Tag Archives: blind wine tasting

Is There a Correct Order to Serve the Wines?


Question from Gina: I want to have a wine-tasting party. Is there a correct order to serve the wines?

Reply: Hi, Gina. Thanks for writing! How great – I know it will be really fun! Tasting order is pretty simple:

Whether it’s a party or a formal tasting, it’s smart to serve the wines from light to dark and dry to sweet. The wines with deeper color are usually “bigger”, or heavier, than the lighter colored ones. If you taste the big wine first, the lighter wine seems almost flavorless. It applies to white wines, too. If the Sauvignon Blanc is paler than the Chardonnay, unless it’s unusually assertive in flavor, serve it first. 

Dry is the opposite of sweet (it doesn’t mean sour, which is a sign of a spoiled wine. It just means there’s so little sugar in the wine that it’s unnoticeable). If you taste a sweet wine, followed by a dry one, the dry wine tastes sour.

TIP!  The same theory works with food and wine pairing.  If you pair sweet food with dry wine the wine will taste sour.  The wine should be at least as sweet as the food.

Speaking of pairings, you might want to serve a little something to complement each wine. If you prefer a low-impact evening, you could have each of your friends bring a favorite pairing, which could make for a really fun contest. Everyone could vote on the best pairing! If you want to evaluate the wines, you might have everyone taste the wines without any food first. You’ll be surprised by how much the food changes the wine and perhaps your preferences!  Continue reading


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What is The Tasting Group?


“Authors waiting for their books to be agented”       courtesy of author Judith Land, on Pinterest

Question from Andre: Hi! I enjoy your blog. Why is it called The Tasting Group?

Reply: Hi, Andre. Thanks so much for writing! The Tasting Group is the name of a book I’m working on. The idea is to learn about wine by tasting it in an organized way with your friends. The photo and caption above feel quite literally true. One of the first rude awakenings for an aspiring author is that it’s almost impossible to get a literary agent to represent you. It took me forever to find mine, but I believe I have a good one. 

The story, below, is the introduction to my book and tells you why I believe so strongly in the concept: 

When I moved to Napa Valley, fresh out of school, and took an entry-level job at Robert Mondavi Winery my boss handed me a copy of Maynard Amerine’s Wine and was only half joking when he said “Commit this to memory.” This textbook was far too technical for the novice I was at the time so I bought a copy of Kevin Zraly’s Windows on the World Wine Course to begin educating myself.

Yet wonderful as that book is, after a full day of work, hitting the grocery store and getting dinner on the table I found my eyes drooping and my attention wandering as I tried to absorb the information in Zraly’s book. How was I ever going to learn and retain what I needed to know to forward my career? And, what could he possibly mean by describing a Sauvignon Blanc as “flinty?” Continue reading

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How to Host a Blind, Comparative Tasting at Home

What a great way to spend a Friday night with your wine-loving friends! 

If you think of a “horizontal tasting” as the way to describe your physical state after tasting several wines, it’s actually just another name for a blind, comparative tasting, which is tons of fun and also quite educational!

Here’s how it goes: You taste several wines of the same variety and vintage side by side, without knowing which is which (a vertical tasting is trying several different vintages of the same wine). 

Here’s what you need to do: Decide what kind of tasting would be fun and get in touch with your friends. How many wines to taste depends upon how experienced your group is. If most of the group is inexperienced, probably six wines should be the max. You could taste six Napa Valley Cabernets or two flights of three wines, three Chardonnays and three Zinfandels, for more variety. Continue reading


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