Setting Up Your Tasting
Gather your 6 bottles of wine for the tasting course (see more on that below!). Additionally, here’s what else you’ll want to have at the table.
- Host your tasting in a neutrally lit room.
- 2 wine glasses and 1 glass of water per taster.
- Pens and paper for note taking. (Try the Wine Folly Tasting Journal!)
- White paper or tasting mats to observe the color of wine.
- The tasting course booklet.
The Wine Selection
We teamed up with wine.com to offer the 6 wines shipped to your door! (US customers only) That being said, if you can’t get these wines, here’s the list of what you’ll need to source.
Tasting Course Wines
New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc
We chose a young (recent vintage) Sauvignon Blanc from the Marlborough region in New Zealand. Try to find a Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand, from Marlborough. The wine should not be oak-aged. In the US, you should expect to spend between $15–$20.
Seek out a California Chardonnay that had some amount of oak-aging. This is important! We’ll be using this wine to greater understand how oak affects flavor. We like to find California Chardonnay from the more coastal (cooler) regions of North and Central Coast including Sonoma, Mendocino, Santa Barbara, Alexander Valley, or Edna Valley. In the US, this cost about $25 for great quality.
French Rhône / GSM Blend
A “GSM” is a blend of Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvèdre. These are 3 grapes are are prevalent in the Southern French regions of Côtes-du-Rhône and in Languedoc-Roussillon (such as the Corbieres appellation). Be sure that the wine features Grenache prevalently. In the US, you should expect to spend between $14–19 a bottle.
Hone your selection of Italian Sangiovese in to perhaps these 2 regional wines: a Rosso di Montalcino or a Chianti Classico Riserva (or Gran Selezione if you’re feeling fancy!). The vintage should be at least 4 years old. Seek out a wine that is Sangiovese-dominant and the only oak used is mostly neutral oak (this imparts less oak flavors of vanilla!). We found wines ranged from $20–$30 a bottle in the US.
Look for a Reserva level Rioja or a Ribera del Duero with some age. Ideally, more than 5 years as Tempranillo really tastes fantastic with a little bottle age! We found several options ranging between $25–$30 a bottle.
Washington “Bordeaux” Blend
A “Bordeaux” blend is a classic French-inspired blend that typically includes Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. If you’re going for a Washington wine, try to find one with a fair amount of new oak aging and tasting notes that may include things like “mint,” “floral notes,” or “green peppercorn.” We found excellent choices for this wine ranged between $35–$45 a bottle!
6-Bottle Wine Learning Package
Get wines delivered to your door! This package includes 4 reds, 2 whites, 1 tasting booklet, and video course. (US customers only)