Integrating engaging wine experiences into an event - whether a casual get together among friends, an office party, bridal shower, or any other celebration - is a great way to engage your guests and create lasting memories. At Domaine Somm, entertaining with wine is what we do best, and we think it makes every party a better party. Here are some of our top tips on how to easily add fun and delicious wine experiences to your next event!
1. Blend by the Glass
Did you know that many of the world's most popular wines are blends? Red Bordeaux, Côtes du Rhône, Rioja, Champagne -- yup, all blends. Even "Napa Cab" is often made up of more than one kind of grape. At your next event, invite guests to blend their own glass of wine using some of the base components of these wines. In Bordeaux, for example, the main grapes are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot. Look for single varietal bottlings of some or all of these grapes (from the same producer and vintage is ideal), pour the wine into labeled test tubes, and blend away! You may be surprised how much you like the result.
2. Compare & Contrast
We hear about New World versus Old World wine, but what does that really mean? What about oaked or unoaked? Full versus light bodied? Fruit forward versus earthy? Put together a line up of wines that showcase different styles, then arrange them by category or group so your guests can appreciate the differences. For example, you could serve Cabernet Sauvignon from Bordeaux, Napa Valley and Australia. Or, sample a line up of whites with unoaked Chablis, a lightly oaked White Burgundy and a more heavily oaked Napa Valley Chardonnay (yes, Charblis and white Burgundy are made of Chardonnay too!). Can you tell the difference? For specific wine ideas, feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org
3. The Aroma Bar
Blackberry. Leather. Crushed rose petal. Wet rock. Ever wonder what the heck most tasting notes mean? Setting up an aroma bar is a fun way to hone your nose and learn to pick out distinct scents in wines. We like to use the Nez du Vin kit, which contains 12-24 small bottles of scents ranging from peach to bell pepper to caramel. Choose 3-5 and ask your guests to to write down their guesses for each one. This is harder than it looks! Make it easier by giving people the answers to choose from. If you don't want to get the Nez du Vin kit, you can create your own scent infusions using various ingredients - fruit, vegetables, grass, spices, flowers - soaked in water and put in black glasses so no one can see what's inside.
4. Mystery Wines
Choose 3-5 wines to serve to your guests "blind", then have them guess which one is which. Simply pour each wine into a decanter or pitcher so the label and bottle are completely hidden from view. Depending on your group, you can opt for more complex or straightforward wines. To help your guests along, you can also make it multiple choice and provide some typical tasting notes for each type of wine. For example, buy one Pinot Noir, one Cabernet Sauvignon and one Merlot, and see who can tell the difference!
5. Unexpected pairings
Conventional wisdom is that white wine goes well with fish and red wine is a good choice for steak, but what about sushi or french fries? Surprise your guests by showcasing unusual pairing ideas -for example, sparkling wine pairs fantastically with sushi and fries! Slightly off-dry Riesling goes well with spicy Thai food, and luscious apricot-scented Tokaji is a dream with blue cheese. You can also set up flights of different wines and foods and ask your guests to choose their favorites.