New and Need help with a wine tasting!

Discussion in 'Beverage Reviews' started by djbgreen, Aug 1, 2010.

  1. djbgreen

    djbgreen

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    Hi Everyone,

    I am in the middle of planning a wine tasting for a non-profit and, no surprise, we have a very tight budget.  We are working with a terrific restaurant that offered to donate the food and staff.  In turn, we are looking to get as much of the wine donated as possible.  If we can't, then we are looking to purchase bottles ranging from $9-$13 (as two of our committee members offered to purchase the wine themselves and then donate)

    Any suggestions as to the wines and food?  Since the restaurant is donating, we don't want to take advantage of them with the food (costs) yet we would like it to be a nice tasting - fun and relaxed, but nice.  The restaurant is very popular in our area and offers a wide variety - everything from wings to filet mignon. 

    Since we are doing 6 stations, we would like to do 3 reds and 3 whites with one of the stations being a dessert station/wine.

    Thank you for your time and, in advance, thanks for the suggestions! ;)
     
  2. mezzaluna

    mezzaluna

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    Hello djbgreen- welcome to Chef Talk.

    Since your post has to do wine, I'll move it to the Beverages forum.

    Good luck with your endeavor.

    Mezzaluna
     
  3. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    If you're doing a food and wine pairing fundraiser, that's one thing.

    If you're doing a wine tasting, that's another.  Pairing is not tasting. 

    For a tasting, the food has to be very simple and on the bland side so as not to detract from the wine and not to linger either.  You'll also have to provide adequate facilities for your guests to spit the wine out.  Several cracker and bread choices as  palate cleanser.  Lots of plain water, too.  Seltzer is fine.

    A pairing is all about putting the right foods and wines together. You can be more adventurous with the foods; but as guests will actually be drinking the wine make sure you pour small portions.  Small plates, too; but enough food to help keep the guests sober.

    In either case, you're going to have to settle on some particular wines to choose the best foods, or vice versa. 

    I can be very general about pairings if you like.  For instance, "something spicy and asian like Chicken satay with a Traminer or dry Riesling." 

    My suggestion for a pairing meal is a a sherry aperitif served with a few toothpick tapas, a sparkler, two whites, three reds, a port or dessert wine (with cookies and ice cream), and espresso service.

    Speaking of sherry... Dry sherries aren't well known and a lot of people find a chilled palo fino or manzanillo to be a delightful surprise.  Some very good sherries are very reasonably priced.

    Pairing or tasting, when it comes to picking wines you may want to theme most of them around one region (try not to make it too challenging) -- for instance "Pacific coast," "Spain," "Mediterranean" (talk about easy), or "German."  You can theme the foods similarly. 

    Another wine theme you're already thinking of is, "Wines around $10."  Not a bad theme.

    No artichokes.  No raw onion. Easy on the garlic.

    Try and be a little more specific about your plans if you can. 

    BDL
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2010
  4. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

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    With one exception I agree with BDL.

    While serious wine people (I can't begin to spell oenophile) do tastings by spitting out the wine, most normal people do not. They take a sip and savor it, which includes swallowing.

    If the goal is a tasting, two things to keep in mind. The tasting portion should only contain crackers or other neutral breadstuff. The idea is to cleanse the palate. You can then enjoy the party food afterwards, with or without wine as the beverage.

    Second, if you've not done this before, wines for the tasting should be arranged from dryest to sweetest.

    If the goal is pairings, why not discuss this with the owner/chef of the hosting restaurant? Chances are they already know what's available, locally, in that price range, and can make suggestions as to food that pairs well with it.
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2010
  5. djbgreen

    djbgreen

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    Hi BDL and KYHeirloomer,

    Thank you very much for taking the time to respond.  Your suggestions are terrific and, as you both guessed, this is my first time planning this type of event.  Please accept my apologies as I should have offered more detail in the first place.  We want the event to be fun and relaxed - not formal.

    BDL - with your definitions, we are doing a food and wine pairing.  No spit buckets, sommeliers, etc.  We are modeling our event after another held by the same non-profit in the Pittsburgh area.  They, too, called their event a tasting but it was more of a pairing.  It was two hours long and they raised nearly $50,000!  We are hoping to do the same while offering guests a fun and relaxed evening.  Your suggestions for the pairings are great - again - thank you!

    KYH - Our guests will most definitley be swallowing the wine.  Your suggestion of speaking with the chef is great and exactly what we will be doing in the near future. I reached out on this site so I could bring some suggestions to the chef - he specifically asked that I do so.  In addition, two of our committee chairs have graciously agreed to purchase the wine.  With that said, I was hoping to learn of some wines that are in our range that I could then take to the chef, along with the pairing suggestions, and say - this is our menu! 

    Again - many thanks to the two of you for taking the time to respond and for your wonderful suggestions.  If you think of anything else, please let me know!!!  :)
     
  6. kirstens

    kirstens

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     Just out of curiosity, why no artichokes?
     
  7. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    Artichokes distort the way a wine's sugar levels are perceived, making the wine taste much sweeter than it really is.  Furthermore, the effect often carries over from one course to another. 

    The "no artichoke rule" pertains to wine-themed events or dinners built around very expensive wines more than to a backyard party, 

    BDL
     
  8. Loredana Canalis

    Loredana Canalis

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    I suggest you Le Filigare or Castello di Meleto Chianti, in alternative Rocca Sveva - Cantina di Soave Amarone.
     

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