This is kind of embarrassing to admit, but I have a bit of a checkered past with wine. David and I reminisce about early in our marriage when we would bring Boone’s Farm on a camping trip. (I don’t think this even really qualifies as wine, does it?) After that, the first wine I remember liking was the Golden Rhine from Stone Hill Winery, a sweet Missouri white. Me now: Blech. We then graduated to the ever-popular and oh so economical Three Buck Chuck from Trader Joe’s. (Which say what you will, but I still say is totally fine for making sangria!)
But I’d like to think that my taste has evolved somewhat. Not into a wine snob by any means, but into someone who likes good wine, enjoys talking about its nuances and appreciates the way it complements my meal. Creating in the kitchen is one of my favorite past-times, and as I’ve become more of a student of food, my interest in pairing beverages has followed suit.
Several years ago, as I was emerging from my Three Buck Chuck phase, I would often consult with my fellow foodie, friend and co-worker, Laura. I would tell her what I was cooking or a type of wine I liked and she would offer recommendations for expanding my palate. Laura was, and still is today, a member of a wine club, and a creative one at that. Her Wine Belles group created a complete guide to starting your own wine group, which she was recently kind enough to share with me. Because good friends inspire even from afar.
Select a Theme
So with my handy guidebook and tastefully designed wine-scoring sheets in hand, I plotted a theme for a blind tasting. According to my guide, here are a few ways a tasting can be organized:
By Region: (from a specific country, region, state or city)
By Types/Varietal: (wines from the same grape such as: Chardonnays from California)
Wineries: same wine type and winery from different vintages (years), or wines all from the same wineries
Pairings: Wines and chocolate (heck yes); wines and food from the same country; wines for holiday meals
Just for fun: Pretty labels; fun names; three thrifty and three expensive wines; Wines for Tailgating; Boxed Wines