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June 28, 2017

GIRL’S GUIDE TO HOSTING A WINE TASTING

Hosting a wine tasting can be daunting at first, but I’m here to share a few tips on how to make your next wine event fun and fabulous. Dust off the decanter and bring out your cutest wine charms! Ladies, we are hosting a wine tasting!   
INVITES
It’s important to invite the right people for this particular event. Focus on inviting not just your best girlfriends but more importantly, wine-loving besties. Or at least those interested in trying something new. The worst wine parties are those who have either Wine Snobs (know-it-all wine drinkers) or Wine-No’s (those guests who don’t want to try anything new, yet complain about everything). Also, it’s a good idea to include a quick wine survey in the invitation. This will give you an idea of the various taste palates in the group.  

WINE
Choosing the right wine does not have to be an intimidating affair! Wine is very diverse, exploratory, experimental and (let’s not leave out) fun. The amount of wine needed for this type of gathering will depend on the number of persons invited. The typical size of a tasting pour is 1- 2 ounces per person. Two bottles of each varietal should do for guiding a tasting with a group of six to eight women. The idea is to make sure each person has enough wine to taste, (see, swirl, smell, sip, and savor) as well as a few drops leftover to enjoy after the tasting. Choosing the wine is my favorite part of party planning. Based on the survey from your invites, be sure to select from the four basic food groups… White Wine, Rosé, Red Wine, and a Dessert Wine.    

  • White Wine – Chardonnay is a good basic choice. If you are in the mood for adventure, try Viognier (“Vee-own-yay”). This is a delicious grape varietal native to France. In Virginia, Viognier was granted the privilege of the state’s signature grape.
  • Rosé – I like to have fun with Rosé. This wine is sipped sparkling or still. Either way, Rosé all day!
  • Red Wine – Merlot is a very popular grape. Blended with other grapes or drank on its own. If you are in the mood for adventure, try Cabernet Franc. The viticulture love-child of Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc is a varietal that grows very well on the East coast. With its peppery undertone, medium acidity and mouth-watering tannin, this wine will keep you warm in the winter months and satisfied during the rest of the year.
  • Dessert Wine – I recently took a course on Sherry wine. Believe me, it’s not just for cooking. Sherry is primarily produced from the Palomino grapes. The wines can range from dry to very sweet. Pedro Ximénez (PX) is the sweetest. With notes of dried figs, apricots and honey. This wine pairs superbly poured over vanilla bean ice-cream or served chilled in a small glass for leisurely sipping.  

STEMWARE
The key word to stemware is “crystal”. There is a great difference in the wine tasting experience when sipping from crystal stemware verses glass stemware. Crystal wine glasses are created for swirling and twirling. The ridged edges give the perfect scene for aeration within the bowl of the stemware. Just imagine oxidizing wine, swaying in your glass, preparing an air flow of aromas bursting out of the wine goblet, awaiting an inhale of personally recognized characteristics. Stemware can change the game of wine tasting.      

SNACKS & CANAPÉS
Keep it simple by selecting a few different cheeses, fruits, and crackers. As well as chocolates or ice cream for dessert. If you are in the mood for adventure, discover the offers and varieties of charcuterie and pâté. 

Follow these easy steps and your next wine tasting event will be an absolute success. Most importantly, relax and have fun. One of the most fascinating aspects about wine is that everyone’s experience is their own. The secret to wine tasting is that there are “No” wrong interpretations. Each of our palettes are diverse. What you experience is different from another, yet the consensus is the enjoyment of sharing those thoughts with our peers, and the excitement of learning something new.

Santé!

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BY KIMBERLY T. JOHNSON

Kimberly T. Johnson is just a humble Charm City Girl, born and raised on the Westside of Baltimore City’s concrete jungle. Combine her crush for the love of wine, bottled with a thirst for learning, aged through passion for the fermented grape, creating the perfect vintage. her tenure in the Maryland wine industry spans over a decade. These memorable moments have developed into a lifelong infatuation with the fermented grape. Join her on this grape adventure by visiting her wine blog, thewinescholar.wordpress.com. I’m certain your palate will thank you.

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