These tapas, small servings of Spanish appetizers, could be the hit of your wine party. Accompany them with fine Spanish wines and you're on the way to a successful food pairing and a great theme party.
Glasure provides very specific suggestions for hosting a successful wine party. His subjects include: theme selection, food pairing,serving temperature, serving guidelines, and tasting guidelines. Make a photocopy, put in on your fridge or corkboard, and use it as a checklist.
You don't need a lot of guests to have a great party. What I have found works best is to have about four to twelve people, and definitely include yourself as one of the registered guests. Also, I like to always have a contest during the party and give away a gift.
Pick a fun theme, and remember the theme also determines what wines will be poured. You can name a theme like "The Great Italians", "The Great Whites of California", or whatever fits your mood. I would suggest being very creative, the possibilities are endless. If you tell your local wine merchant your theme, they can be a great source of help with wine and theme matching. Also, at a minimum make sure you have 4 to 6 different wine types to taste.
Have you heard the saying "First the wine, then your menu"? If you had a theme for your party and your wines followed that theme, you may want to carry it through with whatever food you serve. For example if you are tasting Italian Reds why not serve some Italian munchies to match.
While you do need to provide foods that complement the wines provided, the food should not the backbone of the party. Focus on the d'oeuvres such as: cheese, fruit, unsalted crackers, bread or other munchies you may have prepared for the evening. Do not forget to have lots of bottled room temperature water and optional spit buckets available.
When all the tasting is done, you may want to have plenty of coffee and desserts. This is also a great time to break out one of your favorite dessert wines.
To experience the full pleasure of the wine, it is important that you serve them at the correct temperature. Below are the basic temperature guidelines:
Temperature per Wine Types
37-43°F White Sweet Wines
41-45°F Champagne and Sparkling Wines
46-50°F White Dry Young Wines
52-59°F Red Young Wines
48-54°F White Aged and Pink Wines
54-63°F Port and Sherry
58-63°F Red Full-body Wines
59-65°F Red Aged Wines
There are important factors to consider when pouring the wine at a Wine Tasting Party.
The first step in the tasting process is to examine the wine and take note of the color, clarity, and transparency of the wine. Young wines are typically very clear. Older blends may be expected to have a little sediment. There is a lot to this and it takes a bit of experience to understand which hues are right for each type.
The second step is in the pleasure of smelling the wine. Swirl the wine around in the glass which awakens its aromas or bouquets. It is important to take a good sniff of the bouquet and try to detect unique fragrances. If are new at this, don't fret, you will get better over time.
Now the fun part of actually tasting the wine. Take a sip and roll the wine over your tongue. Different parts of the tongue will register different tastes so be sure to roll the wine around in your mouth. Try to focus on the characteristics of the wine, such as body, sweetness, tartness, bitterness, and fruitiness. You should also take notice the subtleties of the wine's aftertaste.