How To: Throw a wine-tasting party

Throw a wine-tasting party

There's more to hosting a wine tasting than putting out glasses and crackers. These guidelines will help make your party a soiree to remember.
You Will Need
* Wine
* Wine glasses
* Paper cups
* Plain crackers or bread
* Water
* Tasting sheets
* Pencils
* Paper bags (optional)
* A prize (optional)

Step 1: Buy the wine
Pick a theme. Contrast whites and reds from the same region; compare wines made from the same grape but harvested in different areas or years; or focus on a single wine producer and pick several of their wines for comparison.

Step 2: Provide the proper glasses
Provide the proper glasses. White wine glasses are smaller than red wine glasses, which have more of a bowl shape. Have paper cups on hand that guests can use as spittoons.

Step 3: Prepare the wine
Chill white wines for about an hour before serving; you don't want them too cold. Serve the red wine at cellar, not room, temperature, which is 55 to 58 degrees. If the reds have been sitting in a warm room, stick them in the fridge for a few minutes.

Step 4: Have palate clearers
Have plain crackers or bread on hand, as well as water, so that guests can clear their palates between tastings. Hold off on serving food until the tasting is completed.

Step 5: Provide tasting sheets
Provide tasting sheets and pencils so everyone can take notes as they sip.

Step 6: Pour a taste
Pour everyone about a third of a glass of the first wine. If you're serving reds and whites, start with whites, moving from the lightest bodied wines to the fullest.

Step 7: Discuss the color
Note the color – a white wine should be clear, a full-bodied red should have a deep, rich color.

Step 8: Sniff and discuss
Encourage your guests to swirl the wine in their glass and take a big sniff of the aroma. Compare notes on what you detect, like fruity, spicy, herbal, floral, or earthy scents.

Step 9: Taste the wine
Instruct guests to take a sip, take a little air into their mouth, and then swirl

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