Joy to the World and Wine to Your Friends!
- Three to six bottles of wine. I like to do blind tasting, which means that you conceal each bottle of wine by wrapping it up or putting it in a bag. Be sure to number each bottle and maintain a cheat sheet to keep the wines straight. Consider purchasing wines that span a price range, from very affordable to higher priced. It’s fun when at the end of the evening you reveal that a favorite wine was in fact very low priced.
- Sensory evaluation sheets. I created a form that puts a Christmas spin on a wine-tasting party, but what you want is a simple way for guests to track their thoughts on each wine – blank pieces of paper for keeping notes work fine, too. And don’t forget to have plenty of pens on hand.
- A taste chart that includes the common flavors and aromas in wine. This isn’t mandatory, but it can be useful to help people articulate what it is they are smelling and tasting. Find one online that you can download and then print a few copies.
- Food. Because you’ll be providing the drinks, you could ask friends to bring some food along. Or suggest that the group do the tasting early in the evening and then head out for dinner afterward. Either way, you should have some nibbles available.
- Taste the three major white varietals (Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Riesling) and discuss the attributes of the wine using the sensory evaluation sheets.
- Take a break and have some cheese (chevre and Sauvignon Blanc are wonderful together!).
- Taste three major red varietals (Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah), again using the sensory evaluation sheets to discuss.
- Wrap up with a dessert and possibly a glass of port. While enjoying the sweets, let guests share their ratings and then unveil each wine.