Monday, October 3, 2011 |

Entertainment Made Easy - Wine Party


     You have seen the projects that I did for my wine party. The invitations and the little wine journals that I made for each of the guests. Now it's time to talk about the party. I found some great wine tip parties at Epicurious. com and while I didn't have the budget to follow all of the suggestions, I was able to do most of it.
     To start I had each guest bring a bottle of wine that was either one of their favorites to share, or something that they had never tried before, but told them to keep it under a $10 budget. The whole idea was to try different wines that can be bought at a reasonable price. I was really surprised that the majority of the girls while not overly fond of wine, really had fun trying the wines and finding out that there were different varieties that they could really get into.
    To start I had all the bottles lines up around my white counter. It's always best to have the glasses against a white background being it a table, table cloth, or napkin. The counter was perfect because I didn't have enough glasses to go around for each separate wine, so it allowed me to be able to easily access the sink to wash glasses in between tastings. Also I have a fairly large counter and there were 7 guests, which was easily accommodated by the counter. I was sure to have plenty of ice water on hand and some plain bread for in between each tasting as well.
     Next I explained a little bit about how to smell and taste the wines. What to look for in a variety such as red or white. I walked them through the first taste in stages and after that the girls just took off. Our first wine was a Chardonnay, which is usually a favorite for most women, especially when they are not very big into drinking wine. Once we got down to the sweeter wines, I went ahead and stopped the tasting and opened it up for finger foods and conversation for the rest of the evening. I left the sweeter wines till the dessert. When having a wine tasting it is always good to consider a couple of things. I love to have scented candles on, but often times those scents can be over powering so if you intend to have something like that, don't light them until the actual tasting is completed. Scents can overwhelm the nose and keep people from enjoying the bouquets of the wines. Also if you have appetizers before the tasting, be sure to keep them very basic in taste. Again you don't want one thing overwhelming the senses. Since the party started at 6:30 I chose to just have some finger foods on hand for after the tasting it's self. I had a little help with the food, but it still over all didn't cost more than $40 for everything. A few of the items were a little pricey, but well worth the money.
     For finger foods I served up the plain shepherds bread slightly baked to be warm and crunchy on the outside, crustinis which I made by slicing some french baguette and lightly covering them with olive oil and putting them under the broiler till crisp. I than flipped them over, applied a little more olive oil and baked that side till toasted as well. I had three kinds of cheeses; hard Parmesan cut into little squares, a crumbled Gorgonzola, and a triple creme' Brie. I don't particularly care for Brie, but a sales associate at Trader Joe's opened one up for us to try and it was to die for. Had a similar flavor to blue cheese with the bite, and with the cream texture, it was heaven! If was just their label brand, but it was worth it and made it a little less expensive. We also had three kinds of meats; gourmet pepperoni, salami, and Prosciutto. Some muscapone almonds rounded out the finger foods.
     For dessert I had a Chocolate Ganache cake from Trader Joe's. It's a very rich cake with a chocolate mousse in the center and a little goes a long way. We paired this up with the sweet wines and champagnes of the evening. A list of our wines for the night:

Megage a' Trois - Chardonnay - California - 2009 - I gave it a two star rating
Concannon - Petite Sirah - Central Coast California - 2009 (first petite Sirah in America) - Three star
Five Rivers  - Pinot Noir - Hopeland California - 2008 - Three stars
Herding Cats - Merlot/Pinotage - Western S. Africa - 2010 - Four stars (the favorite of the night)
Blanc de Blancs - French Sparkling wine Brut - Trader Joe's label - four star
Mosacato Villa Alena - Sweet White Wine - Italy - Four stars (available at Trader Joe's)
Chocolate Lovers Wine - Creme De Cocoa - Three stars (available at Fresh and Easy)

     For me the surprise of the evening was the Mosacato. I'm definitely into full bodied red wines with very little sweet and so being familiar with Mosacato I was expecting to be on sugar overload, but not so. Not only was it light and crisp, but very low sweet flavor and it was sparkling. A great accompaniment to the chocolate ganache cake. I was also impressed with the variety of wines that the girls brought as well. When hosting a party with experienced wine drinkers you can also narrow it down to one type of variety like Chardonnay, Merlot, Shiraz, or Champagne.
     The best part for me was to see everyone writing in their journals and really I think for some of them having a little more appreciation for wine now that they know more about what to look for in a variety of wine. The main thing is that there is no right or wrong way to taste a wine. Every one's taste buds are different. If your interested in more information and ideas about hosting your own wine event go to Epicurious for a detailed planning guide. Just remember you don't have to follow all the rules and there is a party for every budget.


KittyKrafter said...

It was a great party. Thanks again for your hard work and shared experience.

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