Step 1: Learn to like wine (check check and easy check) you don’t have to know a whole lot about it, but you should devote time to tasting, sampling, swirling and has some idea of what you DON’T like in order to know what you MIGHT like.
Step 2: After getting a few dinner parties under your belt, Get a friend to decide to run a major marathon (let’s just say LONDON) in the name of a charity is a rouse to host a fancy schmany wine tasting and food pairing “event.”
Step 3: Re-read How to Win Friends and Influence People just in case they are onto you that you might not know exactly what you are doing. Learn how to “use first names” and “make eye contact” and “smile” all over again.
Step 4: Go around tasting wines in the name of “research” Knowing that it helps you smile more is a good secondary excuse.
Step 5: Bore your friends with your ad-naseum: “do you think a sweet tangy Bacchus would go well with raisins/beets/satsumas/pink ladies?”. Start to research. Understand that dry (trocken) wines can only have up to 9 grams of sugar per liter, and semi dry (halbtrocken) 18 grams of sugar per liter (adding by stopping the fermentation process).
Step 6: Waste 4-5 hours researching new online invitations sites, designing and re-designing, sending, tracking, reminding, re-tracking, RSVPing for people that just don’t get how to click on a link and respond “Bottoms up!” (FYI: I went with paperless post)
Step 7: Start preparing food to host 20 people over 4 courses. And love a least ONE course to obsession. Let me introduce you to my newest K Craze: Personal Gouda Crusted Apple Bourbon Hand Pies
Step 9 (but you’ve had a few, so why keep counting?) Acquire 5-6 bottles of 4 different German wines. (went with 2 of the exact german variety Bacchus 10 years apart and one is semi-dry and the other dry. Learn about the steps of tasting wine
Today, a week later, I picked up some wine and smelled and then said the word “woody” this word produced a huge smile from the winemaker, telling me that yes, this wine was left in barrels for 24 months. I now really like smelling!
STEP XZY: Come up with a curriculum for your guests. Then instruct them about each taste of wine. Smile more when you realize they will like you a whole lot better after you get a few tastes in the them. Mention that bacchus is a type of grape specifically engineered in Germany. Talk about how spätburgunder, the most popular red wine from the Rhine, is the most popular grape in the world (think PINOT NOIR…OREGON, BURGUNDY). Point out that Kabinett means RESERVE wine.
Here are some things my guests hopefully learned about tasting and sampling. Start with fruit and go to the more earthy flavors. Each guest had a little tablet with some of these words on them to stimulate possible taste profile. Get more out of the next glass you have next time, consider these smells and flavors:
FRUITY: Citrus – grapefruit, lemon; berry, jam, raisins, prune, fig. VEGETATIVE: fresh, grass, bell pepper, eucalyptus, mint; tea, tobacco. NUTTY: walnut, hazelnut, almond. CARAMELIZED: honey, butterscotch, butter, soy sauce, chocolate, molasses. WOODY: vanilla, cedar, oak, smoky, burnt toast, charred, coffee. EARTHY: dusty, mushroom CHEMICAL: petroleum – tar, plastic, kerosene, diesel; sulfur – rubbery, garlic, skunk, cabbage, burnt match, wet wool, wet dog; papery, PUNGENT: hot – alcohol; cool – menthol.MICROBIOLOGICAL: yeast, sauerkraut, sweaty,FLORAL: orange blossom, rose, violet, geranium. SPICY: cloves, black pepper, licorice, anise.
STEP (PARTY!): Here are some of the eats paired with each wine tasting
I made 60 of these wonderful Arancini (Rice filled with gooey cheese and pumpkin seeds in the center)
STEP (you still counting? RELAX! Take it EASY)
The best part of the night occurred when everyone save for 5 of us left, and I finally sat down, drank a glass and chatted with friends. My favorite bite, of course, were those gouda apple hand pies (SERIOUSLY AMAZING in packing some flavor!) Cooking and teaching 20 people can be tiring, but well worth the almost $900 we raised.
Now….what is your favorite wine taste? Mine is woody and spicy (think Rioja!) Ever had a dinner party?