Tag Archives: white wines

Wine Tastings

I am hosting a couple of wine tastings  soon and so far the easiest part has been choosing the wines! The hard part is what and how much to say about the wines. Having to entertain 10 guests for 2 hours with 6 bottles of wine should be fairly easy, but I like to get it right.

What makes a good tasting? Here is my rough guide to hosting a wine tasting.

  • Get the numbers of guest right. Multiples of 10 is good, everyone gets a good share of the wine then. You should be able to get anywhere between 4 and 15 glasses out of a bottle depending on how generous you are.
  • Select wines that will be interesting and maybe something that
    people will not ordinarily drink. (A tasting is a chance to experience wines that you would not normally try.)
  • Themes can be interesting for example “Chardonnay from around the world”, “Pinks”, “Fizz”, or wines from a specific country or region. For a mixed tasting I like to start with a bit of fizz to help get a fun feel to the evening, two white wines, two red wines and then finish with either a Passito, pudding wine or sweet fizz.
  • Prepare the wines well in advance. (warm white wines will not go down well.)
  • Make sure there is water on the table for your guests.
  • Gauge the knowledge level of your guests. (Some tastings require lots more technical information, others require a more general approach.)
  • Tasting sheets are useful to the guest to note their preferences (and if you are also trying to sell the wines it helps with that too.)
  • Learn about the wines you are showing. Grape variety, region, wine maker, price etc.
  • Add a little humour. (People will remember a funny story about a wine a lot more than they will facts and statistics.)
  • Give people enough time to sample and discuss each wine. (especially if you have given them a generous amount to taste.)
  • Let them know where they can buy these wines if they like them. (or give a competitors name if they don’t like them.)
  • If you are doing food with the tasting then get foods that will enhance the wines not overpower them. Bread sticks or crackers are good, (they help to clean the palate for the next wine.) if you have big tannic red wines then some cheese will help soften the tannins. Serve a little pudding or sweet biscuit with the final wine if it is a pud wine or Passito.
  • Most importantly of all HAVE FUN!

If you live locally then I would be very happy to host a wine tasting for you (if you don’t live nearby why not host your own.) It is a great way to spend an evening. Either way…


Alex the Wine Lady

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Filed under Alex the Wine Lady, Bat and Bottle, Funny, Uncategorized, Wine, Wine Tasting

Perfect Wines for a Dinner Party

With hit shows like Come Dine With Me and Masterchef, together with a dint in some of our funds, ‘staying in’ is the new ‘going out’ .

Other than choosing a menu and selecting the guests (which in itself can be a total nightmare – are Uncle Henry and Great Aunt Maud talking again – will your bosses wife end up under the table again?) Choosing which wines to serve with your meal to compliment your food and impress your guests can be a hard decision.

I always like to start a dinner party with a glass of Prosecco. It is an excellent way to greet guests and most people will accept a glass of fizz. When all your guests have finally arrived then you can seat everyone.

I will very often serve a seafood starter or a soup for my first course and I can think of nothing better than a Verdicchio to compliment any seafood dish. With hints of honey and lemon this wine will enhance any starter. Your guests will also be thrilled with the elegance of this wine. (I love to make a crab meat and smoked salmon parcel as a starter – it never fails to satisfy.) 

For a main course I like to have something that does not need a lot of final finishing, a new favourite of mine is a Steak and Smoked Oyster pie with roasted vegetables. For this I need a big flavourful red. Something that can compete with the rich flavours but not drown out the subtle smokiness of the oysters. I have a great organic Malbec from Argentina called Ruca Malen and this will be beautiful. Tight berry fruit and a long finish. (I think I am going to have to have a dinner party soon – this is making my mouth water)

I am not really a pudding person but an old favourite which is easy to make and will not leave me stuck in the kitchen away from my guests for too long is a light and dark, Tia Maria chocolate mousse – heaven. As it is prepared earlier in the day I just need to serve it out. But what with? A Vin Santo is of course a great traditional pudding wine and with its sweet, tangy flavours would be perfect, however I also have a Spergola from Reggiano with hints of peach and a refreshing cleansing fizz that is only 6% proof and an incredible pudding wine.

Finally the Cheese and biscuits and then the washing up…. oh well. the Late Bottled Vintage Port from Niepoort will go down beautifully…. lets hope I get some invites back.

Whatever you serve – I am always ready to help with food and wine matching so please-

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Alex the Wine Lady

You can leave a message on this site or

You can follow me on Facebook

or visit the web site for Bat and Bottle

or Twitter @alexoharared

 or email me alexthewinelady@gmail.com


Filed under Alex the Wine Lady, Bat and Bottle, organic wine, Uncategorized, Vin Santo, Wine

Some Wine Misconceptions.

When I sell wine I talk to people about the wine, what it tastes like, the grapes, the wine maker, the price and many other aspects of the wine. There are times though when someone throws me a curved ball…. I sometimes assume that people know what they are talking about and then realise that, like most of us… we know so little. (Not just about wine… most of us know very little about a lot of things.) I thought I would share with you a few of the most common and sometimes humorous misconceptions and quotes that I have heard or made over my years selling wine over the telephone.

  1. Merlot and Pinot both have a silent T. (Apparently Greta Garbo one said to Jean Harlow, ‘The T is silent dear, as in Harlot.’)
  2. Chablis is made with Chardonnay grapes as are most of the white wines from Burgundy. Most white wine from the Loire, like Sancerre and Pouilli Fumé, are made with Sauvignon Blanc grapes.
  3. Champagne is a region of France. You cannot have Spanish Champagne, Italian Champagne or  English Champagne or even Indian Champagne which I heard about recently. (Sadly the French are a bit picky about this.)
  4. Rosé wine is not a mix of red and white wines. The blending of Red and White wines is highly discouraged and illegal in France. (Rosé is made from red grapes, but the wine is drawn off before the skins colour the wine too much.)
  5. If the wine has a ‘nutty character’ it does not mean that the wine maker added nuts to it. (This also applies to herbs, apricot, kiwi, apples, tar. cigar or chocolate.)
  6. If a wine offer is too good to be true… it probably is.

Below are some reasons why people did or did not want to buy a particular wine.

  1. “I had a girlfriend of that name once and I don’t think I should stir up those arguments again.” (The wine was Margaux – pronounced Margo, the character played by Penelope Keith in the Good Life)
  2. “What colour is the label because I have just decorated the dining room?”
  3. “I only want screw top wines now, I need to open them quickly”
  4. “The bottle is too large to fit into my fridge.”
  5. “I like white wine, my husband likes red wine… so can we have some Rosé wine please.”
  6. “I am 86 now and I want wines that are ready to drink now.”
  7. “I would like a case of 12 of those please, the doctor said I would be here a while longer.” (as it happens he is still here and still buying wine!)
  8. Me – “What sort of wine do you like?” Customer – “The red one!”
  9. “The last wine I got from you, 5 bottles were corked, It tasted great but the bits of cork in it had to be fished out of the glass.” (I did suggest that the lady should buy a new corkscrew to solve this little problem.)
There are many times I am grateful that I work on the telephone and I hope that I have cleared up a couple of things about wine. If you have any funny quotes please let me know. I would love to hear from you.
Talk to me
You can leave a message on this site or
You can follow me on Facebook
 or Twitter @alexoharared
or visit the web site for Bat and Bottle
 or email me alexthewinelady@gmail.com


February 2, 2012 · 14:46