As I was saying, cheers to making wine tasting the centerpiece of a party.
I’m all for organizing a tasting around a theme, to give you and your guests a chance to learn something new about your preferences or about wines in general.
Yesterday I suggested some ideas for blind tastings. Here are four more organizing principles to consider. In each case, you can keep all the bottles served within a certain price range or explore for value by offering wines at high, low and in-between prices:
One grape, different regions/countries: for wine grapes that are successfully cultivated across a range of geographies, side-by-side comparisons can be revealing. There are many wines for which such tastings would be easy to arrange: Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Syrah/Shiraz, Pinot Noir . . . .
One grape, same region: if you want to focus on Oregon Pinots or German Rieslings, Piedmont Nebbiolos or Tuscan Sangioveses, this is a chance to compare producers and vintages.
National suite: here’s a way to showcase an array of wines—sparkling, white, red, perhaps rosé—from a particular country. The list of nations with sufficient wine variety is long and growing—and getting more interesting. Invite adventurous friends for an evening of Brazilian or Croatian wines, or stay more traditional with all-Italian, –Spanish, -French, etc.
Same vintage, different producers: otherwise known as a “horizontal” tasting, this scheme can be as tightly defined or wide open as you choose, from 2010 red Bordeaux under $30 to 2009 Cabernet Sauvignons from all over (or Napa Valley only).
No matter what you taste, enjoy.