As the months start to get colder, it’s the perfect excuse for friends to gather for an evening of wine tasting. You can reminisce over the summer holidays, compare fading tans and discuss plans for the upcoming festive season. Here are seven steps for creating the best wine tasting experience.
1. Natural settings
You need neutral settings for a wine tasting session. Noise, smells and atmosphere can all hinder the true experience of analysing your wine. Of course, a vineyard in Bordeaux is the ideal place to do it! If you’re looking for somewhere closer to home, hold your own wine tasting night in a local restaurant during out-of-service hours or get the party planners in to transform the dining room into a connoisseur’s paradise. You can also consider joining one the best wine clubs in 2021 that offers exclusive and award-winning wines perfect for all types of wine lovers.
2. Choose your poison
It’s probably best to select two or three of each wine colour: red, white and rose. Get in plenty of Champagne to start off and finish the evening in style. There is a huge selection to order online or at the local supermarket and plenty of Tesco wine deals to take advantage of. Just ask a member of staff about recommendations if you’re unsure where to start.
3. Practice your swirl
This is important as you don’t want to look like an amateur… Swirling increases the aroma compounds that release in the air. The easiest way to swirl it is by keeping it firmly on a flat surface – open air freestyle swirling is not recommended for beginners.
4. Food spread
To prevent wine going to guests’ head too quickly, set out some nibbles and plenty of ice cold lemon water. Olives are a classic choice, as are cured meats, crudites and potato chips. You can even put out some dessert wine for the sweet toothed among the party.
Use your biggest and best glasses to get the best view and smells of the wine. When serving guests, glasses should be half filled. Make sure you have enough glasses for each coloured station.
Tasting begins by looking at the wine. The colour shows the age of a wine, showing hints of yellow and brown as it ages. Red wine also tends to become a little more translucent. Colour can also suggest the grape variety: Malbecs often have a magenta pink rim and Merlots have a slightly orange-tinged rim. See if your guests can guess the grape.
Now it’s time to have a big sniff, but don’t dive into the glass with your nose. Swirl the glass around and take a series of short but strong sniffs. There are thousands of aroma combinations to name, so instead it’s a good game to list the fruits, flowers, herbs and any other scents that you detect.
The part you’ve been waiting for – the tasting. Take a small sip and try sucking on it like you would do a straw. This might look weird but it’s the best way to appreciate the full taste. You are looking out for sweetness, acidity, tannin and alcohol level. At the end of the night decide on the group’s favourite one and see if you agree on all of these factors.
Wine tasting can be so much fun and there is a lot to learn. Take your interest to the next level by taking a trip to a vineyard in the summer or joining a wine club. You’ll soon be teaching your friends a thing or two.
Images by pedrosimoes7 and Michela Simoncini used under Creative Commons License.