How to Run Your Very First Wine Tasting

Posted June 29, 2015

Steve Unwin


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So you wanna throw a wine tasting party, but you’re on a budget? Cool. No problem. We have you covered. We’re going to help you throw your very own wine tasting for under $50. Additionally this guide will show you what to look for in each wine to get the most out of it. If you and your friends start this tasting as beginners, you’ll finish it as certified cork-dorks!

First up, you’ll need a corkscrew. Here. You’re welcome.

Next up we need to pick out our wines. In this case we’re going with one white and two reds. For what it’s worth, there is no “right” ratio, but there is definitely a suggested order. Always start with the lightest, or the least intense wine, and progress to the full-bodied, tannic stuff. If you taste a big, palate-coating monster first, it could mess with your perception of what comes next. Imagine taking a bite out of a big, sauced-up burger, and then moving onto some salmon sashimi… it wouldn’t be pleasant (but if you are happening to throw a burger and sushi party, you can absolutely invite us!).


Wine #1

2013 Barton & Guestier (B&G Passporte) Bordeaux White Sauvignon Blanc​


Right, back to the wine. We’re going to start off with a Bordeaux Blanc. The reasoning here is two-fold. First, while plenty of people love Sauvignon blanc, a lot of folks have never had a white Bordeaux before, so it’s a great way to see how a grape can express itself differently from region to region. Additionally, starting your tasting off with a Bordeaux will immediately have your guests thinking “woah, she is NOT messing around here”. Which is always nice. You’re not messing around. You mean business.

Wine #2

2013 Casta Salvajes Famas Malbec

Moving right along, your next wine is going to be a superior take on familiar territory. The Casta Savajes is a huge fan favorite here at Wine Library, and for good reason. We’ve all enjoyed a juicy, fruity Argentinian Malbec from time to time, but this one is just superlative. Things for your guests to look for include black pepper, and a hint of smoke that accompany the gigantic red fruit notes. It’s also a great wine to use to introduce the concept of structure to the conversation. The acid give the wine body, while the tannins and they “drying” effect they have on your saliva has a weird way of making a liquid feel less… liquid. This Malbec has relatively gentle tannins, but they’re definitely present and providing lovely structure that elevates this wine way above your average South American fruit bomb.

Wine #3

2011 Fattoria Di Grignano Chianti Rufina

Now that your palate is thoroughly warmed up, it’s time to jump into something more structured, and less focused on fruit. Sangiovese grown in Chianti can bring you everything from cherries to tomatoes, and while this wine has fantastic fruit to it, you and your guests should really be on the lookout for the mineral notes that set this wine apart. Think pencil lead, or a gravel driveway after it rains. This is a situation where you can encourage your guests to get creative with their tasting observations. Does it smell like success? Does it taste like prom night? Does it evoke memories of a unisex Dominican hair salon? All good things! Italian wines tend to want some food to go along with them, so make sure you’ve got some nice aged parmesan to enhance your enjoyment of the wine.


Item: 82815

750 mL

Retail: $14.99

$10.99 per btl

Product Label.

Casta Salvajes Famas Malbec

91 Luis Gutierrez - Robert Pa...

Item: 85894

750 mL

Retail: $40.00

$12.74 per btl

Product Label.

Fattoria Di Grignano Chianti Rufina

90 Monica Larner - Robert Par...

Item: 89017

750 mL

Retail: $17.99

$9.99 per btl