When it comes to learning about wine, sparkling wines can be some of the hardest cases to crack. With various production methods, endless amounts of grapes, and various streams of bubbles that often taste similar, mastering the art of bubbly can seem impossible. Our solution? Throw an all-sparkling wine-tasting party, of course!
First, gather up a group of at least five friends — which, when sparkling wine is involved, shouldn’t be too hard — and get to planning. Follow these five simple tips for an effortlessly successful, sparkle-studded event.
Assign each guest a specific type of of bubbly to bring to the wine tasting event. Alternatively, create a per-bottle budget, have all guests chip in, and have the hostess (you) purchase all bottles necessary. You’ll absolutely want the following in your lineup:
For an event with more than six guests, load up on crémants from different regions, throw a Franciacorta option in there, or grab some rosé bottlings of the above. You can never have too much sparkling wine! And don’t worry about leftovers — these sparkling wine bottle stoppers will save the rest for later!
Prepare a spot around the table for every guest invited. You’ll want to use a white tablecloth for the sake of accurately assessing the wines’ pigments. Despite normally serving sparkling wine from flutes, you’ll actually want to use regular wine glasses for the tasting. This allows you to swirl and sniff better, leading to more complex aroma assessments. Set each station with a pen and paper for note-taking, though if you really want to spoil your guests, leave a wine-tasting notebook at each spot. Let’s face it, everyone loves a useful souvenir.
Setting the Table
Now that each place is set, you’ll want to make sure you have all the essentials on the table. Have a few bowls of plain crackers available for palate cleansers, as well as one spitoon for every three to four people. And for properly chilling bubbly, look no further than this acrylic ice bucket.
Next, make sure to hide the identity of each bottle with some tinfoil so that you’re forming your opinions without any identifying features getting in the way.
Understanding how sparkling wine is made, which grapes are used, and the regions from which they come are essential parts to making sure your guests get the most of their blind bubbly tasting. Grab this sparkling wine guide to help you navigate through the tasting; you’ll be on your way to being a pro in no time!
The Big Reveal
Now that sips have been swallowed, notes have been taken, and opinions have been formulated, it’s time to reveal the bottles to your crowd. Unwrap the bottles and pass around, allowing everyone the chance to note bottle-specific info. Give everyone the opportunity to discuss what they liked and didn’t like about specific bottles and why. Now that the tasting is officially over, pour your favorites into some festive flutes and get the party started!