(Contributed by Jessica Smith) The statement “Wine is the nectar of the Gods,” ‘has been repeated often over the years, and pop culture has praised the beverage for its quality and enjoyment factor many times. Wine is special because it can be enjoyed in a simple fashion to relax with friends and family over an informal meal or it can be used as the centerpiece of an elegant wine tasting party.
Just like tea, coffee, beer, whiskey, and other special beverages, wine can have a ceremonial aspect that involves knowledge, special drinking glasses, and etiquette when served for more formal occasions. Therefore, this article is intended to provide some tips to help you host a very elegant wine tasting party.
Tip #1: Research the Wine in Advance
Take the time to research the wine in advance so that you can provide your guests with the proper information about the wine varietal, region, winemaking process, and story of the winery. Also provide information about the vineyard that the grape was grown in, body, food pairing, and other classifications like vintage.
Offer different types of wines at your wine tasting party. It is not just about the red wines. Everyone has different tastes and preferences, and you should have options like white wine and sparkling wine as well.
Finally, it is always good etiquette to mix wines of high-quality as well as affordability. Offer wines on the basic elements of the wine rather than the price of the bottles. Your guests will appreciate the fact that you know about your wines and that it is not all about price.
Tip #2: Uncorking the Bottle
Though in a casual wine situation you may serve with a screwcap or in a box or can, in an elegant wine tasting situation, there is a ceremony around uncorking the bottle. You cannot just take out the cork and pour it into the glass. There is a proper way to open the bottle. It should be quick and quiet, and you should not make an unnecessary noise while opening the bottle. There are some tools which you can use to make this process easier, such as a corkscrew or wine key, a foil cutter, and a napkin or glass polisher to hold the bottle.
Tip #3: Serving the Wine
There is a proper procedure which you have to follow when you are serving the wine. This will enhance the overall experience of the event, and also ensure that your guests know that you know your wines well. You should first show the bottle to your guests with the label framed with your fingers, and announce the vineyard, grape, location, and vintage to your guests.
Tip #4: The Right Glasses
As with tea, coffee, beer, whiskey or other special beverages, it is quite important to provide the right glasses because they are an integral part of the tasting party. Wine glasses complement the type of wine that you are serving. For instance, you should serve red wines in a large glass with a bowl-shaped bottom. On the other hand, ensure that you serve the white wines in a smaller egg-shaped glass. For teetotalers at your party, consider serving juice, iced-tea, soda, or other non-alcoholic beverages. This can be served in a wine glass or a highball glass that is easy to hold. Needless to say, the glasses should be clean and spotless. It is helpful to polish the glasses with a clean cloth before your guests arrive.
Tip #5: Allow a Sip before Pouring
It is customary for the host to pour out a sip of the wine in a small glass before it is served to confirm the quality of the wine. This usually involves examining the cork to make sure it is not saturated with wine, then smelling and tasting the wine to make sure it is not corked nor has other unpleasant odors. Though it is rare to find a bad bottle of wine – less than 4% of the time – if this happens, remove the bottle from the table and replace it with another bottle of wine. After the party, you can return the bad bottle to the store from which you purchased it and request a refund.
Tip #6: Pouring Etiquette
Pour the wine in a clockwise manner and ensure that you have served the women in the party before the men. Always pour from the right side of the guest and leave the glass half empty. This helps to ensure that the wine is not spilled while drinking. If you are pouring an older bottle of wine, you should also make sure that the last glass to be poured out of the bottle does not contain any sediment. If this happens, open another bottle of the same wine to serve the guest, or filter their glass of wine to remove any sediment. Another option is to decant the wine in advance into a glass decanter and leave any sediment behind in the bottle.
Tip # 7: Food & Wine Pairing
There are different foods which you can offer at the party, depending on the wine that you are serving. For instance, if it is a white wine such as Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Riesling, or Sauvignon Blanc, lighter colored options such as grilled chicken, fish, or vegetables make great pairings. For red wines, such as Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel and Syrah, darker meats such as beef, lamb, or hearty pasta with red sauce always pave the way to elegance. Also don’t forget cheese, which you can easily pair with almost any wine. Sparkling wine is also a great compliment to food because the tiny bubbles cleanse your palate with each sip. Experts say that sparkling wine, such as Prosecco or Champagne, can be paired with any food except red meats.
In the end, it is all about the ambiance of the party. You should pave the way for light conversation and ensure that all your guests have a great time.
About the Author: Jessica Smith has been writing for several years. She is a writer by day and reader by night. She loves reading, cooking, traveling, and dancing. As writing is her passion, she hopes to be a successful writer one day.
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