4th Annual Blind Wine Tasting 2019

Hi all! We had tons of questions and feedback after our latest blind wine tasting party! I am here to share all the details with you. This year we changed things up a bit... instead of my husband pouring each bottle into our guests glasses one at time, we purchased 24 flight boards. Each flight board allowed 4 tastings at a time, and our guests were able to drink at their own pace. A lot of guests enjoyed this more than the past years. We try to keep the parties between 16-22 guests... Once you have more than 8-10 bottles to taste, it becomes a little dragged out and people get a little loopy to still be rating! 8 bottles is really ideal (1 bottle per couple)!

Here is the schedule of the party in short:
1. Guests hide bottle in bags upon arrival (bag link below)
2. Introductions of people, and food.
3. Host pours glasses and guests fill their flight boards (flight board link below).
4. Each tasting is rated, and sheets collected by host once all bottles are tasted
5. Dinner served & open bar
6. Dessert

(1) To start, guests arrived at 6:30pm and placed their choice of wine into numbered bags I provided on the porch. We asked that white and rose wine are brought cold, and reds room temperature. When they walked into the house with their bag, no one was able to see which wine was brought. The bags were lined up in the kitchen near the area we were going to be pouring. My husband, Kevin, switched up the bags so that no one could rate their own wine high on purpose. This is important to us, since Kevin and I provide a $50-$70 gift basket to the winners of the highest rated wine and want it to be fair.

(2) My motivation to make an epic cheeseboard was in high gear! I studied pinterest, blogger posts, and even followed the cheeseboard hashtag on instagram. Between Costco, my local grocery store and my local specialty cheese shop, I was able to get all that I needed. I did an array of cheeses, trail mixes, nuts, toblerone chocolate bars, cucumbers, fruits, honey, olives, pickled veggies, and dried apricots. The colors (especially from the port wine cheese) add such beauty to a board, and making sure there are no empty spaces on the wooden board give it a beautiful dimension of fullness! It looked rich, and delicious, and was 90% wiped out by the end of the night! Some of the cheeses included creamy brie, bleu filled cheddar, spicy cheddar, pecorino tartufo (truffle), sundried tomato goat, port wine, bella merlot, rosey goat, manchego and more!

(3/4) After guests arrived and grazed a bit on the cheeseboard, we soon began out tastings. We lined up 18 cups and started pourings labeled wines #1-4. Using a rating sheet, guests wrote down which number wine they were tasting, descriptions, and a rating of 1 to 5 (5 being the best). After about 8-10 minutes, we began out second flight, and continued until each bottle was tasted (we had 10 bottles total).

(5) Once the tastings were over, penne alla vodka and chicken marsala were catered and served to our guests. We had an ice bin filled with white wine and sparkling wine, and a variety of red wine, vodka and mixers for everyone to enjoy. Thankfully with the nice weather, some of us got to hang on the outside deck under our string lights, checking out cheese related cookbooks I had on the table, as well as genuine conversation with new friends.

Winning couple Krystal & Adam

(6) After dinner we added up each tasting sheet and came up with the winning bottle, which accumulated 60 points total. The winner was Pindar's winter white, a very popular and tasty local wine from Long Island. A prize was given to the couple who brought the Pindar wine - it was a merlot candle, beautiful cheese platter, wine theme house decor, and olive oil & balsamic from the Crushed Olive. For dessert, we served a platter of the most creative and delicious cookies from LIV Creativity, a local baker to suffolk county. We had a cake and cupcakes, too.

At the end of the night I asked for a couple suggestions from our close friends who attended... we were given some good advice. Guests preferred mixing up the flights , some red/some white if applicable. Tasting four reds in a row tend to start tasting the same unless you provide a palate cleanser. We also will take the advice to make the cheeseboard table accessible from all sides..instead of having the table against a wall. It will allow more people to gather and taste the foods available.

Some of the wines brought for the tasting event.

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