How to throw a Great Wine Tasting Party – Part 1
A 2010 Bouquet de Monbrison Margaux against 7 California Cabs in a blind tasting. How did it rank? Well I’ll get to that later. First, no matter what the group thinks of the wine you bring to a wine tasting party, the important thing is that you come with an open mind and enjoy the experience.
Hosting a wine tasting is a wonderful way to bring your friends together for a new experience and lively conversation. You have great wine and food, expand your wine knowledge and have a memorable time. You may even find a new favorite wine.
Over the weekend my wife and I attended an elegant blind tasting party at the lovely Lido Island home of our good friends Kim and Geoff along with 4 other couples. Kim is all about fun dining and entertaining. She even blogs about it at OC CHICK.
Each couple was asked to bring a Cabernet Sauvignon in the $50 range. As guests arrived we turned over our bottles to our hosts’ son Grant who whisked them off to the kitchen. Behind closed doors he corked them and placed each in a burlap bag with the letters “A” through “H”. A couple of cheap ringers were thrown in to keep things interesting. As the guests sipped Champagne Cocktails the wines were brought back to the dining room where they were lined up and sat anonymously waiting to be evaluated. The table was piled high with gorgeous Cab friendly cheeses, charcuterie, perfect grilled lamb chops and even bone marrow on toasts.
As we all admired the spread, we were handed a personalized Bordeaux glass and an evaluation sheet. Here’s an example of a simple printable score card. wine scorecard
Then it was time to start tasting. Everyone looked at me, the wine
“expert” as though I would have some advice that would
unravel all the deep secrets of the world of wine for them. As it turns out, I did. I told the group, “just relax, taste, enjoy, savor, discuss, write down what you taste and the wine you like the most is the best wine”. I also cautioned the group not to try to pick the wine they brought because chances are they’d be wrong.
We all tasted, laughed, debated, grazed, made our notes, ranked the bottles and when the last wine was poured our score cards were handed in. This lively group became quiet with anticipation as the scores were tallied.
So how did the classic, elegant, truly lovely Bordeaux rank amongst it’s fruit forward, broad shouldered California cousins? Wait for it… Dead last! But I guessed that would happen. So did my new friend Stephanie, the Bordeaux expert at one of my favorite wine stores, The Wine Country in Long Beach CA. We joked when I bought the Bouquet de Monbrison that it would be like putting a beautiful young Princess in the octagon with a heavyweight MMA fighter. Yeah, it was just like that.
I loved my beautiful French princess, but I was surprised by a few of the wines that I tasted from my home state of California – including some good value wines. I’ll get into those in A Great Wine Tasting Party – Part 2.