 

Tips:

  1. Recommended White Wine and Cheese Pairings:

    Gewurztraminer & Swiss

    Riesling & Gouda

    Chardonnay & Baked Brie

  2. Recommended Red Wines and Cheese Pairings:

    Italian Chianti & Gruyere

    Zinfandel & Muenster

    Cabernet Sauvignon & Blue Cheese

  3. Dessert Wine Recommendation: Muscat with Cheesecake

What You Need:

  • Six wines – three whites and three reds (see recommendations)
  • Six complimentary cheeses (see recommended selections)
  • Loaf of bread – provide bread for guests to cleanse pallet between wines
  • Wine glasses – one per guest
  • Pitcher of water – for rinsing each glass between wines
  • Dump bucket – for discarding wine before next pouring
  • Tasting cards – for describing and recording each wine tasted
  • Prize – (optional) for a blind tasting winner
  • Humor – encourage your guests to share their thoughts and humor on each wine

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