In my recent edition of How to Get a Second Date With Kathleen, I mentioned the Tuesday Wine Nights I used to enjoy have with close friends. At the time, we were novice wine drinkers, and the experience taught us much about wine and our preferred varietals and regions.
Each week a group of us gathered to try new wines, each person bringing a bottle to match the theme. The themes were varied so as to expand our tastes and interests. It also allowed us to try wines we never thought we’d enjoy. The nights gave us a time each week when we could gather together with new friends and old to share some of our favorite things. Specific wine regions and countries made great themes, but there are plenty of variations to be had.
Some of the most memorable themes were:
- Australia (no Yellowtail allowed)
- Spain (we began with Marqués de Cáceres and quickly learned to branch out)
- South Africa (is drinking a Pinotage really like licking a zebra?)
- Favorite Wines (no matter where it was from)
- Each of the many great American winemaking states
- Best Wine Under $7 (bottles only, and again, no Yellowtail)
- Wines matched to specific holiday themes
The rules were simple. Everyone brings one bottle of whatever is good, red or white, and reasonably priced. If you didn’t know what to pick, you were allowed to ask for suggestions from others, including people at the wine shop.
The variety in both people and theme week to week meant we tasted many different wines-some we liked and some we didn’t. I began to expand my wine knowledge and understand my preferred flavor profiles in wine. Talking with others about the wine we were drinking helped (Liz can help you with these discussions... see her post How to be a Wine Snob: Learning to sip through any wine tasting like a sophisticated pro).
Geography, work, and life in general prevented this tradition from carrying on in its original form for us, but the basic premise still works. Why not invite friends over for a wine night of your own or attend a tasting at your local wine shop? Either way, you’ll learn a lot about yourself, your friends, and wine.