February 8th, 2011 by jenn in wine lifestyle
There are a lot of reasons why people select the wines they do. But if you take away information on the region, the grape variety, the vineyard, the age, and the price, what you are left with is simply the taste. Hosting a “blind” wine tasting is a great way to explore the qualities of wine without any of the other influences that affect our choices.
Here are some guidelines on how to host a Blind Wine Tasting Party at home.
• Invite 6 to 12 guests for the optimum experience. For more than 12 you will need two bottles of each wine.
(Note: You may want to suggest that guests refrain from wearing perfume or cologne or smoking prior to the tasting, since it may affect the senses of smell and taste.)
• Decide what types of wines you will include – all reds, all whites, or both. You also can break it down by varietal (type of grape), area/country of origin or any other way you like.
• You can opt to pick out the wines yourself or have each guest bring a covered bottle so you can take part in the tasting, too.
• If you are choosing the wine, place the wine bottles in cloth or paper bags (you also can use foil) and secure the tops of the bags with tape or string so they do not slip off while pouring. Blind wine tasting kits are available.
• To add more mystery, you can use black wine glasses or blindfold your guests so that even the color of the wine is unknown.
•Assign numbers or letters to identify the wines.
• If you are having the guest supply the wine, give them specific guidelines for covering and labeling the bottle to maintain consistency.
• Create tasting note cards on which guests can record their reactions and comments regarding the different wines.
• Have a prize on hand to give to the person who correctly identifies the most wines.
• Set out a wine glass for each guest. Avoid using plastic or paper cups.
• Provide a plate of plain crackers for guests to cleanse their palates after each wine. Avoid food such as cheese or olives, or anything that will interfere with the taste.
• Have a pitcher of water and a bowl available so guests can rinse their glasses in between tastings.
• Arrange the wines from whites to reds, sweet to dry or light-bodied to full-bodied. Serve the wines at these approximate temperatures if possible: full-bodied reds (65˚F); medium, light reds (60˚F); full-bodied whites (52˚F); and medium to lighter whites (49˚F).
• Pour approximately 2 oz. of wine into each glass.
• Have your guests swirl the wine in the glass for a few seconds and then sniff it to get a preview of what characteristics the wine possesses such as oak, berries, flowers, vanilla.
• Let them take a sip of the wine and swirl it around in their mouths so that it coats their tongues and captures all of the sensations.
• Have them record their immediate reaction: Can you taste any residual sugar? Is it high in acids or tannins?
• When the wine has had a chance to settle in their mouths, have them determine if the wine is “simple” with one distinct flavor or “complex” with a variety of different flavors.
• Finally, ask them to note the aftertaste– how long it lasted and was it light, medium or full-bodied.
Compare notes at the end. You and your guests may be surprised at your conclusions or you make be right on the mark. Either way, a “blind” wine tasting party can add a new dimension to your appreciation and enjoyment of wine.