Here at Regale, we love parties – especially one with a good icebreaker, and, even better, something involving wine! Might we suggest incorporating a little blind wine tasting to your family gathering, game night, company team building, or throwing a whole party aimed at getting your guests interacting with a fun blind tasting. It will get people thinking, comparing notes, and most importantly… talking! If you are looking for a gorgeous locale as a bonus, come visit us for a private event at Regale and have a blind tasting hosted by one of our wine specialists. It make your party an event to remember and is great to add to an offsite as a team building activity!
A How-To for a Blind Tasting Party:
- Gather three-five bottles of wine (definitely throw a Regale bottling in there!) – ideally single varietal bottles from different regions and vintages. Alternatively guests can each bring a favorite mystery bottle to share.
- Cover and number your bottles – for our team building events at Regale we have snazzy burlap blind tasting bags printed with numbers, but you can use brown paper bags, decanters, or even wrap your bottles in aluminum foil! Remember- a bottle’s shape can be a cue towards the varietal, so keep this in mind when selecting how to disguise the bottle if your guests are wine savvy.
- Provide tasting cards so your guests can take notes and eventually submit their guesses. Decide if you want to provide a key of the different offerings or leave them completely in the dark.
As guests are tasting, you can sound like an expert by reminding them of…
The Three Steps to Blind Tasting:
- Consider the appearance for maturity and other cues
- Consider the aroma for varietal cues
- Consider the mouth for taste, body, finish, overall quality
Step 1: Appearance – Color and Opacity
- What color is the wine? Whites gain color as they age, reds are most vibrant when young and fade or take on a more brick color with an orange or brown hue.
- How opaque is the wine? Can you read text through the wine or is it so opaque that light barely comes through it?
Step 2: Aroma – Smell and Physical Indicators
- 1st Sniff – Does it remind you of varietals you have tasted in the past?
- Shirt sniffs vs. long draws; swirling for aeration
- Think about the descriptors:
- F – Fruit
- E – Earth
- W – Wood
- Physical reaction – Acidity (salivation), tannin (bitterness), alcohol (heat)
Step 3: Mouth – Taste, Texture, and Finish
- Body – Light-medium, medium-full, full:
- Pinot Noir Light to Medium
- Sangiovese Light to Medium
- Cabernet Franc Medium
- Barbera Medium
- Zinfandel Medium
- Merlot Medium to Full
- Malbec Medium to Full
- Syrah Medium to Full
- Petite Sirah Full
- Cabernet Sauvignon Full
- Is the wine balanced?
- Dry, off-dry, or sweet?
- Alcohol – Prominent (riper/warmer region) or balanced (cooler climate region)
- Tannins, if any- how heavy?
- Length – Short, medium, or long (acidity and complexity)
- What varietal could it be? Use your past tasting experiences and memory.
- Are there any varietals you can rule out?
- The important part is the journey to reach a conclusion – don’t worry too much about the final guess!
The more you practice, the better you get – so cheers to that!