How to arrange your own wine tasting
Invite six to ten friends who enjoy wine and food. Why not ask the neighbours or friends living on walking distance? Four bottles of wine are just right for the tasting and the meal afterwards.
Ask each guest to bring along 4, colourless, clear glasses. Set the table with a glass of water per person and make sure there is water on the table. Preferably also some slices of white bread.
When the colour of the wine is assessed you need a white background. If you do not want to get wine stains on a fine white cloth use the back of the tasting notes or any other white paper.
You use all your senses when you test wine. Sight, smell and taste but also tactile senses are involved.
How to judge wines by colour, scent, taste and mouthfeel are described under the tab Wine Assessment.
The impression of the wine is written down, you can use a form which is presented under the tab Tasting Notes. Here you note the colour of the wine, what you think it smells like and how it tastes. You can also attempt to determine which grape variety/varieties the wine is made of or which country or district it is coming from. Make an attempt to guess the price of the wine as well. The most expensive is not always the wine you think taste the best.
Open or semi-blind tasting
One way to test wine is half blind. You will know which wines are to be tested but not in which order. Hide the label by wrapping the bottle in foil and give the bottle a number, 1, 2, 3, 4, if you have four wines. Measure up about 5 cl wine in a graduated cylinder, if you have one, otherwise pour about this volume of wine in each glass. Each person will then have 5 cl wine from each bottle in the 4 glasses. Then present the information on the wines. Choose a wine tasting presented under Wine Lessons or Brief Lessons. All tastings under Wine Lessons are available both as text and power point images, Brief Lessons contain tastings with text and pictures.
When the information of the wines has been presented you start the assessment of colour, aroma, taste and so on. And concludes by guessing which wine was present in each of the 4 glasses.
Another option, which may be more instructive, is to try the wines open. In an open wine tasting you know which wine there is in each glass. Present the wines while the guests are smelling, looking and sipping the wines. Let them write down the impressions in the Tasting Notes. Once this is complete, you ask the guests to leave the table for a few minutes while you are rearranging the glasses in a predetermined order, the same for everyone. When guests come back, they have to identify the wine in each of the four glasses.
Let the participants share the wine cost, so that you can try more expensive wines than you normally drink.
Each of the wine tastings suggest suitable wines. Red wines are characterised for Body and Astringency (Dark red: Full-bodied and rich in tannins, Medium red: Medium-bodied and medium tannins, Light red: Light bodied and soft tannins) and taste. See more under the tab Symbols for description of the symbols and explanation of the wine terms.
White wines are described by Body, Acidity, Sweetness and Taste.
Try to choose typical wines of the grape variety and district, in the beginning try wines made of one grape variety only. As you learn more you can continue and compare different wine regions and wines made of many grape varieties.
How food and wine may be combined is described in section Wine & Food. In most of the wine lessons recipes of food dishes matching the wines are listed.
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