Blind tasting at home

access_time 2014 · 10 · 24

Do you like to taste several wines? Do you enjoy talking about wines and describing them? Do you meet with your friends to try some new label and discuss about it? You are really into the wine, and the next step of your wine geek skills evolution can be the blind tasting!

Don’t be confused. “Blind” tastings doesn’t mean trying the wine with the eyes covered. This tasting is without knowing the name, variety, style or region where it comes from. You have to follow only your senses, knowledge and experience. What you can gain with this exercise? For sure, you will have lots of fun, you test check your knowledge and also compare it with your friends.

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The most important job in organizing the blind tasting is a decision about the format of the tasting. We recommend you to focus on three to six different wines. With larger number of wines your senses can simply be too tired and lost the right perspective. Rather avoid mixing red wines with white wines. Remember that white and red varieties have different aromas. Let your imagination to be oriented in one color of wine.

One of the most classic blind tasting formats is the vertical tasting. That means that you have one wine for example Terrunyo Syrah, but from few different vintages. Start serving from the youngest to the oldest, to investigate the evolution of the wine.

Other idea for the selection of the wines is the horizontal tasting. That means that you have to focus on a region, appellation or zone, and choose a few wines from there. For example, you can have Terrunyo Carmenere, Marques de Casa Concha Merlot and Marques de Casa Concha Carmenere, which come from the Colchagua Valley, from Peumo D.O.

Another fabulous and educative format of tasting is choosing the same grape variety, but from different appellations. Thus we can observe the changes of the variety in the different climatic and soil conditions. Discover the aromas of Cabernet Sauvignon from Puente Alto (Marques de Casa Concha Cabernet Sauvignon), Pirque (Terrunyo Cabernet Sauvignon) and Marchigüe (Gran Reserva Serie Riberas Cabernet Sauvignon). Of course you can play with the varieties from the same line, for example: Casillero del Diablo Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay and Viognier.

The day of the tasting you have to chill the wines to the right temperature. Before serving, each bottle should be covered, so your guests cannot see the label which contains essential information about the wine. You can use some material bag, aluminum foil, material napkin, etc. Label bottles alphabetically (a,b,c…) or using numbers ( 1,  2,  3…).

Each 750 ml bottle of wine can be poured 6-12 tasting portions, depending on your glass size. If you expect more than 12 persons, you may want to have 2 bottles of each wine. Organize your tasting so your guests move from the lighter bodied wines to the full bodied. This order will help to understate their aromas and characteristics. The idea is to learn more about wine, isn’t it?

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Concerning the glasses for the tasting, choose the tulip shape ones and make sure that they’re big enough to stir the wine, so the air can develop its bouquet.  Don’t forget to put on the table some water and bread to clean the palate between the wines. Also your guest may want to rinse their glass between each tasting. If you want to have more snacks, pick food that can help to rinse the palate without overshadowing the wines.

Before the tasting, avoid wearing perfume, drinking coffee, smoking, and eating dark chocolate or mint flavored products. That is to be absolutely sure that your nose and mouth will be able to taste wine the best they can.  If your concern is that this quantity of wines might be too much for your guests, we also have a tip for you. Prepare the spittoons, even if you don’t have professional ones. Just use any pot, plastic, glass or ceramic.

Speaking of the educative dimension of your home blind tasting, prepare a sheet of paper and pencil for each person. You don’t have to be an expert to have good observations and comments. After tasting the discussion will be easier and more effective if tasters can use their notes. Don’t think if you judge right or not. Ask yourself if you like certain wine and why. This is the best tasting note because it is your opinion. Learn about wines and enjoy them!

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