Artisan Wine Review
Your Subtitle text

Tasting Groups

An enjoyable way to learn about pairing wine with food is to form a wine tasting group with your fellow enthusiasts. 
Note: We suggest that you try to keep your group tastings to a maximum of eight people.   Experience has shown that the more people that attend a wine event, the more difficult it becomes to maintain everyone's focus on the wine tasting.
After organizing, the next step is to have everyone in your group start planning a monthly series of wine and food pairing events. 
Equipment needed:
  • 1 corkscrew
  • 8 paper bags
  • 8 decanters
  • At least 4 quality wine glasses per person

Note: It is not required to change glasses as each course is being served.   Rinsing out your glass with distilled water and then reusing the glass is perfectly acceptable (Check out our, "How to Spill and Rinse" feature elsewhere on this website).

Here is how it works:
One person will volunteer to be the host for a wine dinner that has a specific culinary theme.   Each member of the group must bring a wine to pair with their assigned part of the meal, along with their explanation for selecting that particular wine.
It is recommended that two of the wines in each tasting be specifically designated for pairing with the appetizer course, and another two wines be designated for pairing with the dessert course.  The remaining four wines should be used to pair with the evening’s main course. 
In order to avoid any arguments breaking out over who brings what wine for which course, we recommend that each member of the group draws one of eight playing cards lying face down on a table to determine the food course they will be assigned at the next tasting event.
    2 Queens  = appetizer course
•    4 Kings  = main course
•    2 Aces  = dessert course

The Leader:
It is best for members to drop off the selected wines at least one day before the event to the person designated as the leader.  That person will remove the capsule from the neck of each bottle before putting the bottles inside paper bags; this will help keep identifying clues out of sight of the rest of the tasting participants.  The leader should also mark the Appetizer bags Queen, Main Course bags King, and Dessert bags Ace.   About one hour before the start of the tasting, the leader will take each bottle and, without removing them from their paper bags, pour the wine into the appropriate decanters labeled Queen, King and Ace.
Note: Upon getting the bottles, the leader should discreetly mark the back of each paper bag with the alcohol content of the enclosed wine.   That way on the day of the event they can fill the decanters in such a way that the serving order of each wine course will go from lower alcohol wines to higher alcohol wines.

Taste #1:
A wine tasting with no food being served
(1 ounce pours)

During this relaxed tasting, each member of the group should take turns explaining the reasons why they selected the wine they brought to the event.    Please note: Your tasting events will be better served if each member would use generic wine descriptors when they speak, such as;

“I chose to bring a Loire Valley Sauvignon Blanc to the dinner because…”

“I’ve selected a young, Oregon Pinot Gris for this course due to the…”

“I’ve paired tonight's dessert with an Italian Brachetto for the reason that the …”

This method of not revealing the name of the wine's producer, vintage date, or price will allow the focus of the evening to remain on how well each individual wine pairs with the foods being served, rather than the status of each wine presented.
Taste #2:
Tasting the same wines paired with food
(1-1/2 ounce pours)

One person takes notes of member's comments during both tastings.  At the end of the meal, the votes on each wine are tallied.  Once that is done, the identity of the wines held in each decanter can be revealed.   At this point, the leader may choose to bring up any interesting comments recorded during the tasting, such as impressions of a particular wine when it was served without food, and later, how people felt about the same wine after the food arrived.
Tasting events like these, where the wine's characteristics are discussed while its identity is kept hidden, can add an element of fun to the proceedings.  They are also helpful in removing any biases that a wine might receive based on its name recognition and/or its purchase price.

