Tag Archive | blind wine tasting

Come Put Your Blindfold on For This Wine Tasting!

Over the weekend, Jon and I hosted our first blind wine tasting party.  I blogged about the rules in a previous post, here, if you want to know how I intended it to work.  A few weeks ago I put out the invites and everybody selected a different varietal.  Somewhat oddly, we ended up with a near perfect balance of 6 whites and 7 reds.

My Dad was generous enough to do the honors of keeping things truly blind.  Guests bagged their wines before they came in the door, and then my Dad uncorked the wines, mixed them up and labeled them with letters.  So nobody knew which wine was in which bag.  And even if you thought you knew the shape and color of the bottle you brought, you quickly forgot once the festivities got underway!

While Dad was busy uncorking, I had everybody introduce themselves, and explained the rules, and handed out score sheets and tasting notes.  Yes, that’s right.  I’m a nerd!  I trolled the internet and my wine books for notes describing the characteristics of each varietal.  I tried to make them as helpful as I could.  The rules of the game were simple; each guest had to taste each wine and guess the varietal.  They could get a bonus point for guessing the right region.  There was no penalty for incorrect guessing.  As soon as Dad had the wines were ready to go, the party began!  (And yes, in case you were wondering – I party with my parents.  I’m sure that makes me old.  But hey, they are fun!)

The Hidden Labeled Bottles

Once everybody got down to tasting, it was hysterical!  There were as many different types of tasters as people at the party.  One friend pored analytically over the tasting notes while tasting and tried to find the identifiable scents and tastes.  He was so serious!  But interestingly, he finished before any of the rest of us.  Some tasters wrote down their first guess and did not waver.  Others scratched out their guesses several times.  The ladies were laughing uncontrollably as we tried to figure out the wines.  One of the ladies (I can’t remember who now) was wandering around saying (multiple times), “I’m looking for melting butter.”

We all were confused when we got to Wine “F”, which was a white wine.  It poured red!  My mom dumped it out the first time because she wanted to taste all the whites first.  I kept my mouth shut and pondered to myself, because I thought my Dad had made a mistake and put a red in with the whites – but he is an engineer, and normally so meticulous!  So I tasted it and knew instantly that it was a Muscat – a Black Muscat!

As for me, I did really well on the whites – I guessed all 6 correctly!  The reds were a different story.  They were tough!  I couldn’t even guess the Cabernet Sauvignon correctly – none of the wines seemed very oaky, and they were all smooth and delicious.  The further along we got, the tougher it was – thank goodness we had the region bonus points!

Blind Wine Tasting Score Sheet

When everybody finished up with their tastings – we did the big reveal.  I had everybody guess which varietal they thought it was before I opened the bag.  We almost peed our pants laughing when I asked for a guess on a white wine and one of Jon’s friends called out “Merlot!”  Much hooting and hollering occurred when we got a wine right!  It was like being in South America when the home team scored a soccer goal!  The winner for the most correct guesses received a bottle of wine, and we gave a magazine on wine for the guest who got the least correct.  That was a 3 way tie for the worst score – 1 point (out of 26 possible)!  So I had them duke it out via a rousing game of ‘rock, paper, scissors’ for the prize.

All in all, the party was certainly fun, and definitely something that I would host again.  I think everybody had fun – at least I hope everybody did!

Blind Wine Tasting Party!

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.

For a Blind Wine Tasting Party, You Need Wine!

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!