Slide

A Bit of Rainy Day Sippin’ and Nibblin’

By Karima Danao

Wine Tasting

So it’s pounding rain almost every evening and you have a big wine pairing guidebook staring down at you.  What now?  Organise a tasting, naturally.

The world of vino is vast and one of the best ways to find out what other varietals appeal to you is to have an informal tasting (read: no tasting cards necessary).  Daunting task, you say?  There’s always a first time.  Visit your local wine merchant and peruse what’s on offer.  Choose a few reds and a few whites.  If your budget permits it, throw in some lovely rosés as well.

It is good to have an assortment of Old World and New World bottles.  Old World refers to regions in Europe with a long, illustrious history of winemaking.  This includes France, Italy, Spain, Germany, and Portugal.  New World refers to pretty much everywhere else, the popular ones being Australia, the United States, South Africa, Chile and Argentina.

Ask your wine merchant to assist you in putting together your selection, ranging from fruity to spicy, sweet to dry, light to bold.  This should give you a good variety of bouquet and mouthfeel.  From there, it’s easier to whittle the list down next time you replenish your stock.

To give you some direction before you head to the bottle shop, here’s a guide to the most popular varietals and their regions that you could start with:

 

RED                                        OLD WORLD                                       NEW WORLD

Cabernet Sauvignon       Bordeaux (France)                          Chile, Napa Valley (US)

Pinot Noir                            Burgundy (France)                          New Zealand, Oregon (US)

Merlot                                  Bordeaux (France)                          California (US)

Syrah                                     France                                                  Australia, Argentina

Chianti                                  Tuscany (Italy)                                   –

Port*                                     Portugal                                               –

*sweet fortified red wine

 

WHITE                                  OLD WORLD                                       NEW WORLD

Sauvignon Blanc               France, Italy                                       New Zealand, California (US)

Pinot Gris/Grigio              France, Italy                                       Oregon (US)

Gewürztraminer              Alsace (France), Germany            –

Chardonnay                       Burgundy (France)                          Australia, California (US)

Riesling                                 Germany, Alsace (France)            Finger Lakes (US)

Sauternes**                      Bordeaux (France)                          –

**sweet white wine

Now for your party.  To ensure a successful tasting, it is vital to plan the event carefully.  You will want to get the most out of the experience so make sure you invite people who can actually help increase your knowledge of these fermented nectars.

So first up, the guest list.

Make an effort to assemble a good, wine-enthusiast crowd, whether of novices or experts.  It’s best to choose personalities that you feel will meld successfully.  Half of the guests should at least find it easy to strike up a conversation.  They’ll keep the party from turning dull.  A sprinkling of goofy characters and a few intellectuals will make for an interesting mix.  More importantly, keep a fairly balanced male-to-female ratio.  Trust me.  You wouldn’t want to see the rest of the evening entirely spent on discussing the merits of the new Lancôme lengthening mascara or the best approach to finishing Grand Theft Auto IV.

Next, the playlist.

Music is not necessarily an imperative part of the evening but it does enhance the atmosphere.  Choose tracks that serve as a great background, very much like a beautiful sauce to an extraordinary steak.  The focus of the evening is conversation so make sure that people can actually talk to each other.  My list includes:

Boombox Mosquitos
Life Less Ordinary Carbon Leaf
Red, Red Wine UB40
Miss You Groove Da Praia
Mas Que Nada Sergio Mendes

From The Clouds Jack Johnson
High and Dry Radiohead
Could You Be Loved Bossa N’ Marley
Dance Like Nobody’s Watching Donavon Frankenreiter
La Foret Lescop

Then, the nibbles menu.  It’s a tasting so don’t slave yourself and prepare a full course meal.  If you inform your guests properly prior to their arrival, they should expect nothing more than a few small plates to accompany the wines.  The key is to choose bites that will line your belly and help soak up the alcohol.  My best bet is a cheeseboard.

Cheeseboard

If you’re not certain which cheeses pair well with your chosen wines, check the table below to guide you.  You can start with four and get one from each category (bloomy, soft to semi-firm, hard, blue).  I normally gather 6-8 (usually matching the number of varietals I’m serving), arranging them on the board clockwise in texture (softest to hardest) or flavour (mildest to strongest).  Below are some of the recommended pairings:

Cheese                                                                 Wine

Brie                                                                        Chardonnay, Pinot Noir

Camembert                                                        Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc

Soft goat cheese                                              Sauvignon Blanc

Fontina (Swedish cow’s milk)                     Pinot Grigio

Comte (French cow’s milk)                          Pinot Noir

Smoked Cheese                                                               Gewürztraminer, Syrah

Cheddar                                                               Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay

Gouda (Dutch cow’s milk)                            Riesling, Cabernet Sauvignon

Manchego (Spanish sheep’s milk)            Syrah

Parmigiano Reggiano                                      Chianti

Gorgonzola (Italian cow’s milk)                  Port, Sauternes

Danish Blue                                                        Sauternes, Cabernet Sauvignon

Now add some fresh fruit (grapes, apples or pears work well), some nuts and plain crackers to cleanse the palate.

That should do it, to be honest.  However, if you really love feeding people, feel free to offer a few more items to provide the digestive tracts extra protection.  (This is assuming that some guests will actually ingest all of the wine you pour instead of tipping them into the dump jar!)

Lastly, wine glasses.  You will need a number of them.  They don’t have to be formal stemware.  Stemless wine goblets are all the rage now and far more practical since they’re less ‘accident-prone.’  To be honest, even small plain glass cups would do.  Just avoid plastic because they’re not bump-proof, or paper because they affect the flavour of the wine.

Prepare at least two (one white, one red) per guest.  You will need to empty and rinse them after each taste.  Hence, the need for a dump jar.  It can be a deep bowl or a small bucket.  Whatever you choose, make sure it’s darkly coloured or opaque.  You’ll realise its importance later when you start to see your guests unabashedly spilling all of those precious fermented drops straight into their gullets!

So, how about it?  Ready to convert your gaff into the cosiest and most sought-after wet season refuge?  Really, what better way to spend a rainy evening than congregating an eclectic mix of wine bottles and vino enthusiasts for a session of monsoon oenology?  The tropical storms can rage outside.  Indoors, you’re putting your wine guide to very good use.  Wink.

2 COMMENTS

    1. Ashna Sabnani July 1, 2013 at 7:31 am

      I love all your post. Very helpful.

      Wish you more success!

    Reply
    1. naki July 1, 2013 at 3:13 pm

      Loe this selection of wine its really nice to have your pefect dinner… for the ocasion and a wine testing

    Reply
 

LEAVE A COMMENT

about THE FAT KID

I gained weight because of a sedentary lifestyle and overly indulging in foods I knew were bad for me, eating out too often, taking the easy route (microwavable dishes) and not caring what went in my body, before I knew it reached 240 lbs. I lost weight through pure dedication, tireless hours of hard work and yes, food. I cooked my way to fitness, making sure to only feed myself tasty well prepared dishes with all the right stuff, the perfect fuel, taking me down to 150lbs. Of course I indulge from time to time, as the fat kid still lurks inside of me; here you will find a little bit of everything for the sole purpose of sharing my passion for food and life.

FOLLOW ME

ARCHIVE

    Archives

MEAL & RECIPE FINDER

Search for a Specific Recipe

SPACE FOR SPONSORS

The Fat Kid Inside
Powered by Conduit Mobile
smart Wicked
ELBA | Cookers from Italy

BADGES FOR THE FAT KID INSIDE

  • Badge
  • Seabiscuit Films
  • Manila Pop up
  • Esquire Magazine