Tuesday, August 18, 2015

How to throw a wine tasting party & Review of the Traveling Vineyard

 
How to Throw a Wine Tasting Party  
and
 Review of The Traveling Vineyard!



This past weekend, I had thrown a wine tasting party at my home. Now, I have enjoyed wine with friends before, but never in quite this manner. A friend I went to high school with, Jen, recently started working for a company, The Traveling Vineyard. She works as an independent wine tour guide for that company. So, as the host of the party, I invited friends and made some snacks, while our wine tour guide brought five different bottles of wine for us to sample and learn about. All these wines are exclusive to the Traveling Vineyard, and feel free to visit their website if you are to order any! I gave my own person rating for each, on a scale of one (low) to five (high), just in case you want my personal opinion of them.

This was a really fun experience! Jen taught us how to sample the wines, using the four steps to properly taste them! She was very knowledgeable of the wine, how they are made, and how to properly do a tasting. First, you want to take notice of how the wine looks. After pouring a small amount into your glass, about a third full, hold it up to the light or a white background. Examine the depth of color. Tilt the glass slightly, and then hold upright again, to notice the "legs" of the wine. This means how long the coating of wine on inside the glass takes to slide down. This shows the body of the wine. We also learned that depending on what type of container the wine was aged, it can alter the color some. Next, you want to take notice of the bouquet of the wine, aka; how the wine smells. What aromas do you detect? Maybe a specific fruit? Gently swirl the wine in the glass and smell again. This is the third step. Swirling may bring out additional aromas in the wine! The last step, and probably every one's favorite...taste the wine! Ahh, yes! Take a small sip of wine at first and roll it around in your mouth, paying close attention to the flavors. Then, sip again and again!                   


In preparation for the party, Jen told me what wines she was going to bring, and what foods pair well with each. I took this information, and prepared a menu of what I would serve my guests. I just set up a table in my living room for food, bought a tablecloth, paper plates, napkins, etc. from the local dollar store. I already had a bunch of serving trays and such, so I just used what I had. I set up some extra seating in addition to my couch and we had a pretty nice wine tasting area!

The first wine was called Spruzzi. This wine pairs well with fish/seafood, light pasta dishes, sushi, Asian cuisine, spicy nuts, jalapenos stuffed with cream cheese, sweet potato friend with spicy sriracha mayo, salads, soft chesses, and clam chowder. So, for this wine, I decided to go with someone seafood. Look below for my Seafood Salad recipe, which I served on crackers. My plan was just to keep it at finger foods, easier to just grab and sit with a paper plate on your lap lol. I gave Spruzzi a 4 on my wine rating scale.


The next wine was called Boombox. This pairs well with meatballs, chocolate, aged Gouda, guacamole, salami and cream cheese rolls, mint chocolate cookies, roast beef rolls, burgers, steak, pizza. This one is said to adapt to anything, poultry, pork, and red meats. So, to go with this one I just offered some dark chocolate. Nothing special, just store bought chocolate. I happen to love wine with chocolate and figured all the other girls would too, because, hello! It's chocolate and we're woman! I gave Boombox a 2 on my wine rating scale.

Next we sampled Giovina. This also could be paired with meatballs, as well as Sausages. Lasagna, baked ziti, raviolis, chicken or eggplant parm, pizza, caprese skewers, antipasto, Italian meets, cheese and chocolate. I had a large cheese platter to pair with this wine. I offered three types of cheeses that I felt the ladies would like. Really, the type of cheese isn't going to matter much. Especially if you offer a few, most people like cheese so there will be at least one they like! I gave Giovina a 3 on my wine rating scale.


Next up was Calamity Sue. This wine pairs well with ethnic foods.. Mexican, Chinese, Thai. Also, Spicy sushi, spicy buffalo wing dip, blue cheese, cream cheese based foods like crab rangoon, red pepper jelly over cream cheese, crab cakes, smoked salmon with cream cheese and chives, BLT, shellfish, BBQ, and sausages. For this wine, I decided to make my spicy Buffalo Wing Dip. I actually posted a blog several weeks ago with the recipe, so feel free to check that out! I had tortilla chips and/or celery sticks to go along with the dip. I gave Calamity Sue a 4 on my wine rating scale. It was very good!

