wine_cheeseHere it is! My highly anticipated post about wine parties… ok, so maybe it’s not all that anticipated…then again maybe it is. Maybe, there is one reader out there just waiting to read what I have to share about wine parties to make they can move forward and start hosting their own wine party for their friends… or cats.

cats_wineI would like to say that if you are thinking of hosting a wine part for all your cats, don’t do it my friend. This is an experience that you do not want to have. And why do I know about this? Well, I don’t want to talk about that, but believe me when I say it does not make for a cute story to tell your friends. Not to mention that if you are hosting a wine party for you and your cats most likely the only one you will be talking to about the wine party is your cats. And in truth, they won’t care. Not because the story isn’t interesting, but because they’re cats.

I’d like to start out by describing the key differences between Wine Tasting Parties and Wine Parties.

The Wine Tasting Party

  • wine_tasting Everyone brings a bottle of wine that everyone gets to taste.
  • Commonly, each wine is covered so that it is a blind tasting.
  • Notes are made concerning the four recognized stages of wine tasting, i.e. appearance, aroma, in mouth sensations, and the finish.
  • You combine the four stages and discuss the properties of the wine, i.e. the complexity and character, the potential, and the possible faults.
  • You learn about the words to use while tasting wine, i.e. bouquet, structure, texture, balance, acidity, oaky.
  • Commonly the wine is only tasted and then spit out instead of swallowed, and a palate cleanser is consumed to remove the taste of the wine before you try a different wine. Also, swallowing can equate to intoxication, which can affect your experience and judgment towards the additional wines. If you get drunk while tasting wine your experience is hindered because you don’t get the true taste/experience from the wine as you would if you were sober.
  • pinky_upFinally, when tasting wine, it must be in a wine glass and your pinky must be extended out, pointing away from the glass. The only reason for doing this that I can imagine is to A) add a level of pretentiousness that was not initially there, or B) because you have fat fingers and cannot use all your fingers to hold onto the stem of the glass.

Synopsis: Wine tasting parties are designed to educate you about the technical aspects of wine, but ultimately to enable you to determine a textbook response to what is a good wine and what is a bad wine. The conversations at a wine tasting are centered on each wine and the attributes of that wine, and if you consider it a good wine or not. In short you get together to taste wine, makes notes about each wine, and talk about each wine, and at the end of the evening you have a list of wine that would be worth purchasing and consuming at some point.

The Wine Party

  • Each attendee (or couple) brings a bottle of wine (or two), commonly based on the “cuteness” or “attractiveness” of the label, but in come cases it is based purely on the type of wine instead of the label, then again there are times that it is based on both the wine type and the label.
  • Side Note: Those not of the wine disposition bring the beverage of their choice, i.e. beer, vodka and orange juice, rum and coke, or some different colored liquor and juice variety in an attempt to have an evening of random mixology sampling.
  • All the bottles are left on the table, and usually the host will go, “Oh that one looks cute, let’s try this one.” Then grabs a bottle, opens it and pours a sampling in the glass of each individual that is drinking wine that night.
  • After the bottle is emptied, a new bottle is opened and finished off. Unless, of course, the wine tastes like ass, then we open a new bottle right away.
  • The discussion on the wine consists of predominantly of exclamations of yumminess for the wines that are really good, or the occasional obviousness conversation starter of whether the wine is really dry, really sweet, really oaky, or some combination there in. There is also the random suggestion to let a wine breathe a bit more before we finish it off to help the initial flavor. Otherwise, the conversation is all about the people at the party and not the wine.

Synopsis: Wine parties are about friendships and getting together for no other reason than because you are friends and sometimes with life’s busy schedule you need to plan something so that everyone can get together at the same time to drink wine and talk about life and how things are going. The wine is there, it just isn’t the focus of getting together.

DrinkingWineFor my friends and I, a monthly wine party is perfect for making sure we all get together at least once a month. We hang out and enjoy each others company. People bring a beverage and a food dish to share, which is a key necessity to the evening otherwise you have a bunch of empty bellies housing copious amounts of wine. Needless to say, without any substance to absorb the alcohol, the possibility of having the evening end short because certain areas of the house need to suddenly be cleaned goes way up. Also, not everyone has to drink alcohol. We have some friends that join us on a fairly regular basis that don’t drink at all. They bring their sodas and drink with us while they share how things are going. The up side to that is that they don’t need to start drinking a lot of water an hour or two before it’s time for them to leave.

Starting out with wine tasting parties was not a bad way for me to begin my introduction to wine. The education was good to have and I did learn some helpful bits when it comes to wine. But ultimately it comes down to preference. I good wine has nothing to do with the complexity and character, the potential, and the possible faults, nor does it matter if it has a full bouquet, elegant structure, strong texture, even balance, low or high acidity, or is very oaky. I good wine is about you and what you personally enjoy in the flavor when you drink it. Sadly, this also means that for some people there is no such thing as a good wine… the poor things.

As my wine group has evolved it has turned into a smaller group of very close and very dear friends. And yes, new blood comes and goes, but the core group is there and is why, after all these years, I still plan and look forward to our wine party every month.

If you have any questions about wine or wine parties, feel free to email me. I’ll help if I can.