Jon and I decided that we wanted to do a Blind Wine Tasting Party. We have heard about them from time to time and it sounds like it would be fun. Jon and I frequently open blended wines and try to guess which grapes went into the blend, but we haven’t ever tasted wines where we have no information ahead of time about the wine. So, we came up with a plan and a strategy.
Here are our proposed “rules”, so to speak:
1. We had to limit the guest list. Unfortunately, if you leave it open ended, then you either end up with too many choices of wines, or not enough wine in each bottle for everybody to taste it. Plus the logistics of pouring small pours at stations in our kitchen, and too many people could make for a lot of bumping into each other, and the potential to spill wines or break glasses. The web (and isn’t the web always right!?) says that a tasting party gets unmanageable at more than 12 people. I invited more than that, but the laws of adult responsibilities mean that some of my friends won’t be able to attend.
2. Each guest has to bring a single varietal wine, and inform me ahead of time which varietal they are choosing to bring. Only one bottle of each varietal will be allowed. This is so we have some variety (get it, variety – varietal? I know, that was dumb…), because it would be a different kind of tasting if everybody brought a Cab. Although that might be a different wine themed party someday!
3. Jon and I want to play the game too, so to maintain the mystery of each wine, each guest will place their bottle in the “oh-so-classy” brown paper bag before they come in the house. This is so I can have the neighbors believing all my friends stroll about town with a shopping cart and a bottle of booze in a brown paper bag! Then the guest will uncork the bottle and remove the foil top, so nobody can read Chateau Ste. Michelle on the foil.
4. Then we’ll shuffle all the reds and all the whites, and then assign each one a letter, for anonymity.
5. Guests can talk among themselves about the wine, but we really do want each guest to try to guess for themselves. What’s the fun in copying from your neighbor? Ok, I’m sure some of you will say that was easier in High School, but that doesn’t make it right. Plus, I have a feeling this will be ten times more difficult to judge whether a Sauvignon Blanc has those characteristics if you can’t see the bottle to know that’s what it is.
I’ll give everybody a score sheet, with a section for each lettered wine. Guests will try to guess the varietal and the region for each wine. And of course, we’ll have a section for tasting notes, so guests can let us know which ones they like best, in case they want to go out and find that wine! I’m going to be nice too, and even provide a primer on the characteristics of each varietal, for my less wine-adventurous friends.
It’s all in good fun, but we’ll see who gets the most points to decide the King or Queen of the glass! I’ll let you know how it goes, but let me know if you have any suggestions for how to make it better. Now I just have to wait for the party!