Last, but not least, was Fissata. This wine pairs well with pound cake, strawberry shortcake, cheesecake, chocolate covered strawberries, vanilla ice cream, quiche, or anything chocolate. For this, I made chocolate covered strawberries because I think they are amazing! I simply bought a container of chocolate to melt and dip the strawberries in. Most stores will sell a specific product like this, for dipping fruit, or whatever else you want. It can be a little tricky, but my little side tip that they do not tell you on the instructions is this...at first the chocolate goes on well, however, pretty soon the texture and consistency of the chocolate makes it hard to continue dipping in. Add about a teaspoon of vegetable oil and mix well. It makes that chocolate perfect again to continue dipping. You may have to do this twice throughout the process, as I did. I gave Fissata a 5 on my wine rating scale, it was my favorite out of all five we tasted!


It was a lot of fun to have some friends over, have a few good laughs and some nice conversation! Oh yes, and of course, a bit of wine!! I can't forget that part! I enjoyed hosting the party, learning a few things about wine I didn't know prior to this party, and liked getting to sample some I probably would never have tried before. As the host, Jen also brought me a gift, which was very nice of her! I really liked the idea of having a wine tour guide from the Traveling Vineyard come to do a personal tasting. For the most part, I found the wine to be good tasting, but I will say that they are a little more expensive than I would normally pay per bottle. The one thing I really did not care for is the shipping cost. This honestly would make me hesitant to purchase wine from this company on a regular basis. If they could find a way to lower the shipping rate, it would be great, although maybe that isn't really possible. For me, considering the shipping cost, I think I rather go to a local establishment for my wine purchases. But I would encourage everyone to try some of their wine at least once, to see if you like it! If you find a wine you absolutely love, it might be worth the shipping cost to you. Plus, you can purchase a case (12 bottles) at a time, so if you really like a wine and buy it in a large quantity, then obviously the shipping cost is totally worth it. It was fun and if ever you have a friend hosting a wine tasting party, I encourage you to attend!



Seafood Salad Recipe
1/2 cup diced red onion
1/2 cup diced celery
1 pound imitation crab meat
1/2 cup of small salad shrimp, precooked
1/4 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cup of mayo
1/2 teaspoon of dill
2/3 cup of Italian Salad Dressing
a squeeze of lemon juice
Salt and pepper

Thanks for the hosting gift, Jen!

In a medium-large bowl, combine the onion, celery, crab meat, and shrimp. Then mix in the sour cream, mayo, salad dressing, dill, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Mix all ingredients well and then chill in refrigerator for at least two hours before serving.

For my party, I served this on crackers called Sociables by Nabisco. They are cute for parties because they come in various shapes, so it looks a bit festive! I used a small spoon and just put a small amount of the seafood salad on each cracker.




 


16 comments:

  1. Love this post! Vineyards are so great to visit. Nothing beats a good wine and a cheese platter :)

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  2. Fissata sounds delicious as I do like my deserts. I really want some cheese now too!http://www.fadedspring.co.uk

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  3. What a neat idea to have your own wine tasting at your house!! I will have to remember this!

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  4. What a great idea!! I want to do this with some girlfriends soon.

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  5. How fun! Thanks for sharing. Love wine tasting and throwing wine tasting parties. :)

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  6. I have always wanted to host a wine tasting but never know where to start! These are some great tips, thanks :)

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  7. As a former sorority girl, who am I kidding, as a sorority woman I found this post to be a great asset! Now I know what to do in order to host my own wine tasting! :) Thanks for the post!

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  8. This sounds so interesting! Wine tasting party is something really new to me.
    Great post!

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  9. This sounds like so much fun!! I wonder if it's in RI-I am going to check it out! Thanks!

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  10. That seafood dish was so GOOD!!!

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  11. This is great... A wine tasting party would be so much fun!

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  12. I can tell you threw a great party and everyone enjoyed it... Those chocolate dipped strawberries are calling me right now.

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  13. Looks like a fun day. I hope you mingled well.

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  14. Looks like a fun day. I hope you mingled well.

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  15. I'll be there for the food. Looks tasty ;)

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