Wine and cheese go together like Ross and Rachel, brunch and mimosas and Thanksgiving and turkey.
They are simply made for one another. Give me a decent wine with an assortment of cheeses, and I am a happy girl!
One of the most fun parties to attend or to host is a wine tasting party. I recently threw a wine soiree at my home for a few friends. Some folks were anti-wine, while some were straight up winos (ahem…myself), but everyone’s palettes were perfectly pleased and fun was had by all.
Here are a few tips on how to make your wine tasting work:
Wine Tasting Decor
Every party must have a little panache that tells your guests you went the extra mile. It’s a good thing wine bottles come with readymade décor – Corks! Before your party, start collecting wine corks. Head to your local wine bar and ask them for old corks; odds are they will be happy to hand them over! Use the corks to fill glass containers such as vases and wine glasses, and artfully spread the corks around the tables.
Another simple, rustic way to decorate is to use a chalkboard to identify the wines and pairings. I like using chalkboard contact paper, which can be found online. Simply spread a roll of the paper out on the table as a runner and get out your chalk! For easy instructions, draw an arrow between a bottle of wine and its selected paired item. Another way to use the contact paper is to cut out little squares and stick them on wine glasses. Write your guests names or initials on the paper and everyone will know which glass is theirs! I used this chalkboard runner idea for my party, and my guests were so impressed. (I neglected to mention that the whole set up took about 20 minutes, but that can be our little secret!)
While brie and gruyere are great with wine, who says you can only serve cheese with wine? Wine goes with everything! I would drink it with breakfast if it was socially acceptable! (Bye bye coffee…hello wine!) Search for wine and food pairings on the internet and you will see that everything from fruit to chocolate helps bring out the flavor of the wines. Plus, depending on how large your wine samples are, people need food in their bellies to balance out all that alcohol!
Don’t break the bank
If you plan your wine and pairings ahead, assign each guest a bottle of wine or a pairing item. Guests are used to bringing things to parties, and they will happy to bring a bottle of wine in exchange for a lovely night out with friends.
You don’t have to have your sommelier degree to host a successful wine tasting. In fact, you don’t even have to know what a sommelier IS. Do a little research on wine and cheese pairings, and you will sound like a pro. After all, we are talking about fermented grapes and cow’s milk here…it’s not brain surgery. I promise, if I can do it, you can do it!