It’s no secret that COVID-19 has significantly impacted and changed the way we keep ourselves entertained. However, this shouldn’t mean the eradication of life’s simple pleasures … AKA wine tasting. So perhaps you can’t venture out for a large and lavish wine tasting at certain venues (although this is sure to return to normal again in the not-so-distant future), but this doesn’t mean your wine tasting days are behind you. So, in the meantime, while we wait for restrictions to lift, here is our definitive guide for everything you need to set yourself up for an at-home wine tasting.
First call of importance and the star of the event is, of course, the wine. “But what wine do I choose?” I hear you asking. “What if I choose horrible wines and ruin everyone’s night!?”. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered here. Firstly, it’s important (and fun) to have some sort of a theme when wine tasting, whether that’s only drinking Chardonnay from a particular region or tasting wines under a $20 threshold, for example.
A good way to make sure you don’t break the bank is to get each guest to bring a bottle. Letting them know your theme in advance and setting a price range will be beneficial to all. If you wanted to be extra adventurous, you could even leave all the wines in their paper bags and host a blind tasting, numbering the bottles and taking notes as you go. For this particular tasting example, we have curated a list of red wines ranging from lightest to boldest.
Mandala 2019 Yarra Valley Pinot Noir
Mr Riggs 2018 The Magnet Grenache
Lenton Brae 2018 Cabernet Merlot
Tim Adams 2016 Cabernet Malbec
Katnook Estate 2017 Founder’s Block Cabernet Sauvignon
Coolangatta Estate 2014 Tannat
You should fill the glass with roughly two or three sips’ worth of wine (around two ounces). This is enough to fully taste and become familiar with the aromas, but definitely no more as it’s all about tasting and experiencing and having too much too soon will inhibit your ability to distinguish between the flavour profile of the wines.
Setting the table:
How many wine glasses you need will depend on how many guests you invite to your tasting event. We suggest a smaller, more intimate group so that it’s not only easier to stay on top of glasses but also so you can have in-depth discussions regarding the wine without having to inconveniently shout over anybody. Generally, a white tablecloth should be used so tasters can see the colour of the wine and don’t forget to supply plenty of water.
The food and snacks:
Whilst it may be particularly tempting to snack away as you sip, eating at the same time as you taste has the potential to ruin the flavour profile of the wine and muddle your tastebuds. Instead, we suggest holding off on the cheese and olives until all wines have been tasted and supplying palate cleansers such as bland crackers - not very exciting, but we’ll get to the food next.
Once you’ve gotten through the nitty-gritty of your tasting, it’s up to you what you choose to do in the way of eating, but trust us, your guests are definitely not going to say no to a loaded charcuterie board or a lovely dinner. Since we’ve gone with a theme of red wine for our hypothetical tasting, it only makes sense to cook up a beautiful tomato based bolognese to devour whilst you enjoy the full range of the chosen wines. Put out a few different varieties of cheese, some dark chocolate and fresh berries for dessert and we guarantee your guests are going to leave with a big satisfied grin on their face.