How to Throw a Wine and Dine Pot-Luck Dinner

I recently attended a wine-tasting dinner that was a fabulous way to try new wines and have a great evening. It adds a twist to the usual pot-luck dinner and you end the evening with a list of wines and what you thought about them.
To begin with, pick a type of wine. At the recent dinner I attended, the hostess chose shiraz as the wine variety for the evening. You can get approximately 18 servings of wine from one bottle, so you should invite 9 couples and have each of them bring one bottle of wine. This can be done with fewer people and the servings of wine can be larger, but you just won't get to try as many wines. Also, have each couple bring a dish to share. If you don't have enough wine glasses, you may want to consider asking each guest to bring 3 wine glasses or you may consider renting them from a party store. Disposable wine glasses are also available at many party stores.

Prior to the party, prepare the score sheet. Have a column for the name of the wine, the year, the price, appearance, aroma, taste, aftertaste, overall score, total points, and comments. Appearance and aroma are worth 2 points each; taste is 8 points; aftertaste is worth 5 points; and, overall opinion is worth 3 points for a total of 20 possible points.

When the guests arrive, take their bottles of wine to a location where you can uncork and bag the bottles without being seen. Assign each bottle a designation. 1A, 1B, 1C, 2A, 2B, 2C, 3A, 3B, and 3C work well with 9 bottles of wine because you can three flights of three wines.

After the guests have helped themselves to food and are seated, review the "rules". They won't know the name, year, or price until the end, so they will need to score and write their comments based on the number of the wine. Provide water and a small bucket for the guests to empty their glasses if they do not finish each taste.

After the third flight has been served and tasted, collect the score sheets. Remind guests to write their names at the top so they can get their score sheet back. Tally up all the total scores and write down the ranking. The highest score is the wine that people liked the most and the lowest score is the one they liked the least.

Return the sheets to the guests for the big reveal! Start at the bottom with the lowest ranked wine. Each guest must 'fess up to what wine they brought and how much it cost. Wine preference is very personal and that will probably be reflected in the scores, but you and your guests should be able to get a good idea of what they liked and what others thought as well.

It is a fun way for friends to get together, share some wine and good food and come away with a list of wines to try at home!


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