This event is everything I’ve ever wanted to share with my friends! We share an interest for wine and are foodies at heart, what a great idea to get together to combine the two! We intentionally set out to share our individual favorites with the group and serve a course that pairs perfectly with our wine selection. The amazing this about wine is that it heightens the culinary experience!
A few tips to consider while planning your tasting event, the most important being- what wine should we serve?! My biggest tip is to keep it simple. There is an overwhelming amount of wines to choose from, which is why we decided to share our favorites with each other. I would limit the event to six varietals paired with six courses, that way, wines are not repeated and you get a well balanced pairing!
I think its easier to create your menu once you have already chosen the wines you want to showcase. The menu is easy to adapt based on how you serve the wine. It’s best to drink wines from lightest to heaviest, so keep that in mind when planning the menu as well. Overall, the tasting event should move through the courses like this;
Soup & Salad
Once you know which wines you would like to taste, its time to figure out how much is needed. Simple math is required, its super easy!
In many cases you can guesstimate that there are four glasses of wine in a bottle. Many would consider two- three glasses per person attending, however, my friends are more like one bottle per person. You will multiple the number of guests by the number of glasses each guest will drink. For tasting purposes I would choose one glass per varietal pairing at a minimum and any left over wine can be seconds. You then divide that number by the guesstimated four glasses per bottle to find the total number of bottles needed for this event. It might seem silly, but this is the most cost effective way for a group of people to taste a variety of wines.
# guests x # estimated glasses per guest / 4 glasses per bottle = # of bottles needed
At this point, you have chosen the six varietals and have calculated how many bottles of each you will need. Now its time to actually purchase the wine. This can be the overwhelming part- yes, you have narrowed down the varietal, but there still are thousands of wines on the market. To simplify, think about the regions each wine comes from, try to choose varietals from different regions around the world. Choose wines aged in oak casks, wines of different vintages. If you really want to get fancy, choose wines from the same region of the dish you are pairing it with, they were literally made to compliment eachother.
Feel free to reference my cheat sheets for varietal descriptions along with tasting notes and pairing suggestions!
Let’s start drinking:
The easiest way for everyone to get involved is to set up one big station. Have each wine organized by course and ready to go with glasses, the food pairing and tasting cards- after all, that is the whole point in the tasting party!
Remember to taste from lightest to heaviest, it’s easiest when you plan your pairing menu this way. You can find an example of our menu below!
Tating Cards don’t have to be fancy, its just a way of keeping thoughts organized. It can be difficult to track different wines and keep them straight in your mind as you move from one to the other… alcohol is involved, remember??? Make sure to include the facts you know about the wine that are located directly on the bottle- varietal, region, vintage, aging notes. Here’s where the fun really begins, now everyone gets to make their own observations and pick out tasting notes based on their own palate. Make notes of color/ appearance, the nose/ aroma, how it feels on your palate from front to back and the finish.
I also have a cheat sheet you can share on tasting notes 🙂
Here is how we set up our tasting event!
*there are so many other varietals we wanted to include, in the name of keeping it simple- we would like to recreate this event showcasing Malbec, Tempranillo, Bordeaux and Syrah.
Prosecco paired with a charcuterie board
Rose paired with Fish Tacos
Sauvignon Blanc paired with pesto and vegetable pasta
Sangiovese paired with tomato sauce pizza
Pinot Noir paired with garlic, herbs and mushrooms
Apassamento paired with chocolate
Hosting a tasting event can seem so overwhelming, but remember- this is for FUN and for FRIENDS! Plan the event together, ask everyone to contribute and the actual event itself will run naturally! Enjoy your company, good food and of course the good wine!!