The weather is changing, and with fall nearly upon us, the temperatures are dropping and the evening air is even getting a bit nippy. It’s a time for gathering with friends and family and enjoying the changing of the leaves and the fast descent into the full holiday season that will soon be upon us. And there is no better time to host a wine tasting party that showcases the bounties of fall.
Here are a few ways to make your fall wine tasting gathering an evening to remember.
Gather Your Wine
If you live in wine country, be that California, Oregon, Washington, New York or further abroad, autumn is the perfect time of year to celebrate red wines. Consider a well-loved, local red blend, such as D2 from Woodinville, Washington’s DeLille Cellars or The Furies, a delectable Cabernet Sauvignon dominant Bordeaux style blend from the state’s own Damsel Cellars.
Single variety wines also beckon whether your interest is a spectacular Oregon Pinot Noir from Willamette Valley Vineyards or a dark, complex, delicious Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley’s Stags Leap District appellation.
Not into reds? Consider including a creamy, bright Columbia Valley AVA Marsanne or lightly oaked Sonoma Chardonnay in the mix. Put their palates to the test with a range of white wines, which might also include a lovely Italian Pinot Grigio or a country wine from Burgundy’s more budget-friendly Côte Chalonnaise or the Mâconnais.
Next you will want to decide how you’ll present the tasting. Will you leave the bottles out in full view so that guests may photograph the bottles or make tasting notes as they sip? You might consider putting out fun wine score cards and pens for guests to keep track of their tasting as the night progresses. Or maybe you will cover the labels for a blind tasting, so that guests can sample without preconceived notions of brand or style. With a blind tasting comes the fun of a very interactive tasting experience, and of course the excitement of the big reveal!
Choose the Right Fall Foods
Depending on the styles of wine you choose to serve at your party, you might consider getting adventurous and sampling all of the bounty that fall foods have to offer. Try some earthy dishes with mushrooms or truffles; perfect for the fall that pair well with reds like a Pinot Noir. And if you like to go with tried and true cheese, try a twist on the traditional cheese and cracker plate and serve a toasted Italian cheese sandwich or bruschetta with a rosé, which pairs well with most any cheese. And for dessert, you cannot go wrong with a fall favorite fig delicacy, paired with a sweet sparkling wine, such as a Moscato D’Asti or Asti Spumante.
Now that you have a plan for the perfect fall tasting gathering, the fun of choosing your wines can begin! We recommend visiting Total Wine and More, where the staff is keenly knowledgeable and ready to help you make the best selections for your party. VinMaps is proud to have our custom wine maps used in the total Wine and More education rooms, and we might be biased, but we find a great perk to be their free wine tastings!