Can’t get to Italy just yet? No worries! You can bring Italy to your house and host a red wine tasting party. Thanks to Wine.com the wines for your tasting can be delivered directly to your front door. 

Step One: Determine if you want to be the wine host and provide a brief summary of the wines, including the region in which they are produced and high level notes on their characteristics.  This can be provided to your guests courtesy the wine tasting notes found at the end of this document.  

If learning the particulars about each wine is not top on your list of things you love to do you may want to consider hiring a sommelier for a virtual guided tasting of the wines. If you hire a sommelier to guide your event they will likely be able to handle many of the following details.  

Step Two: Determine your guest list and assess your guest’s experience with wine.  If more experienced you will want to ensure you have high quality wines for the tasting.  Set the date for the event, allowing plenty of time to receive your wine shipment, and invite your guests.  

Step Three:  Determine the wines that you want to serve at the tasting and in what order they will be served (typically lightest to heaviest).   If you are inviting less experienced wine drinkers you may want to consult Wine Folly’s The Five Best Italian Red Wines that Beginners Must Try in addition to the following list of Italian red wines:

Wine – From Lightest to Heaviest Home Region Optimal Audience Pairing with the Tasting Typical Characteristics

Lambrusco

Emilia- Romagna Home to Parma and Bologna

Friends who are less educated on wine

Prosciutto ham, Parmesan Reggiano

Lambrusco is a “frizzante” or sparkling red wine with a light to medium body and bright cherry flavor characteristics.

Chianti

Tuscany

Friends who are less educated on wine

Pizza

Made from the Sangiovese grape, Italy’s most widely planted grape varietal. Chianti displays bright fruit flavors with a few subtle hints of spice.

Chianti Reserva

Tuscany

Friends who know wine

Pizza

Made from the Sangiovese grape, Italy’s most widely planted grape varietal. Chianti displays bright fruit flavors with a few subtle hints of spice.

Barbera d’Asti

Piedmont

Friends who are less educated on wine

Blue Cheese

In Italy Barbera is considered the wine of the people because it is flavorful, affordable, and accessible. Barbera is a medium to full bodied and full of bright, forward fruit flavors. Barbera has mellow tannins and a traditionally high acid content.

Montepulciano

Abruzzo East of Rome

Both sets of friends

Aged Cheddar, Pepper Jack, Parmesan Reggiano

A dry, well-balanced medium-bodied with lush black cherry flavors from the Montepulciano grape.

Note: Vino Nobile di Montepulciano is a regional wine from Montepulciano.

Sangiovese – Brunello di Montalcino

Tuscany – Montalcino

Friends who know wine

Prosciutto ham, Parmesan Reggiano

Medium to full bodied, Sangiovese is full of ripe raspberry and dark cherry flavors.

Barolo and Barbaresco

Piedmont

Friends who know wine

Parmigiano Reggiano, Soft Triple-Cream Cow’s Cheese, Manchego, Pecorino

Made from the powerful Nebbiolo grape these wines often have powerful tannins that take years of aging to tame, although the result is lush, flavorful wines. Barolo is a masculine and complex wine. You will find deeply intense dark fruit flavors with hints of leather and tobacco in this wine.

Amarone della Valpolicella

Valpolicella region of Veneto near Verona of Romeo and Juliet fame

Friends who know wine

Parmigiano Reggiano, Gorgonzola

Blend of partially dried grapes including Corvina or Corvinone and Rondinella. A good Amarone should be full-bodied, velvety, and well balanced. The flavor characteristics are that of dried dark fruit with a hint of oak and vanilla undertones.

Step Four: Log onto Wines.com and search for the wines that you have selected for your tasting.  Try to balance the best price for the wines with the highest ratings.  Since this is a tasting estimate 2-½ to 3oz (half of a typical sized serving and approximately ¼ to ⅜ of a cup) per guest.  One bottle of wine should be sufficient for 8 tastings if you stick with the half-sized portions.

In some cases you may need to adjust your wine selection due to budgetary goals.  Once you have filled your cart, arrange to have the wine shipped to our house.  

Step Five: Determine if you want to create a tasting tips sheet for your guests that allows them to evaluate the wines that they will be tasting.  Secure any additional supplies for the tasting, including wine glasses and a spitoon should a guest elect to not drink their wine. 

Day Of the Tasting: Set up the tasting area and arrange the wines in the order of lightest to heaviest and help your guests know the order in which they should taste.  Set out the appetizer pairings with napkins and provide any tasting notes.  If it is your preference, allow time for people to provide their observations on the wine.  

Saluti!

Mary Beth I have a passion for creating and experiencing unforgettable moments and sharing those with others. I hope that this story has helped you experience one of those moments.

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