DIY Wine Tasting at Home
If you know me at all, then you know I love Birthdays and love to make each of them fun and unique! We have done spa days, treasure hunts, birthday pub crawls, birthday lucky dips (yes – really!), surprise trips and even ‘pick an envelope’ to choose a birthday activity. Lockdown has obviously put constraints on what we can safely do- but that didn’t stop me! Husband’s Birthday last weekend was the perfect time to surprise him with a DIY Wine Tasting at Home. I’d never hosted a wine tasting before so there was a fair bit of researching, planning and internet browsing to do- but it was a great fun and the wine tasting was brilliant. So, I thought I’d share a little bit of how I put it together with you all!!!
Here are the ingredients you need to get your party started… and then just add wine.
The idea was to blindly taste six different wines, guess the country of origin, the variety of wine – along with notes on the appearance, nose and taste – to then give each one a score and reveal each bottle at the end.
Bottle bags are a must to ensure the tasting is blind. I found some amazing numbered hessian wine bags which were perfect and looked the part.
As it was just the two of us, it wasn’t too much trouble to have a selection of wine glasses. We had flutes, white wine glasses and stemless red wine glasses. It is not a myth, that the right glass for the right wine is so important and can really enhance the flavour of your wine!
I was a bit stuck when it came to serving the wine at the correct temperature, as I wanted it to be a surprise, so needed a ‘grand reveal’. Consequently, the wine was served at room temperature – which while wasn’t ideal, it worked pretty well. We started the tasting with the prosecco so we could pop that in the fridge to return to later!
I found a couple of free printable wine scorecard sheets online but none of them quite suited my plan, so I whipped up my own instead… the only downside to that, was I had to do them by hand (we don’t have a printer… something we may have to correct soon!), but I wanted them to be just right, and it was worth it in the end!
I also decided to make a few posters to help us along our way. For both country and variety of wine, I just included the answers but on the posters for appearance, nose and taste I put a selection of ideas and answers.
An ‘answer’ Sheet
When we got to the big reveal about which wines had been tasted, I thought it would be useful to provide a little extra information. I made sure I had a full list of ‘answers’ and further facts on each of the wines.
Wine Tasting Guide
I thought it was important to have a more definite guide to refer to for extra clues and help. I found ‘Wine. A Tasting Course: Every Class in a Glass’ by Marnie Old, which was a perfect companion. The book is so informative – but easy to digest and worked really well for us to dip in and out of as we tasted and particularly at the end to look up even more about the wines we had tasted.
I thought it would be extremely sensible/necessary to have some food to go along side all the wine! We had some plain crisps, crackers, and a vegan savoury box of Little Pie Patisserie treats. The savoury box was incredible value for money and as always from Little Pie- absolutely delicious. It was also really nice to have some substantial snacks while we tasted the wine!
Little Pie Patisserie
Vegan Savoury Box £15.00
Vegan Sausage Rolls
Tomato and Chilli Palmier
Pesto and Cheddar Swirl
Pepper and Harissa Roll Up
Balsamic Mushroom Cup
Chilli Marmite Twists
The Wine List
I chose six bottles; one prosecco, three whites and two reds from Majestic Wine who delivered promptly. It was my first time ordering with them, and they were great. The website was really informative, the wines were reasonably priced and it was easy to find vegan wines from six different countries- which was a must for me. I will definitely be ordering from Majestic again!
(as listed with Majestic)
Corte Alta Prosseco
A classic Prosecco with elegant bubbles designed for effortless sipping. Peach. Pear. Citrus zest.
Characteristics: Stone Fruit
Region: Prosecco Doc
La Belle Angele
You’d be forgiven for overlooking Vins de Pays. In French wine, all the focus is given to AOCs – controlled areas or ‘appellations’ where the type, style and quality of wine is rigorously controlled. It means AOC wines command the highest prices – and Vins de Pays or ‘IGP’ wines are often the leftovers. But that’s not true everywhere. Certain areas like Gascony and the Aude have built their reputation on the exceptional quality of their Vins de Pays – and this wine is a blend of Sauvignon Blanc from both areas. A wine that demonstrates everything that’s great about French Sauvignon. Crisp and refreshing, bursting with flavours of citrus, apple and gooseberry. And because it’s Vins de Pays, it’s a real steal.
Grape: Sauvignon Blanc
Style: Crisp & Zesty
Luis Felipe Edwards
Luis Felipe Edwards is the largest family-owned winery in Chile, and have developed a wide range of markedly Chilean-style wines, from classic grape varieties. This Viognier is pressed in a protective atmosphere and spends only 2 months in oak, for maximum freshness. Light and fresh, yet intensely aromatic. Flavours of peach, apricot and ripe pears cascade across the palate, finishing with a refreshing acidic lift and gentle mineral grip.
Region: Central Valley
Style: Ripe & Rounded
Appellation: Rapel Valley
Yalumbay Series Viognier
The Barossa Valley has some of the oldest vines in the world and is home to Yalumba, founded in 1849. Yalumba has had considerable success with the rare and aromatic Viognier grape. This is a full-bodied dry white, with a gorgeously perfumed floral scent and a ripe, peach and apricot fruit, with a silky palate-feel.
Characteristics: Stone Fruit
Region: South Australia
Style: Aromatic & Floral
Nazare North Canyon
This easy drinking and fruity wine showcases modern Portugal at its best. Soft flavours of blackcurrant and plum are followed by a hint of mint wrapped in a silky smooth texture. Bracing fresh blackcurrant is accompanied by a silky smooth texture and earthy spices.
Secondary Grape Varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon
Style: Smooth & Mellow
Vinalba Malbec Bonarda
Vinalba are one of Majestics most popular Argentinean wineries. The latest addition to the range is a perfect and rich balance between Malbec and Bonarda with fresh cherry flavours and floral notes.
Secondary Grape Varieties: Bonarda
Style: Soft & Fruity
So, there you have it! We will definitely do another wine tasting evening- with so many wines to discover – it’s never ending! And wine is meant to be enjoyed – right? Speaking of which – I must go grab a glass!
If you decide to give it a go- let me know! And you know where I am if you have any questions at all.