Hosting a Cava Wine Tasting Party is a great way to learn about wine and spend time with your friends. Here are some helpful hints:
The Guest Lists and The Wine
When inviting guests to your Cava Wine Tasting Party, ask them to each bring a bottle of cava and be sure to include a price range from which to select wines. It can also be fun to have everyone bring a bottle of sparkling wine they have never tasted!
The basic idea behind a wine tasting party is to explore new wines with your guests. The great thing about cava is that it offers amazing quality at a great price and many local groceries now offer a wide selection of sparkling wines. However, you may want to visit a wine store with a knowledgeable staff to answer any questions you might have and offer suggestions to some new wines you have not previously tasted.
Tasting parties are best when kept to 8-10 people so each person can taste each wine and you can sit together to share thoughts and tasting notes. Your guests need not have a high level of wine knowledge, but they should all be wine enthusiasts.
Set a long table with pitchers of water, opaque receptacles in which to spit or discard excess wine before tasting the next one, a stack of tasting cards and pencils. Tasting cards should have an area for guests to fill in the type of wine, producing vineyard, vintage and sections to judge the wine based on aroma, flavor, taste and texture. Provide one wine glass and a water glass for each guest and set out plates of crackers to serve as palate cleansers.
While most parties are best with low lighting, be sure you provide plenty of light for guests to note the color and appearance of the wine as well as take notes. Be sure any candles you use are unscented so they don't interfere during the tasting.
Print off one sheets with information on the méthode champenoise, Spain's cava region and the traditional cava grapes prior to the party. Guests will enjoy reading about the background of the wines while tasting.
Chill extra bottles of wine and have hors d'oeuvres prepared so they can be easily brought out after the tasting, encouraging everyone to stay and continue the discussion!
Finally – the good part! When tasting, note the color and clarity of the cava as well as the characteristics of the mousse. Are the bubbles small and refined or big? Stick your nose into the glass and take in the aroma of the wine. Note anything you smell in the wine's bouquet from floral notes to citrus. Now take a sip. How does it taste? What is the texture of the wine? And, most importantly, do you like it?! Write down your impressions and thoughts for each wine you taste.
Talk about the wine and your impressions. ee if guests taste similar things in each wine. Sometimes guests can find it hard to pinpoint an aroma or taste that another guest may be able to determine. Encourage lively discussions and remember - there is no right or wrong impression!
Following the party it is thoughtful to send an email or note that includes a list of the wines served and where they were purchased so that guests can seek out the bottles they enjoyed the most.
The Cava Tasting outlined above can be altered slightly to create a "blind tasting" party. Simply place each bottle in a paper bag that is clearly numbered and ask your guests to take notes on each wine. This can be fun because there is no influence by a beautiful bottle or a past experience with a vineyard. At the end of the evening, unveil the bottles so guests can see which wines are their favorites!