Grape Minds - September 2016
Wine Flights At Home
Who needs wine bars? Here's how to host a successful tasting event in your own living room.
With Anna's recommendations for Steals (around $10), Deals ($15 range) and Splurges ($20 - $40 range) - all locally available in the Bay-Waveland area!
- story and photos by Anna Speers
A typical wine flight consists of 3 to 4 glasses of small pours, usually 2-3 ounces per glass. The wines will most often be of a single varietal but will feature different growing regions, winemaking techniques and price points. Let's take Pinot Noir for an example. A flight may showcase a lighter-bodied selection from New Zealand, a middleweight from Oregon and a sturdier finisher from California or France.
A wine flight participant should follow a few rules to get the most out of their tasting experience:
But the fun doesn't have to be limited to restaurants, my friends! We can play this game at home, with some intriguing variations to spice it up.
For a basic tasting, select your wine type and follow the guidelines and setup described above. Call up the gang and have at least three people bring a different bottle each (or buy them yourself if you're feeling generous). Everyone else can bring food. Keep the nibbles simple and in line with your wine selection. Think finger food.
I am not a subscriber to the “white wine with fish and red wine with steak” guideline. Party snacks for wine tastings can be literally whatever you like, but in case you're stuck, here are some classic pairings:
A fun way to put a spin on hosting a wine flight party is by doing a blind tasting. Everything proceeds as usual, with two twists. First, each bottle should be well disguised. Remove the cork and the foil collar and place it back in the small brown paper bag in which it came, securing the bag around the neck of the bottle with some string. It is especially helpful if each bottle has a different color of string for identification. Second, only the host should know which bottle is which. As always, the selected wines should show a good range of quality, price point and place of origin. Taste, enjoy and then start asking questions with your group.
Which wine is the least expensive? Which is the most? Which one came from (insert each region/country/continent here)? Which was your favorite? If the selection of wines includes any blended wines, the group can flex its collective palate sensitivity by attempting to identify what grapes are used in each blend. This can be very challenging but it is a fantastic way to see if your taste buds are as good as you think they are.
Remember, when tasting a wine we should take the time to appreciate the color, the nose, the mouthfeel, the tasting notes and the finish. Use these observations to guide your guesses, and good luck!
Steals, Deals and Splurges
PS: Since this month's article was not specific to any one type of wine, here are a few of my personal favorites in each price category. Hope you enjoy!
Steal: 19 Crimes Red Blend: smooth, nuanced and very beginner friendly.
Deal: Joel Gott Sauvignon Blanc: bright, clean and hefty (13.9% ABV!).
Splurge: Conundrum White Blend: balanced, creamy and slightly sweet.
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