Wine Writer Information Blog

5:41 PM

2009 - Sweet Sherries

Today's Sweet Sherries Article

How to Host a Wine Party

Looking to have some fun with friends while sharing some wine? You should consider hosting a wine tasting party. It's a really neat way to share your wine favorites and to be introduced to a variety of new and interesting wines. You can also add some spice to your fun by using a wine theme ("All About Reds", "Blindfold Tasting", etc.).

Party Size

You dont need a lot of guests to have a great party. What I have found works best is to have about four to twelve people, and definitely include yourself as one of the registered guests. Also, I like to always have a contest during the party and give away a gift.

Theme Selection

Pick a fun theme, and remember the theme also determines what wines will be poured. You can name a theme like "The Great Italians", "The Great Whites of California", or whatever fits your mood. I would suggest being very creative, the possibilities are endless. If you tell your local wine merchant your theme, they can be a great source of help with wine and theme matching. Also, at a minimum make sure you have 4 to 6 different wine types to taste.

Food Choices

Have you heard the saying "First the wine, then your menu"? If you had a theme for your party and your wines followed that theme, you may want to carry it through with whatever food you serve. For example if you are tasting Italian Reds why not serve some Italian munchies to match.

While you do need to provide foods that complement the wines provided, the food should not the backbone of the party. Focus on the doeuvres such as: cheese, fruit, unsalted crackers, bread or other munchies you may have prepared for the evening. Don not forget to have lots of bottled room temperature water and optional spit buckets available.

When all the tasting is done, you may want to have plenty of coffee and desserts. This is also a great time to break out one of your favorite dessert wines.

To experience the full pleasure of the wine, it is important that you serve them at the correct temperature. Below are the basic temperature guidelines:

Temperature per Wine Types
37-43F White Sweet Wines
41-45F Champagne and Sparkling Wines
46-50F White Dry Young Wines
48-54F White Aged and Pink Wines
52-59F Red Young Wines
54-63F Port and Sherry
58-63F Red Full-body Wines
59-65F Red Aged Wines

Serving Considerations

There are important factors to consider when pouring the wine at a Wine Tasting Party.

  1. Fill the glasses only one-third full. This will prevent anyone from swirling the wine on your tablecloth or carpeting.

  2. Expect to serve about eight to twelve samples from each 750 ml bottle.

  3. As a rule, serve white wines before red wines and dry wines before sweet.

  4. Blush wines are served as you would serve a rose, in-between the white and the reds.

  5. The serving order is more common sense than etiquette.

  6. Sweet wines have a tendency to over power the taste buds giving a sensation of bitterness to the dry wines.


The first step in the tasting process is to examine the wine and take note of the color, clarity, and transparency of the wine. Young wines are typically very clear. Older blends may be expected to have a little sediment. There is a lot to this and it takes a bit of experience to understand which hues are right for each type.


The second step is in the pleasure of smelling the wine. Swirl the wine around in the glass which awakens its aromas or bouquets. It is important to take a good sniff of the bouquet and try to detect unique fragrances. If are new at this, dont fret, you will get better over time.


Now the fun part of actually tasting the wine. Take a sip and roll the wine over your tongue. Different parts of the tongue will register different tastes so be sure to roll the wine around in your mouth. Try to focus on the characteristics of the wine, such as body, sweetness, tartness, bitterness, and fruitiness. You should also take notice the subtleties of the wines aftertaste.

About The Author

Contributor: Stuart Glasure [Designer, Fashion Artist, Creator: "Zany Wearables", Wine Enthusiast]

A synopsis on Sweet Sherries.

How to Host a Wine Party

Looking to have some fun with friends while sharing some wine? You should consider hosting a wine tasting party. It's a really neat way to share your ...

Click Here to Read More About Wine ...

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5:40 PM

January - Australian Wine

A Australian Wine Artilce for Your Viewing

Pinot Gris Or Grigio, This Grape Makes Great Wine

One of the most popular imported wine styles in America is Pinot grigio. Nearly all of the Pinot grigio consumed in the US comes from Italy, but as we shall see this is likely to change soon. Pinot grigio is very popular with consumers, but it receives mixed reviews from wine judges and wine critics.

One reason may be that wines made from Pinot grigio do not have a consistent and distinctive varietal character. Consumers are just attracted to the crisp which goes well with a wide variety of foods.

Another problem is that there are two names for the variety in common use. The names Pinot Grigio and Pinot Gris mean Grey Pinot in Italian and French respectively. 'Pinot' refers to the characteristic pine one shaped bunch of this group of varieties.

In Australia, winemakers, marketers and wine writers havent really sorted out which name to call the variety. Some have dodged the issue and refer to Pinot G. This variety closely is related to the much better Pinot Noir variety and is believed to be a mutation of Pinot Noir. In fact in the vineyard Pinot grigio is difficult to distinguish from its putative ancestor until the berries ripen when those of the grigio will have much less pigment. There is another variety, Pinot blanc which has little or no pigment in the berries.

There is considerable clonal variation within the variety. Jancis Robinson says that the variety hardly knows if it is a dark or a light grape. It has several synonyms including Burot and Malvoise in France and Rulander and Tokayer in Germany. In Europe the variety is widely planted. Given the inherent variation and geographic dispersion it is hardly surprising that a wide range of wine styles are produced from it. In Alsace under the name of Tokay d'Alsace, it produces a rich, almost oily wine. In Northern Italy the Pinot Grigio's are light and even spritzig. Under the name of Rulander in Germany it produces wines somewhat similar to white burgundies.

The variety has attracted serious interest in Australia only over the past few years. It is now producing some remarkable wines in regions such as the Mornington Peninsula, Geelong and the Adelaide Hills. Casella wines in the Riverina wine region are very interested in this variety. They believe they can make first class wines even in warmer wine regions, and are devoting some resources to developing a wine suitable for export to the US. Remember Casella is the company who developed the yellowtail range of wines which exploded onto the US market a couple of years ago.

There is a great deal of experimentation with the variety and it may take several more years before the optimal combination of terroir and winemaking technique emerges. In the meantime some great wines are already available for those who are looking for new experience. The style varies from light bodied and fairly straight forward to rich and complex wines that are almost overwhelming in their voluptuousness. This is one occasion when reading some tasting notes about a particular wine before buying is worthwhile.

About The Author

Darby Higgs is an expert on varietal wines in Australia. You can see more about pinot grigio on his website at

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