Wine Tasting Kits and Caboodles
By Jennifer Jordan
Wine tasting may seem like something that is on special reserve, geared only for those who are expert wine drinkers. Intent on discovering fruits of a winery’s labor, these connoisseurs set out to serve as judges and juries of the bottled world, as if deciding the fate of a wine that stands trial, accused of being bad. But, however expert-like wine tasting may seem, it’s not just for those who are experts, connoisseurs, or even seasoned drinkers; wine tasting is also for beginners. Even for those of you who view wine as a stranger, too intimidated to approach it in a bar, wine tasting is a necessary and helpful practice.
Wine tasting serves many purposes. First of all, it gives you the ability to find out what kind of wine you truly enjoy, helping you decide what wine you should order at restaurants and store in the cellar. Wine tasting also exposes you to a variety of types, educating you on how to detect differences. Without it, you may have no chance at ever determining one wine from another, ultimately forcing yourself to order the entire wine list instead of just a specific glass or bottle.
While many cities have wine tasting events, with some cities even offering classes on how to properly taste wine, some people, particularly the wine novice, may prefer to lose their wine tasting virginity in a more private venue, such as their own home. For those of you with which this preference fits, a wine tasting kit is a suitable purchase.
Wine Tasting Kits
Wine tasting kits bring the concept of a large wine tasting venue to the comfort of your home, allowing you to enjoy each sip in your favorite chair, perhaps watching Golden Girls in between vintages, nodding in appreciation to both your wine and Sophia’s witty rapport. Because it removes the presence of wine vendors and wine experts from the equation, wine tasting kits provide the ability to taste wine without the fear of doing it incorrectly.
Wine tasting kits can greatly range in price and in what they include. While some come with everything you could possibly need, stopping just short of packaging a vineyard in bubble wrap, others don’t include everything, with some not including the wine. Wine tasting kits that may be geared towards teaching people to learn the differences in smell may include aroma strips, where as those geared towards party games may include a wine trivia book. Similarly, some wine tasting kits are geared for a solo taster, while other wine tasting kits come with six or eight glasses, aimed at those who want to share the wine tasting experience with a few close friends.
Wine tasting kits may also not be exactly what they sound like. Some books that discuss wine tasting call themselves wine tasting kits and course outlines, that provide a lesson plan on tasting, also call themselves wine tasting kits. While these can be just as helpful as the actual wine tasting kit itself, be sure you are purchasing exactly what you seek.
Blind Wine Tasting Kits
Whether it’s romance you’re sharing with another person, or romance you’re sharing with a bottle of wine, love is always blind, with no preconceived notions or stereotypes affecting affection. This idea applies to all sorts of categories of wine, particularly the tasting of it.
Blind wine tasting, while it may sound like a game where you wear a blindfold and pin a wine opener on a bottle of Pinot Noir, is the concept of tasting wine without knowing anything about it: without knowing where it’s from, what year it was made, or what it does for fun. Because people often have previously established judgments, knowing certain things about wine can alter opinions. Blind tasting, however, requires the taster to be as objective as possible, making them as honest as possible in the process. This gives you the greatest chance of finding wine that you truly like.
Blind wine tasting kits are essentially the same as wine tasting kits, only you don’t know what type of wine you are tasting. These kits typically come with bottles encased in cloth, blocking you from viewing the wine’s information. Only after the wine has been tasted and rated, should its identity be revealed.
Virtual Wine Tasting Kits
The virtual world has transcended the categories of virtually every product in existence including wine tasting kits. Virtual wine tasting kits are similar to video lessons or books on tape, only they involve a DVD player or a computer. They are relatively easy to follow. Many come with a few bottles of wine as well as a CD Rom or a DVD where your very own wine connoisseur guides you through the world of wine. The CD Rom or DVD will instruct you how to assess the quality of the wine, determine if it needs to be aged or if it is presently suitable for drinking, and detect certain odors and flavors of the wine.
Wine tasting kits can be both fun and beneficial for any wine drinker. Most are extremely simple to use and easily encourage the culture and art of determining one wine from another: they provide an invaluable wine education. However, because wine tasting does involve alcohol, it’s important not to make portions too big (or use a spittoon). Drinking too much wine can make you drunk, leaving you to have both an affinity for all types of wine and an unyielding desire for bacon.
Jennifer Jordan is the senior editor at http://www.savoreachglass.com. With a vast knowledge of wine etiquette, she writes articles on everything from how to hold a glass of wine to how to hold your hair back after too many glasses. Ultimately, she writes her articles with the intention that readers will remember wine is fun and each glass of anything fun should always be savored.