A couple of weeks ago, we hosted a wine tasting at our house. We belong to a Wine Appreciation Group that is part of our church. We meet once a month and the hosts choose the wine that we taste. The group tastes red wines most of the time. I only like Old World Italian reds, so that is what we tasted this time. On our invitation, we told them to bring a bottle of one of these lesser known Old World Italian wines:

Nebbiolo
Nero D’Avola
Monte Pulciano
Sangiovese
Barbera

Our choice of appetizers to go along with the wine included:

Tuscan bread
Olives
Fruit – berries
Red Pepper and Roasted Eggplant dip (Trader Joe’s)
Hummus (4 varieties – also Trader Joe’s)
Several sausages and cheeses
Prosciutto rolls
Roasted Peppers with Goat Cheese

The Wine Appreciation group has its own glasses, bags, number tags and note pads that go from house to house. The guest brings a bottle and it is put into a bag and marked with a number. The numbers are just pulled from a bag to keep it random. In the case of the red wines, they are all uncorked to allow them to breathe. Everyone mingles and eats while we are waiting for the rest to arrive. Some start drinking beer or wine, but many of us have water before tasting.

The host then goes around and pours everyone about 1 oz. to taste. In honor of National Poetry Month, my husband made up rhymes for every number we had. He got a little more creative as the night went on. Remembering it was our church group, he said “Number Four, Number Four. Turns a good girl into a …..bore.” (What were you thinking?)

We tasted 13 bottles that night. We have a notepad and paper to make comments and/or use your own rating system. My husband and I just rate based on a 1-10 scale. As hosts, we did not have the time to comment as we usually do so I can’t tell you what we liked or didn’t like about each wine. When all wines had been tasted, we tallied up the winners based on a show of hands. The winners were:

Malvira San Michele Barbera D'Alba


This wine was number one. I gave it an 8 and my husband gave it a 7.

Damilano Barbera D'Asti


This wine was number two. I gave it an 8 and my husband gave it a 6.

Il Bastardo Sangiovese


Wine number three got a 7 and 8 from us again.

Tato Montepulciano


This is the wine we brought. It got a 7 from my husband and a 3 from me. It came in 4th place. Although we brought the first place wine at two other tastings, we didn’t do as well with the one we hosted!

Morgante Nero D'Avola


This is the wine that we both liked. We both rated it a nine. However, only 4 people liked it – including us.

It was a great evening. We joined the group knowing only one other couple and have made many friends as a result of our common interest. Next month we are tasting a Meritage Wine. A meritage is a Bordeaux blend of grapes which were grown on non-French soil. The blend of grapes from a meritage are Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec and Petite Verdot. I’ll let you know what happens.

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