WineFilter: Suggestions for horizontal tasting?
March 29, 2011 3:01 PM   Subscribe

I'd like to start hosting a horizontal tastings for 8-10 people, looking for help with themes/wine selection and logistics.

The current thinking hasn't gone much further than 3-5 different wines, wine budget $100-120. I'm in the US and have access to some decent wine stores, and would prefer to not have to order online.

I'm particularly looking to get some detailed horizontal theme suggestions. We are not a particularly sophisticated wine drinking group, so a big part of this is "educational".. my current idea is something like 4 bottles at different pricepoints (say $10, $20, $30, $40) and fixing vintage year, grape and region. E.g. 2007 California Cabernets (though I dunno if I can make those price points with that particular one!). Along with themes, specific wine suggestions would be super helpful, rather than me randomly picking out whatever I can find that qualifies..

I figure I can get away with 1 bottle of each wine per 8-10 ppl, giving everyone something close to 1/2 a glass of each. Reasonable?

General advice/thoughts on running this kind of tasting would also be appreciated.
posted by kanuck to Food & Drink (2 answers total)
My experience has been that it's less awkward to have people bring a bottle and rotate who hosts than it is to have people chip in for the cost of the wine. Given your parameters I'd organize it so that whoever is hosting picks the theme (2007 California cab/crisp Spanish whites/alsatian reds/whatever) and have each couple (or pair of friends) bring a bottle that matches the theme. When the wines show up, the organizer wraps them in paper or decants them and everyone else is tasting the wines blind.
posted by foodgeek at 3:10 PM on March 29, 2011

Yes, it is definitely reasonable to pour ~10 tastes out of a single (750ml) bottle. They should be around 2 oz tops.

As a relatively frequent visitor to NorCal wine country, here are some things I would consider interesting other than strict verticals (which, btw, you will probably have some difficulty buying more than 3 years at a time for a particular winery's varietal):
  • Single varietal from multiple wineries in an AVA really known for that grape - e.g., Russian River pinots, Howell Mountain Zinfandel (or cab), Carneros pinots.
  • Single varietal from different AVAs in the same broader area - e.g., Russian River pinots vs Carneros pinots.
  • Napa cab vs. central coast cab.
  • Bordeaux style or "meritage" blends from a particular AVA.
  • Rhone style blends (much lighter and arguably more complex than Bordeaux style), if you can find a sufficient number of well-regarded ones.
Also, I won't by any means say that expensive wines are always the best wines, but I wouldn't expect to find much meaningful variety in the $10 range. So maybe try to reach a compromise from time to time (3 bottles instead of 4? Special events only?) and treat yourselves to something really nice.

Oh! One other thing. Current conventional wisdom is that, for Napa in particular, 2005 and 2007 are very good years for the big Bordeaux varietals. So work that into your selection however you see fit.
posted by rkent at 3:22 PM on March 29, 2011

« Older Have you stacked your washer/dryer?   |   Gmail security question. Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.