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Two women on wine

Chase away the bad economy blues

Posted: February 13, 2009 2:43 p.m.
Updated: February 13, 2009 12:00 p.m.

Lil Lepore and Shari Frazier

Two Women on Wine

 
Okay, we admit it. All this talk about the economy has us a little blue. So what better way to cheer up than to have an at-home wine tasting party for good friends?

After settling on the guest list, we decided which wines we wanted our guests to experience. We ended up with six - three red and three white, all moderately priced. One of our new favorite wine regions is Argentina, who produces excellent reds such as Malbec and Cabernet, as well as whites such as Torrontes and Chardonnay.

Our motto is "less is more" so we kept it simple. Invitations went out via email and phone calls. We drew up a list of a few simple food pairings that would work with the wines and asked some of our guests to bring the dishes.

We supplied the rest, including bread and crackers, a cheese plate, fruit and, of course, wine glasses. Pitchers of water were on hand for rinsing glasses between wines, along with a couple of "dump" buckets for discarding the rinse water or the wine. Flowers, candles and a few carefully selected music CDs added ambience.

We created tent cards naming each wine, origin, and brief description of the wine. We also printed cards that offered a few wine tasting words to help guests describe the wine they tasted. Each guest also received a note card to use for scribbling down some tasting notes.

At a wine tasting, the idea is to move from the dry to sweet or lighter-bodied to full-bodied wines. We started with the whites, introducing each wine to our guests with an explanation of its characteristics.

Later in the evening, we moved on to the reds, starting with the Torrontes and finishing with the Malbec. Each "pour" amounted to an ounce or so of wine. Some folks preferred the aromatic white, while others the fresh, spicy red. Everyone enjoyed sharing their perceptions of the bouquets and flavors of the different wines.

Whether you plan your own at-home wine tasting party or enjoy a selection of wine tastings at your neighborhood wine store, remember that taste is subjective. And nowhere is taste more subjective than when it comes to wine. Even professionals and wine judges often disagree.

Wine tasting is about understanding your palate and developing your senses. What we commonly experience as taste is actually aroma, body, texture and flavor taken altogether.

So how do you begin to understand your palate? One way is to learn by doing - exploring the differences through tastings will help train and develop your senses.

Our at-home wine tasting party was a perfect way to spend the evening with friends, try some new wines, and chase away the blues. Cheers!

Lil Lepore and Shari Frazier are owners of Vino 100 in Valencia, a unique specialty wine store offering boutique, handcrafted wines from small, artisan vineyards, as well as a large selection of gifts and accessories. Free delivery in the Santa Clarita Valley with purchase of $50 or more. Visit Vino 100 located at 28112 Newhall Ranch Road in the HighRidge Crossing Center at the corner of Copper Hill Drive in Valencia. (661) 294-6886, www.vino100valencia.com.

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