So, if you’d like to start one of your own, your assignment is as follows:
- Select a group of friends (any size will do- ours fluctuates from about 6-12 people) who are interested in learning about wine and not afraid to nerd it up.
- Each month, or every other month, or quarterly (whatever works best for your schedules,) a different person or couple will choose a region of the world. They will study this region and create a presentation for the rest of the group (we use Powerpoint- no joke.) It should cover things like – what are the typical characteristics of wines from this region? Why are they like this? Are there any famous wines from this region? etc. The fun part is that the hosts purchase a selection of wines from this region for people to taste. The cost of the bottles should be split evenly amongst the group. This means it stays relatively fair from host to host. A tip I'm going to suggest is for everyone to take notes on each wine as they're poured (it is impossible to remember them all when you get home.) This is something this month's hostess did, and I wish we'd started it from square one!
-Each host (or any member really) should feel free to invite new members to the group- the more people you have, the larger variety of wines you can taste! Plus, it is a great way to make new friends! We’ve had people come and stay on as regulars, or come every few months when they are able. It’s been great.
Our group has evolved into the non-hosting members bringing a little snack to share- though I’m a stickler, and when I host, I encourage people to wait to eat till after they’ve tasted a little of each wine- keep those tastebuds pure (with the exception of bland crackers.) But there've been some yummy treats!
After almost a year and a half, we’re starting to feel as if we might run out of regions, so now will also be moving to comparing varietals- such as, "let’s see what the differences are between Cabernet Sauvignons from California, Australia, Chile, France, etc." I'm also hoping to do one on boxed wines.
So far, we've done the following: Bordeaux, California, Argentina, Chile, Germany, Sparkling, Sake, Portugal, South Africa, Australia, Spain, and Italy (I hope I'm not forgetting any- hopefully my group members will comment if I am!)
This group has taught me a lot about pinpointing what characteristics are common to specific varietals (and contrastingly, which characteristics are flipped totally on end from region to region,) what I like and don’t like, and just how much climate and location really can impact a finished wine! It is also a great way to find new wines you like and would want to buy again. There's usually a keeper or two at each meeting.
Go forth! Have fun! Drink responsibly!
(A little tip to the hosts- ask people to pay up before they start tasting- things usually get a little too fun and people often forget till the next day.)
Oh, and for scheduling, we use Doodle. It’s very useful!
Australian and German Rieslings taste nothing alike. I was never a big fan of Riesling, but the only ones I’d really had were either German or German style sweet or off-dry wines. While hosting the Australia night, I discovered that their Rieslings are often very tart with citrus notes- not sweet at all, and just what I like in a nice, food friendly, white wine. The more you learn...