Leave your French accent at the door – unless you genuinely have one. Blind wine tastings are now such fun and effortless events to host, no longer reserved to just the inner circles of the wine industry. They make for the perfect girls’ night in, all in the name of education, right? Right!
(Without being a wine wanker.)
As if there’s not already enough to love about hosting a girls’ night in blind organic wine tasting, it starts with shopping, and ends with, well, drinking organic wine! *Immediately checks diary for Friday night availability and starts texting girlfriends.* Traditionally, a blind wine tasting follows a series of rules and practices. Feel free to put your own twist on things, but we’ve outlined the basics for you here.
1. Organic wine lovers, come on down… It’s time to go shopping! We’d suggest starting with a minimum selection of three organic wines, up to 6. If you want to go all out, give eight different labels a whirl. Some of our personal favourites include Kalleske, Tamburlaine, Cape Jaffa or Temple Bruer. You might choose to include different wine styles (i.e., pinot noir, chardonnay, shiraz or Riesling). Or, you could hone in on just one or two styles of organic wine, but each from a different winery, region, or vintage (the year that they were made).
2. Whip out your phone, photograph your loot – disguised in a brown paper bag as to keep its identity under wraps, literally – and text the image to your girl gang. Let them know you’re going to need help deciding which wine you like best. Expect a full house.
3. For every wine you’ve purchased, you’ll need to pour a small amount – or a taste – for each guest. So, if you’ve purchased 6 different wines, each guest will have a small glass or each. Find a well-lit room, free from any overpowering odours (time to pop the automatic room freshener spray away!). Odours can mask the wines and make it harder to taste the difference between them. You can taste what you smell. Mind blown.
4. Use clean, uniform shaped wine glasses. There’s no point using tumblers, or going all hipster with mason jars, or odds and sods from the back of the cupboard. The shape the glass can influence how a wine will taste, so give each an even playing field and stick to a classic wine glass shape. Go down to Ikea and splurge on a few packs of “red wine’’ glasses that come it at a whopping 50c per glass. You’ll also save yourself the tears if there are any glassware casualties as the night rolls into cray-cray town – we all have that one friend, don’t we? N.B. As glamorous as they look, the swanky martini style glass is not ideal, because it doesn’t allow the trap or allow concentration of aromas. Smelling is part of tasting, remember?
5. Organic red wine varieties should be poured at room temperature. For organic white wine, just a touch cooler, at 10c. As a rule of thumb, pour them 15 minutes before tasting. This is just enough time to get the gossip from Jenny about the new hot guy she went on a date with last weekend.
6. Pour all the organic wines you have purchased, but don’t let anyone in the room to see the labels or bottles. Keep your bottles lined up in the same order as your wine glasses. Glasses in hand. Now, let the tasting begin.
7. If you’d like to go all pro, you might choose to quiz your guest on
what they think they might be drinking. What variety or style? What country is the organic wine from? Which region? Which year was the organic wine produced? And, in extreme cases, by which producer? At worst, you’ll get every answer wrong while you’re tasting some amazing organic wines. (Err, where do I sign up for such torture?) For a more
laid-back approach, allow your guest to taste everything and simply discuss what they like most. No need to bandy about terms like hue (just a fancy word for colour), minerality (imagine the taste you’d detect when licking a rock. No! Don’t go outside and try it!) or grippy tannins (not to be confused with a bad performing pair of creeping undies).
Answering YES to the question “Can I drink a whole bottle of it” is usually a strong indicator that you like it. Put plain and simple, a good organic wine is something that you should want to go back and drink more of.
8. At the end of the tasting process the wine label may be revealed, and you can send your guests home with their new favourite organic wine – if there’s any left! The hardest part will be deciding whose house you’ll be descending upon next week, and breaking the news to your husband that you’re busy for the next six Friday nights in a row. Tchin-tchin!