Who doesn’t love a little wine and cheese?
It’s always been a classy dream of mine to throw/be involved in a wine tasting party. Luckily Andy (and a lot of our friends) also have had this dream… Or maybe they just like drinking it. Being a bit of a wine newbie (I enjoy, but am not super informed), I set out to throw a relatively inexpensive white wine tasting party. It ended up being a lot of fun, plus we got to sample five different types of whites. I would definitely recommend doing this sometime.
Obviously, send out invites ahead of schedule. We asked each couple to bring a complementary cheese with their wine (label covered), and also provided some appetizers, crackers and desserts ourselves. See below for the world’s best icing recipe I discovered while baking a cake for this event.
Find a place in your house (table, island, long counter) and set up the wines with plates and knives for the cheeses. If you’re afraid of spills, provide some easy-to-clean seating.
Be sure to put out some non-alcoholic drinks for those not imbibing or as a palette cleanser of sorts.
I found this link to a wine grading scorecard and used it as a template to create more personalized cards in Excel. It helps to have the descriptions right on the card so people remember what exactly they’re grading. Difficulty marking is proportional to the number of samples you’ve had. For the cards, print off the number of wines x number of samplers. Wine Folly also offers some great tips/info on everything wine.
For our tasting, I picked up a brie-baker and awarded it to the couple who brought the highest ranked wine. It adds a little competition to the evening which is always fun.
Have some group games ready to go. This keeps the evening flowing and helps with breaking the ice if you have a lot of friends from different friend groups.
Enjoy! The winner from our evening was a Gewurztraminer from Fetzer (organic), and the best cheese was a Harvest Moon creamy blue cheese.
Onto Icing: I’ll admit, I cheated a bit on the cake. Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe was on sale for an unbeatable price, and I was in a bit of a rush. But boy, was it worth it! For this icing I got a bit creative. My go-to cake/icing recipe is a Swiss Buttercream from Sweetapolita, but it is time-consuming, tricky and requires unsalted butter which we were out of. I found this great American Buttercream recipe though Glorious Treats, and threw a quarter cup of cream cheese into it. A-mazing. The icing was stiff enough to form and hold peaks on the cake, tasty enough to want to eat and simple enough that it only took one try. If you’re looking for a primo icing, this would be my recommendation.
Let me know if you’ve had any wine tasting successes! We’re going to be hosting a red-wine tasting event once I’m done my work/school at the end of January and are always looking for great party games, epic prizes or tasty treats to spice it up.