Wine and Cheese Tasting Party
Want to Have a Dinner Party but Can't Afford It?
The next time you're thinking of having a get-together, make it a wine and cheese tasting party. It's a wonderful, easy way to introduce guests, yourself, too, to some new (or old) vintages and varieties, and there's no limit to the number of people you can invite.
First Decide Which Type of Wine Tasting You Want To Have
If you have your party before dinner, you should concentrate on a few appetizer wines, like sherry or vermouth.
An after the meal or dessert tasting would feature dessert wines - port, cream sherry, ice wine.
You might prefer a late afternoon party, offering more varied selection of wines, including red wine, white wine and sparkling wine. No more than eight should be offered at one time.
How Much Wine Will You Need?
Serve one ounce of each appetizer or dessert wine, one to two ounces of all others. As a rule of thumb, you can figure on 1/3 to 1/2 a 24 ounce bottle of all wines combined, per person.
How Much Cheese?
Provide about 1/4 pound of cheese per person, setting out about three different varieties with flavors from mild to sharp, from creamy to firm. Arrange with some unsalted crackers or crusty bread and fresh fruit for guests to nibble between wines.
The Party Plan
About two hours ahead, chill white, rose and sparkling wines. Open red table wines to let them "breathe." Provide each guest with one wine glass. Set out a pitcher of water and a receptacle for rinsing glasses, a towel for drying them between tastings.
Then serve the wines, dry before sweet, white before red. Explain as you go, how to "taste" like an expert. Once the wine is poured, hold it to the light to study its color, then swirl gently for a few seconds and inhale the "bouquet." Finally, sip, allowing the wine to sit in your mouth for a moment before swallowing to get the full flavor.
Take a bite of cheese only after you have had the first sip of wine.