Southern Mom Loves: How to Hold a Blind Wine Tasting (with Printables!)

How to Hold a Blind Wine Tasting (with Printables!)

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. The following content is intended for readers who are 21 or older. #Chardonnation #SpringWine #CollectiveBias

Spring is in full swing and those gorgeous, warm days are perfect for a chilled glass of Chardonnay and with National Chardonnay Day coming up on May 21, there's no better excuse to hold a wine tasting! It doesn't have to be a big, complicated, expensive affair, and you don't have to know a ton about wine to enjoy it. Gather some friends who are game about exploring wines and you can all learn more together. A blind wine tasting is a fun way to do this as you're not sure what to expect, so you really have to think about what you're smelling and tasting. You just need a couple of bottles to compare and some brave participants. I've created some fun printables to help you throw a lovely tasting and I'll walk you through with some tips.

You can make it as casual as standing around the kitchen or a little bit fancier by setting up a table. I wanted to set a pretty table for my blind tasting so grabbed a white tablecloth and set up in our dining room.

As to the wines for the day, I grabbed two Chardonnays from different regions. They're both Chardonnays but depending on how they're aged, they can taste totally different.

I'm loving these new wines from Notable. They just launched in March and their concept is genius: They list the flavor profiles right on the label! You don't have to play a guessing game when you're choosing a wine and you don't have to be knowledgable about regions and aging methods to enjoy it.

I grabbed the Notable: California Chardonnay, which has notes of Butter, Oak, and Vanilla and the Notable: Australia Chardonnay, which has notes of Citrus, Melon, and Peach. This will be a great way to get those taste buds working out subtle flavors.

For a blind tasting of just two wines, set out a glass for each wine, but you'll need a way for your guests to tell which is which.

I created these table tents to make sure that glasses don't get switched up and the host will know which wine to pour in which glass. Print the pdf here, then cut out and assemble a set of tents for each guest.

I also created a set of cards for your guests to fill out as they observe, smell, and taste each wine. You'll need two cards per guests. Print the pdf here, then cut them out.

You can walk your guests through the questions if needed, but it just requires a bit of thinking.

When tasting wine, start by swirling the wine in the glass and observing the color, opacity, and viscosity (the wine legs.)

Take a few quick sniffs into the glass and start thinking about the scents you're picking up. Is it fruity? What fruits? Is it floral? What do you smell?

Then taste a small sip and roll it around on your tongue. What do you taste? Is it buttery? Oakey? Citrusy? Try to separate those tastes and identify the flavors.

I also wanted to decorate with some flowers, but since it is just a few friends, I thought a big arrangement would be too much for the table, so I went with small julep cups (painted copper and sealed with a natural shellac.) You can steady your cups by using floral foam and keep your flowers from wilting by keeping them in the refrigerator until you're ready.

Cut your foam to fit, insert your flowers, fill cups with water, and you're done.

Besides needing two wine glasses at each setting, you should also set out a glass of water and some bland unsalted crackers or plain white bread. Those can help clear the palate if someone is having trouble tasting the notes. Water should be fine for just two wines, but if going back and forth between them, the tastes could get confusing without a heartier reset.

I also wanted to serve a variety of fruits with this wine. You can try different tastes (sweet, tart, bland, acidic) with your wines to see how the taste can change depending on the foods you pair it with.

I set out plates and pairing knives so that everyone could have a taste.

You can write which wine is which inside of the table tents so that guests can peek when they're ready, or you can leave them blank until you're ready to reveal them.

Each guest will need a card for each wine with a pencil or pen.

For Chardonnay, you should pull it out of the fridge or ice about 15 minutes before serving, but how to keep them under wraps?

The moms out there will know this trick: swaddling! You'll need a large, square napkin for each bottle.

1. Lay it out like a diamond and fold in the bottom edge.
2. Lay your bottle on top with the bottom even with the bottom folded edge.
3. Wrap the right edge around the bottle.
4. Wrap the left edge around the bottle.
5. Bring the top corner down over the loose left flap to secure.
6. Repeat for the second bottle.

Remember which is which by setting them down in order (#1 & #2)

When you're ready, pop the corks!

You'll want to pour for your guests. Start with #1 and then fill everyone's #2 glass.

Now it's time to taste.

Once everyone has explored their wines, make sure to let them know what they've been drinking. Those swaddling napkins lift right off for the reveal.

All that's left is to enjoy and explore the tastes!

The Notable wines were incredibly enjoyable and lended themselves well to our blind tasting experience. Wine can vary in style, region, and taste, yet most of the time you never know what you'll get when you buy a bottle unless you've had it before. A wine that discloses its taste prominently on the front label can lead you to the exact wine you're looking for. All you have to do is follow the flavor notes!

The Notable: Australia Chardonnay was a table favorite. It was a bit younger and fruitier, so people who love fruity wines may gravitate towards it.

The Notable: California Chardonnay was my personal favorite. I enjoyed the rich oakey, buttery taste.

I hope you have fun hosting your own blind wine tasting. It doesn't have to be overly complicated or fancy. It's all about enjoying and exploring wines with good friends and can make a lazy afternoon into an incredible one.

If you'd like to learn more, check out Notable wines here and start planning your own blind tasting.


Are you a wine connoisseur or a wine newbie? Have you ever held a wine tasting? Do you want to? I love to read your comments!

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