I pretty much drink “red” wine and have been wanting to develop my palette for a long time so I can order faster at a restaurant and know which wines to splurge on. This dumbed down tasting helped me distinguish between the red wine varietals Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel. It was a lot of fun and an inexpensive way to celebrate New Year’s Eve! So get yourself some cheap wine, $5-$8 per bottle, a few interesting cheeses and invite some friends over. Tasting the less expensive bottles works well because the flavors can be less complex and there is no pressure to like it. It’s more about connecting with the different flavors of each grape so you can make better choices going forward. If you’re like me and want to hone in on what you like I promise you will have a blast! Here are our budget-friendly ideas to create this party:
WINE > Remember we’re not testing your sommelier skills so look for grocery store wines at $5 per bottle for this party. You can even splurge on a $10 bottle and compare a blend like Menage a Trois, one of our favorites. We grabbed the three reds mentioned above from the grocery store sale bin (all by the same label) and three whites, Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, and Sauvignon Blanc. The fun comes in when you blind fold one another and try to see who can identify what they’re tasting. We asked every person what was their favorite varietal and then gave them a blind taste test that included that plus three others! It was comical because we didn’t have fine wines but it was roaring hilarious when most of us couldn’t properly name the wines we love and consume often!
CHEESE > Buy at least one cheese you’ve never tasted before! Many specialty items are on sale this time of year and I find that grocery deli staff are super helpful if you need suggestions. I recently tried Fontina which is super soft and creamy. If you like strong flavor how about a bleu cheese? Just remember that cheese does make any wine taste better and could impact your wine favorites!
RESOLUTIONS > Have some note cards or paper on the table to encourage thought flow. We’re all so busy there’s hardly time to consider what you want to accomplish next year!! In between tastes is the perfect time to doodle or talk out your plans for the New Year. We created some little cards, perforated business-sized, and used old wine corks to set them at each place setting.
If you ARE a wine connoisseur please forgive me for this ultra-dumbed down tasting party idea. Yes one day we can take the next step and experience truly fine wines and cheeses but we’re just starting out here. And we found that a blindfolded taste test of regular, inexpensive wines is really quite effective for learning. After all knowing what you like is smart before you spend a bunch of money. Am I right?
This is truly a party you can throw together at the last minute. We hope you will enjoy it! Oh and by the way….Zinfandel!! I know now that I’m looking for a Zinfandel!!!