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How to host your own wine tasting party!

Gather your friends and put your collective wine knowledge to the test with a wine tasting party!

It’s all about bringing that cellar door tasting experience to your home and enjoying good wines and good times. There are no rules to the type of tasting you host –  from a sit-down dinner to an impromptu barbeque, or a casual lunch. Or, you can step it up a notch and host a themed party using some of our ideas (see further below), or make up your own – just make sure it’s lots of fun!

WHAT YOU’LL NEED

So, what do you need to set up your wine tasting? Besides, the wines of course, you’ll also need:

  • Wine glasses – white or red wine glasses depending on the wine being tasted
  • Covers –  to disguise the wine bottles
  • Water – supply still or sparkling water to cleanse the palate between wines
  • Spittoons –  in case some guests don’t want to drink the wine once tasted
  • Snacks – to cleanse the palate. Plain water crackers, breads, olives and cheeses are perfect
  • Pens and note pads – to complete your tasting notes
  • Friends – from two to ten friends, the options are endless

HOW TO PLAY

Disguise the Wines

Put the wines in bottle covers and mix them around so no one knows which is which and number the bottles. We suggest tasting up to four wines each session.

Once you’ve assembled the glasses, bottles and the extra bit and pieces, there’s really one thing left to do – enjoy the tasting

Taste

Now for the best bit. Pour a wine into the corresponding numbered glass for each player. Announce the theme and let the tasting begin.

Make Notes

Thinking about the colour, aromas and taste, each player should jot down their thoughts on their tasting sheet.

Mingle

Reveal and discuss each wine, reading out your tasting notes, remembering there is no absolute right or wrong. Re-set and start again.

Be the host with the most

Have fun choosing the wines for your party. Simply select from your latest Wine Selectors collection or ask your friends to bring a bottle.

Tasting theme ideas

There are so many themes you can chose for your wine tasting party. Here are a few different ideas to get you started.

Regional rumble – taste the unique characteristics of varieties grown in various regions.

Favourites – ask your guests to bring their favourite varietal making sure they’re all different.

Price wars – choose the same variety and vintage from different price points and see if the price reflects the quality.

Vertical tasting – choose one wine and taste several different vintages. It’s really interesting to experience the similarities and the differences from year to year.

Food theme – Thai with Riesling or Gewürztraminer, tapas with Tempranillo or Sangiovese, seafood with Semillon or Sauv Blanc, the combinations are endless.

New wave wines – with so many fantastic emerging alternative varietals now available, step out of the comfort zone and introduce your guests to some deliciously new drops.

Practice makes perfect

With each party and tasting session you’ll detect deeper, more involved aromas and flavours – after all, practice makes perfect.

Get Your Own Wine Tasting Party Kit!

To help expand your love of wine and make tasting fun and easy, we’ve created a great kit, which you can use next time you’re hosting a tasting or even at an impromptu get-together.

 

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Food
Food and Wine Matching 101
Create inspiring food and wine matches Follow the helpful tips below to ensure that at your next dinner party you impress your guests with your pairing prowess. Acid + acid If your food is high in acid – think tomatoes or a squeeze of lemon – you’ll need a wine that’s high in acid too. Riesling is the most obvious white choice, while Italian style reds will balance tomatoes and cut through olive oil.  Same + same Brings together complementary flavours – light-bodied wine + light dish, full-bodied wine + heavy dish and so on. Also pair similar textures and flavours – earthy wine + earthy food, citrussy wine + fruity dish, etc.  Opposite + opposite Try a fresh, crisp Chardonnay with a creamy pasta dish, or consider a clean, dry Riesling with a spicy chilli-filled Asian dish. Or if you’re serving a dish with very simple flavours, a complex wine can enhance the experience. Heat + sweet For spicy dishes, red wines high in alcohol and tannins are a no-no as the alcohol intensifies the heat. Choose sweeter whites such as off-dry Gewürztraminers or Rieslings .   Sweet + sweeter If your dish is sweet, the wine should be sweeter. Think milk and dark chocolate desserts with Tawnies and Muscats , while white chocolate pairs with Prosecco and lemon flavours are perfect with Botrytis Riesling . Tannins + fat This pairing is all about balance. Fat serves to even out tannin intensity, resulting in a smoother, softer red.  Wine styles Try these suggestions to match with your favourite wine styles. Fuller bodied red wines Wines: Cabernet , Shiraz , Malbec , Durif Food matches: Their robust structure makes these an ideal partner to hard cheeses and fattier cuts of meat. Medium bodied red wines Wines: Merlot & Blends, Tempranillo , Barbera , Sangiovese Food matches: To match the moderate density tannins go for slow-cooked or rustic style dishes like pasta, Mediterranean fare, tapas. Lighter bodied red wines Wines: Pinot Noir , Grenache & blends, Nero d’Avola   Food matches: With the finer styles, go for gamey, earthy foods like duck, while styles with higher acidity can take richer, spicier dishes. Rosé Wines: Dry, off-dry Food matches: For drier styles, go for salads, charcuterie and antipasto. For off-dry styles, try spicy food or fruit-based dishes. Fuller-bodied white wines Wines: Chardonnay , Verdelho , Viognier Food matches: A richer texture makes these fuller varieties a great match for poultry, pork, rich seafood, cream or cheese-based pastas. Medium-bodied white wines Wines: Arneis , Pinot G , Fiano , Vermentino , Marsanne Food matches: Zesty acidity makes these styles perfect with lighter flavours like tapas, pasta and salads. Lighter-bodied and aromatic white wines Wines: Sauvignon Blanc & blends, Semillon , Riesling , Gewürztraminer Food matches: The high acidity inherent in these varieties makes them ideal for fried food, raw seafood, delicate Asian dishes, and simple Mediterranean food. Champagne, Sparkling and Prosecco Wines: Champagne , Sparkling & Prosecco Food matches: With the richer styles, choose seafood and richer canapés, while lighter styles suit antipasto, fried foods and fresh fruit. Dessert and Fortified wines Wines: Botrytis , Tawny , Muscat/Topaque  Food matches: Botrytis: Cream or fruit-based desserts, pâté. Tawny: Cheddar & blue cheese, dried & fresh fruit, nuts. Topaque: Caramel-based desserts. Muscat: Chocolate-based desserts, dates & dried figs, ice cream.
Two Blues Sauvignon Blanc 2014
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