There’s nothing better than breaking out some gorgeous summer wines and hosting an intimate gathering at your house. Prepare some hors d’oeuvres, open some bottles, and host a fun wine-tasting evening at your home! Here are some of our tips for the perfect summer wine tasting:
Prepare a Wine Tasting Space
Nobody wants to be running back and forth to the kitchen throughout the evening – set up your tasting area with all your necessities in advance and you’ll be thankful for it when you can relax later! Load up the table with corkscrews, ice buckets, and all of your wines!
Chill Your Wines
Some of your wines may need to be chilled! General rules have white wines chilled to between 45 and 50°F and reds from 55 to 60°F but research the types of wines you are serving and adjust accordingly! Whites should be chilled 3 hours in advance and red wine can normally be served at room temperature.
Invest in a Coravin
A Coravin is one of our favorite tools for a wine tasting (and for cooking with wine!) as it allows you to open a variety of wines without worrying that they’ll all go bad if they aren’t consumed immediately! They come in gorgeous colors and allow you to open wines without breaking the cork – they allow you to enjoy wine sealed with corks without feeling the need to commit to the whole bottle, so that you can explore wines of any vintage, varietal or region, one taste at a time. Find yours here.
Choose Your Wines
For wine tastings, we like to go with flexible wines – things that work well with food and can complement other flavors. Chardonnay, for instance, can be overwhelmingly oaky or toasty, and can overpower food – so make sure to offer some lighter, crisper whites as well! We like to have a variety of wines to complement any palate – and choose some wild cards as well! There’s nothing better than introducing your guests to an unknown region or varietal and there are so many unique options imported nowadays that you can have a great variety!
Open Your Wines
Any wines that might need to breathe before consuming them should be opened and possibly decanted in advance – but make sure whites and sparkling are kept chilled and poured right as they are consumed!
Prepare Your Pairings
There are a few simple rules for pairing food with wine and many different directions you can go. Firstly, decide if you want to pair like food and wine or mirror and contrast the flavors (or both!) As long as you make sure that your food doesn’t overpower your wine, and vice versa, your pairings will be delicious. Humble food can be great with simple wine, but if you’re breaking out a delicious Filet Mignon, choose a wine that can stand up to it. Similarly, if you have bold, spicy food, choose a bold wine that can stand up to it and not get washed out.
Don’t overthink things! You’re there to have fun with your friends and, unless you’re a Master Sommelier, the wine tasting should be simple enough to allow that fun to happen! Once you’ve set out the pairings and opened the wines, sit back and have a good time. Cheers!