What are some of the best wines to have at a tasting event? When choosing the right wines, you need to think about combining a progression of different types of wine, which can complement each other and go well with light appetisers; the main issue to focus on is not overwhelming your guests’ tastes too soon, but also to ensure that they have some distinctive vintages to try. The wine order for a tasting should ideally run from sparkling whites to whites, reds, and then sweet wine, as this will help awaken the palette. With this in mind, some of the top wines to have at a successful tasting event include.
An always reliable introductory wine, Prosecco is a good alternative to Champagne if you want to save some money; this sparkling wine is particularly popular during the Summer, and is most often sourced from Italy, where it originates. Prosecco has an acidic, apple-like taste, and has some notable vintages and terroir locations, which include Valdobbiadene Prosecco Spumante, and Prosecco Zardetto NV.
One of the best selling drinks in the UK, Sauvignon Blanc is an ideal white wine to have with food during a tasting. Chilean Sauvignon Blanc is particularly strong at the moment, while it’s worth trying vintages from New Zealand wineries. Sauvignon Blanc traditionally has a herbal and grassy taste, and can have characteristics of passion fruit. Some good current vintages include New Zealand’s Clos Henri, and wines from the South African Steenberg vineyards.Pinot Noir
This wine represents a good choice of red for a tasting, and is distinguished by the wide varieties of vintages that can be sourced from the Burgundy and the Champagne regions of France. German and Italian Pinot Noirs can also be good, though, as can those grown in California, Australia, and Chile. Particular vintages that are recommended in terms of value included the 2004 Casa Marin Lo Abarca Hills from Chile, as well as Pinot Noirs from the French commune of Santenay.
Cannonau di Sardegna
Made from the Granacha grape, this Sardinian red wine is relatively under-rated, and has only been a common sight since the 1970s. Quite similar to Muscat, Cannonau is derived from the Granacha grape, and typically has an alcohol content of 13 per cent, so be careful when tasting. Fortified versions are also available, with most Cannonau di Sardegna reds coming in vintages that are at least two years old.
In terms of selecting the right dessert wine, Madeira is another reliable option. This Portuguese sweet wine uses Malvasia, Bual, Verdelho, Sercial, and Terrantez grapes and includes a large amount of oxidisation in its fermentation stage – an unusual strategy for a wine. The flavours produced by Madeira includes coffee and caramel, while the wine has high levels of acidity. Try to find a vintage of at least five years.
A raisin wine that’s air dried, Passito is another excellent dessert option for rounding off your wine tasting event; not as common as Madeira, this white dessert wine has a bouquet that includes traces of vanilla, as well as hazelnut and dried grapes. Usually served at room temperature, a good Passito variant is the Ipsus Passito di Pantelleria Moscato.
About the Author: Sophie Wiggins is a food and wine writer who regularly contributes to a range of food and drink websites and blogs. She loves a good sparkling wine, with his wife, at the weekends.
Tags: food, tasting, wines