Friday, April 19, 2013

Party In A Bottle

One of my favorite things about spring is being able to sit on my deck with a glass of chilled wine, feet propped up and nibbling on some cheese while I watch my downy woodpeckers and cardinals fight over their feeder.

Second, is being able to share a chilled glass of wine with my girlfriends. If you find yourself looking for a good excuse to plan a fun night at home and invite a few of the girls over, consider a wine tasting…of sorts!

Below we have listed some great starting points to planning and hosting your very own wine tasting from the comfort of your own home. Inviting a group of girlfriends over and setting out a few snacks can be a great way to relax on a Saturday afternoon and can be done at little or no cost.

In addition to LBDC, I also attend and host a few events per year with the Nashville Area Wine Enthusiast group. Nowadays it seems like celebrities are coming out with their own fragrances, pocket books, and WINE! So recently I hosted a Celebrity Wine Tasting in my home.  I asked each member to bring one bottle of a Celebrity Wine. I was shocked at all the different choices: Dave Matthews, Wayne Gretzsky, Paul Newman, Ed Hardy, Marilyn “Merlot”, Francis Ford Coppola...there were at least a dozen varieties! Line them up and do a taste testing of each one. The winning bottle wins a door prize. You could also suggest guests bring two bottles. The winning bottle gets to take home the collection!

Have oyster crackers and water on hand for palate clearing. Right before the last wine tasting I hosted, I came across these rubber ice cube trays perfect for freezing individual grapes. Grapes can be great to clear your palate or even try dropping a frozen grape in the bottom of your white wine. Delicious!

1. Have each woman bring 2 bottles of a celebrity wine.
2. Open the bottles and pour samples for each woman.
3. Taste the wines.
4. Sample the wines with the suggested foods (below).
5. Have each woman vote by silent ballot for her favorite.
6. Tally the votes. If you have a tie, draw from the two.
7. The woman who brought the first place wine gets to take the unopened wines (yes, all of them!) or you can offer a door prize or just have a raffle for the entire group.

Suggested Food Pairings:
Keep in mind this is merely to add dimension and variety to the tasting. While it’s important to serve something of reasonable quality, don’t feel the need to cook all afternoon or spend too much money.

Cheese – Camembert, Brie, Manchego, Gorgonzola
Tomato or tomato-based pasta sauce
Pizza (a decent frozen one will suffice)
Chili or other hearty stew (a canned one will suffice)

Green peppers
Cheese – Goat, Colby, Havarti

Pizza (a decent frozen one will suffice)
Pate or Sausage
Cheese – Choose one from each of the red and white lists above

If you have more than 7 participants, consider splitting the group in 2. Have women sign up for a color preference or assign colors. In this case, you may have the women that bring red, vote on the whites and the women that bring white vote on the reds. The woman that wins the white competition will take home the unopened whites and vice versa. You could also have a "Battle Of the Bottles" and vote on the best looking bottle. There are some very artistic wine labels out there!

We would love to hear some of your wine tasting party ideas and suggestions in our comments below. For more information on joining the Little Black Dress Club and attending fabulous events such as our very own Celebrity Wine tasting, visit our website by clicking here. And make sure you check out our friends the Nashville Area Wine Enthusiasts on Facebook!

~Shay Ashcraft
National Director, LBDC

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