Thursday, October 8, 2009

Cheryl & Her Girls

It's so much fun to host wine tastings, and even more fun when you host one for friends. I hosted a wine tasting for one of my girlfriends, with the help of another wine professional in her circle of friends. We came up with the idea of doing a blind tasting in order for everyone to be more open-minded about what wines they were drinking. When the guests arrived we poured Marquis de Monistrol Cava (a pleasant and affordable alternative to Champagne) for casually sipping as we mingled and got to know the other guests.

For the blind tasting, we had 3 whites and 3 reds wrapped up like Christmas presents with red and gold tissue paper and bows around the necks. Figure that is a little nicer than a wino paper bag, LOL! Everyone was provided with a note sheet and an aroma/flavor sheet, so once we started tasting the wine, they would have a frame of reference for aromas and somewhere to write down their notes and guesses of the wines. Out of the 6 wines, one person got 2 correct and another got 1 correct. They both received prizes as a token of our appreciation for their participation. Funny thing was that several of the girls mentioned that Chenin Blanc was their favorite wine, but they couldn't pick that one out of the lineup! Can't fault them though, it was a South African Chenin Blanc (Kanu) which has different flavors then the French Vouvray I'm sure they're used to. And the white wine drinkers were very impressed with the California Zinfandel (Gnarled Vines). I always love blind tastings because people will taste the wine and assess it based on the flavors of the wine, not what they may or may not already know or think they know about it.

After we revealed the wines to everyone, the other half of our wine team spoke about wine & cheese pairings. She was great! She had a chart to match the wines and cheeses and also gave us some great tips on selecting cheese to pair with wine. But she had me anyway when she brought my fav, epoisses, for the cheese plate. We also got full glasses of wine and tasted them with the cheeses that were available to note the differences in the flavors when paired with different wines. Trial and error is always so much easier when at a wine tasting rather than at home when you've invested in several bottles and several cheeses that aren't good matches.

At the end, we took questions and invited everyone to enjoy full glasses of the wines they loved. Everyone seemed to truly enjoy the event and most even said they learned something new. I guess we did our job!

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