Meal Themes:
Wine is not only served with haut-cuisine.  Why not try starting off your wine and food tasting group with a few more relaxed, main course themes such as these:
  • Spaghetti and Meatballs
  • Fish and Chips
  • Pizza served four different ways
  • Marinated Strip Steaks, sliced and served over Caesar Salad
  • Jambalaya
  • Pierogies sautéed with onions - served with Sour Cream
  • Cedar-Planked Salmon with Mango Salsa
  • Potato Pancakes served with an assortment of grilled, German Würst
  • Spanish Paella
  • Pulled Pork Sandwiches served with Cole Slaw and Corn on the Cob
  • A variety of Dim Sum selections
  • Hungarian Goulash over Egg Noodles
  • Chicken Pot Pie
  • Steamed Crab Legs served with Drawn Butter
  • Stuffed Peppers
  • Smoked Trout Salad, Horseradish Cream Dressing

                                 Tasting Notes:
In the section below, print out 8 copies of the front and back tasting pages we've provided for use at your group’s next wine and food pairing event.

Tasting Event:
Wine #___

  Ratings Key                  Scoring the Wine
I’m not a Fan  = 1 Star                           Example:     
It’s Not Bad    = 2 Stars                Stars    2    -  Stars  4
Taste Good      = 3 Stars            (tasted) Alone   (with) Food
Excellent        = 4 Stars 
Truly Sublime  = 5 Stars

Taster    #1         #2         #3       #4         #5       #6        #7        #8
              ___ ___     ___ ___     ___ ___   ___ ___     ___ ___    ___ ___    ___ ___    ___ ___
                   Alone / Food     Alone / Food      Alone / Food   Alone / Food      Alone / Food    Alone / Food    Alone / Food    Alone / Food
Taster    #1         #2         #3       #4        #5        #6        #7        #8
              ___ ___     ___ ___     ___ ___   ___ ___     ___ ___    ___ ___    ___ ___    ___ ___
                 Alone / Food     Alone / Food      Alone / Food   Alone / Food      Alone / Food    Alone / Food    Alone / Food    Alone / Food
Taster    #1         #2         #3       #4        #5        #6        #7        #8
              ___ ___     ___ ___     ___ ___   ___ ___     ___ ___    ___ ___    ___ ___    ___ ___
                 Alone / Food     Alone / Food      Alone / Food   Alone / Food      Alone / Food    Alone / Food    Alone / Food    Alone / Food
                            Balance: (Sugar / Acid)
Taster    #1         #2         #3       #4        #5        #6        #7        #8
              ___ ___     ___ ___     ___ ___   ___ ___     ___ ___    ___ ___    ___ ___    ___ ___
                 Alone / Food     Alone / Food      Alone / Food   Alone / Food      Alone / Food    Alone / Food    Alone / Food    Alone / Food
Taster    #1         #2         #3       #4        #5        #6        #7        #8
              ___ ___     ___ ___     ___ ___   ___ ___     ___ ___    ___ ___    ___ ___    ___ ___
                 Alone / Food     Alone / Food      Alone / Food   Alone / Food      Alone / Food    Alone / Food    Alone / Food    Alone / Food
Overall Rating:
Taster    #1         #2         #3       #4        #5        #6        #7        #8
                    _____            _____           _____        _____          _____          _____         _____          _____

Wine Info:

Wine Name:______________________________________



Region:_________________  Vintage: ______  n/v: ____

Date of Tasting: ___-___-___ 

Event Location:

Food Served:


Entrée: ___________________________________________


Wine Tasters:









Additional Comments on the Wine:







                          A Final Thought:
Wine Tastings are just that, wine tastings, not drinking fest.  
It means that newbies to the world of wine tasting must learn the delicate art of sniffing and sipping the small quantities in each glass in order to fully appreciate nuances in their wine.
These tasting events have been designed in a way that assures each participant consumes approximately 3 glasses of wine over the course of several hours.   That is more than enough alcohol for the average individual to drink during that time. 
We recommend serving glasses of mineral water to supplement anyone's thirst requirements during these tasting events.  It will help keep people's palates fresh from alcohol fatigue, as well as assisting participants in the pacing of their sips of wine.
Web Hosting Companies