You can share your love of wine by hosting your very own wine tasting party. Your guests will learn about wine, create fun memories, and discover new favorites. Plus, with so much wine in one room, a good time is practically guaranteed.
Before you start planning your gathering, here’s a quick run-down of the wine tasting process:
Start with a Swirl!
First, pour your wine and aerate it with a quick swirl. This rush of oxygen brings out the rich flavors and aromas of the wine. To properly swirl your wine, hold your glass by the base of the stem and imagine that you are drawing small circles in the air. Concerned about wearing your wine instead of tasting it? Consider gently swirling it on the tabletop, instead.
Use Your Eyes…
While the flavors in your wine percolate, examine its appearance. Color can tell you a lot about the wine you’re about to taste because the color of each wine comes from the skin of the grape. The longer the skin is kept in a wine, the darker its shade and the more complex its flavor. Red wines range from light pinks to dark purples and reds, while white wines range from a pale white to a beautiful gold.
…Then Use Your Nose…
Next, put your nose completely into the glass and sniff. Depending on how acute your sense of smell is and how experienced you are with wine tasting, you may require a few sniffs to identify the scents that combine to create a great glass of wine.
…Then Take a Sip!
After you take a small sip, breathe a little air into your mouth to help your wine’s flavors stand out. Then, swish the wine around your mouth for 10 to 15 seconds. Different parts of your tongue will pick up different tastes, so it is essential that the wine reaches everywhere from the back of your palate to the tip of your tongue. Pay attention to important details like:
- What flavors do you notice?
- Does the flavor linger after you spit or swallow?
- Does the wine feel light or heavy on your tongue?
- Does your mouth feel dry after a sip?
Start Planning Your Wine Tasting Today!
Now that you know the basics of wine tasting, you can start to plan your own gathering. This is a great excuse to crack open a few bottles of wine and invite five to eight friends over for a great time.
Choose the Right Wines
For an introductory wine tasting, stick with wines made from America’s six most popular styles of grape:
- Sauvignon Blanc
- Pinot Noir
- Cabernet Sauvignon
These six varietals, three white and three red, offer a diverse selection of flavors and textures and are a good starting point for any wine lover.
Pick Up Plenty of Glasses
Clear crystal wine glasses are the best choice for tasting wine. This material will not interfere with the taste of the wine or distort its color. Offer a minimum of three glasses per person so that they can properly compare the three whites, wash out their glasses, and then enjoy the three reds.
Palate Cleansers Are a Must
Between each glass of wine, your guests should cleanse their palate with a little water and crackers. This ensures that the lingering flavor of a previous varietal won’t affect their current tasting.
Lightly Chill Your Wine
Cold wine has a dulled flavor profile, which isn’t any fun for tastings. Warm wine, on the other hand, is just unpleasant. Chill your bottles to a temperature of 45 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit for white wine and 50 to 65 degrees for red.
Guide Them Through the Tasting Process
Talk your guests through each step of the wine tasting process: swirling, looking, sniffing, and sipping. Encourage them to share their observations about each wine. Begin with the white wines, then the red. If you would like to take your tasting to the next level, you can also experiment with different pairing options. A simple wine may take on new life when paired with cheese, pasta, or roast chicken.
Discover Amazing Vintages and Varietals for Future Wine Tastings!
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