You don’t have to be a Rock Star to drink wine like one. Rock Star Winos beguile fame, demagnetize paparazzi, leave crowd-free wakes, and sign no autographs. Being a Rock Star Wino with the juice to indulge audiences in sensory, intellectual, and emotional celebration is unassuming and simple. So, if you read Wine Rock Star- Part 1, my reflex to Dave McIntyre’s routine wino tips, you are now ready and equipped to take your show on the road with Part 2.
Without really knowing if any legitimate Rock Stars drink wine just like this, here are two performance formats that will deliver wine experiences even the most jaded wine enthusiasts would clamor over:
The Three Wine Comparison
Never serve one glass of wine at a time with dinner. Rather, set out three identical glasses and compare the wines against each other. Never pick just a white and a red wine. Instead, pick three whites and three reds. Or, just three reds or whites or rosés. Most importantly, make sure they are related to each other in some way and serve them side by side.
For example, serve three 2009 Russian River California pinot noirs next to each other with a single course. Or, serve one 2008 syrah from the Rhone Valley’s Côte Rôtie, another 2008 syrah from California’s Paso Robles appellation, and the last from Australia’s Barossa Valley. Alternatively, serve 2008, 2007, and 2006 O’Shaughnessy Howell Mountain Cabernet, as an example, side by side. Or pour 1985, 1995, and 2005 Gruaud Larose from Bordeaux’s St. Julien appelallation. Or maybe just three different Talley Vineyard 2009 pinot noirs; Rosemary’s, Rincon, and Estate.
Get the picture? Serve them blind or open to your guests. Be creative. Reach out to your local wine monger for help…tell them what you want to do and ask for creative suggestions. Most importantly, enjoy the comparisons, differences, distinctions, favorites, commonalities, styles, and most of all the simultaneous resonance of appreciation, education, indulgence, and group connection. This performance qualifies you as a Wine Rock Star.
The Blind Tasting
It’s an advanced move, but intensely rewarding. I organize one each month as a labor of love and for the opportunity to comparatively taste wines I am curious to learn more about. Choose a theme…maybe 2007 Chateauneuf du Pape? 2008 Willamette Valley pinot noir? 2009 chenin blanc from Loire? 2009 white Burgundy vs. California Chardonnay? Buy a dozen bottles (or 6 of each if you are comparing the same variety from two different regions). Or, buy 10 bottles of the main region and add in two distant relatives to see if they stand out (i.e. one 2009 red Burgundy and one 2009 German spätburgunder added to a flight of 2009 California pinot noir). Then, remove all the foils and corks and put all of the bottles in paper bags, taped tightly around incognito necks so nobody can cheat.
Invite 12-15 of your closest friends. Put white table cloths over one or two long tables. Do this so you are able to see the color of the wines against a white backdrop. Cut up some baguettes and put plates of bread on the table. Get some big bowls or pitchers for dump buckets so everyone can pour out wines at the end of flights. Print out names and prices of the wines so everyone knows what is inside the brown paper bags. Give each taster a blank piece of paper and number it one to twelve, with twelve individual sections devoted to notes for every wine.
Set up six glasses for every taster. Pick six random bottles from the group of twelve. Mark each one by Sharpie with a number from one to six. Pour wine number one for each taster in the left most glass, number two in the second from the left, and so on. Once the six wines are poured, begin tasting. Look at color for all six, then check aroma for all six, then taste all six. Make some notes, rudimentary or exhaustive, and when everyone has finished tasting….compare your impressions with each other. You will be amazed how much of a learning experience this is. And, you just got to taste a half dozen amazing wines with good people. Rinse and repeat with the second six wines.
Have blind ballots for first and second place, add up the votes, and determine the group’s favorite wine. Such fun. Twelve great wines, sixteen wonderful people, untold enjoyment, connection, and new knowledge. Rock Star or not, you have created a new stage for exaggerated wine appreciation for you and your friends.