Every year one of our friends, Matthew, has a wine tasting party for his birthday. We went last year and thought it was such a great idea, and last night was this year's latest notch in the tradition. It's a simple concept, a fantastic way to see friends, have a LOT of drink, and spend much, much less than you would on any given night out.
Here's how you do it:
1. Pick the wines you want to try- for us it was an evening of red wines, from 6 different categories (Cabernets and Pinots, Rioja's, Merlot's, Shiraz's, Malbec's and Blends).
2. Assign your friends one bottle from a category (trying to keep it as even as possible)- Mike and I were asked to bring a 'blend' wine.
3. Once the wines arrive, copy out the description on the back of the bottle and promptly number and cover the bottle (our friends were creative and thrifty and used old wallpaper scraps for this job!)
4. Lay the bottles out in the designated categories- for example, a table for Merlot's, another for your Shiraz's, etc, and lay out the descriptions with the corresponding bottles.
-Easy way to do this is to number the bottles and 'letter' the descriptions. So if you have 5 Merlot's, your bottles are numbered 1-5...the copied out descriptions are lettered from A-E. Make sure the right descriptions are with the right wines!
5. Give everyone a score card and enjoy going round the different areas, reading the ridiculous descriptions and attempting to match the wine you taste with the descriptions next to them.
We ended up having well over 20 bottles of wine and even with everyone going round, there was some left over by the end of the official 'tasting' (which, by the way, we did not score very well on). Some people brought cheese and crackers as well, which added an extra classy element! And because we knew this was coming up, we were able to keep an eye out for good offers on wine and found a great bottle (ie had a security tag) half off AND managed to get loyalty points for it. So we ended up getting more than a little merry, having a lot of fun and spending less than we would have buying even just two drinks down at the pub. Plus, we can now say in snooty voices that yes, we have indeed been to a wine tasting before...
*thanks to Matthew and Sheena Dick for a great idea and for hosting (and Matthew and Sarah for having birthdays), and to Dave Dick for the picture!