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The Best Wines for Your Wine Tasting Party
Looking to host a wine tasting at home? These are the best wines to get your party started.
Hosting a Wine Tasting at Home
Before we dive into the best wines for a wine tasting party, let’s talk basics. First, decide on a budget. (All of these white wines are less than $20!) Then you’ll want to pick a theme for your tasting. You can focus in on a single grape variety and how it’s expressed across different regions, pick up the same wine and compare different vintages or opt to taste a specific style (e.g. sparkling) or color. Whatever theme you choose, be sure to set up your flight from white to red, lightest to most full-bodied, driest to sweetest and youngest to oldest. New to wine tasting? Here are the best insider tips from a sommelier.
How Many Bottles of Wine Do I Need for a Wine Tasting?
Keep your selections limited to 3 to 5 different wines to avoid palate fatigue. (It’s a thing!) There are about 25 ounces in a bottle of wine, which means each bottle can yield about 12 2-ounce pours. For groups of 10 or fewer, pick up at least 2, possibly 3 bottles of each wine. It’s better to have leftovers than to run out. Grab an extra bottle or two for one of these wine tasting party games to play while you sip.
Duckhorn Sauvignon Blanc
Serve this bright yet ripe fruit-forward sauvignon blanc ($26) in a flight of similarly expressive wines like riesling and warmer climate chardonnay. With its combination of ripe citrus, melon and white flowers, this sauvignon blanc will be absolutely divine with these seafood appetizers.
Want to get to know what aromatic wines are all about? Organize a flight which features perfumed wines like riesling, gewurztraminer and viognier. Trimbach makes a super classic dry riesling ($16) that’s ideal for picking up the pear, candied lemon peel, florals and stone fruit flavors found in this variety. An aromatic flight with these wines is perfect with Thai or Indian dishes.
Umani Ronchi Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Villa Bianchi
Does acidity in wine confuse you? Opting for a theme of high-acid white wines is the perfect way to demystify the style. Plus, they’re perfect for summer. Look to Italy for inspiration and make sure to pick up a bottle of Umani Ronchi’s Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Villa Bianchi ($12). Fresh and citrusy with loads of mouthwatering acidity (that’s a good thing, we promise), it’s a perfect crash course in lively white wines. Whip up a few Italian appetizers to complement this flight.
Bodegas Muga Rosado
Yes, you can do an all rosé flight (genius, we know). The best way to do it is to pour different styles of rosé from various countries. In other words, a pale pink version from Provence, an elegant pinot noir-based rosé and a Spanish rosado. For the latter, Muga’s Rioja rosado ($15) is absolutely gorgeous.
Hudelot-Noellat Bourgogne Rouge
Burgundy is a tricky one, but it’s undeniably one region every wine lover should get to know. For a classic take on entry-level Burgundy, look no further than Hudelot-Noellat’s Bourgogne Rouge ($30). Elegant, with lovely red berry notes and a pleasant earthiness, it’d be ideal in a line up of pinot noirs from around the world.
Torbreck Woodcutter’s Shiraz
Shiraz is bold with its peppery, jammy profile. Although it’s a French grape (called syrah in its native country), most people are introduced to shiraz through the luscious examples coming out of Australia. Torbreck Woodcutter’s Shiraz ($17) is perfect for getting to know the variety. Pour this Aussie shiraz in a flight of bold, full-bodied reds with cabernet sauvignon and zinfandel and set out some grilled eats to really help the wine shine.
Tapiz Alta Collection Cabernet Sauvignon
While names like Bordeaux and Napa leap to the forefront of our minds, in truth, great cabernet and cabernet-based blends are made all over the world. A wine tasting focusing in on cabernet’s many manifestations is a fun way to get to know one of the wine world’s most popular grapes. For something a little different, try Argentine producer Tapiz’s Alta Collection cabernet ($15).
Donnafugata Nero d’Avola Sherazade
Italy has seemingly endless grape varieties so doing an all-Italian flight can be a lot of fun. Hailing from southern Italy, the nero d’avola grape is a fantastic contender for an Italian all-stars tasting, especially because it’s incredibly flavorful but not too expensive like Donnafugata’s excellent Sherazade ($18). With ripe black fruits, cherry and a hint of violets, folks will definitely be wanting another taste of this wine.
Weingut Umanthum Zweigelt
Tired of the usual suspects? Go ahead and go for the obscure. Zweigelt is a tasty wine not unlike pinot noir which is slightly off the beaten path but not so unheard of you won’t be able to find it. Weingut Umanthum makes a perfect version ($19) for this sort of flight.
Jansz Premium Cuvée
You’ll never go wrong with a sparkling wine flight. A flight of bubbly is another great opportunity to do a comparison of how fizz expresses itself around the world and how different areas hold up to the classics. Be sure to include Champagne, but why not try a phenomenal bottle of bubbly from a less well-known region like Tasmania? The Jansz traditional method sparkling wine ($22) fits the bill.