Recently a friend of mine and I put together a blind tasting for ourselves and 10 friends. Afterward it was one of those pot luck “bring a dish” things with more good stuff to eat than anyone could possibly ask for. It was a great evening. If you and your friends want to have a fun evening, here is how we did it.
My friend has a home nice enough and large enough to accommodate 12 people in the same room sitting at the same table. You don’t have to have 12 people, and you don’t all have to sit in the same place. My buddy actually borrowed the glasses from a local club that had plenty. Most people don’t have 48 wine glasses. You can get enough wine from one standard 750 ml bottle to give 12 people enough to taste – about 2 oz. So all 4 wines came to less than $100 for 12 of us.
A blind wine tasting is the only way to find out what you really like. You are evaluating wine, not labels or pre-existing perceptions. A blind tasting can take several different forms. You may not know what any of the wine is; you may only know where it is from; or you may only know what the grape is. This last one is what we did. We had 4 wines made from Pinot Noir. My friend and I knew what the wines were (someone has to), but it was arranged so that we did not know which was which after they were poured. Each person had 4 glasses of wine at their place at the table when they arrived.
My friend’s wife put each bottle in a brown bag, then she numbered each bag. Neither of us knew which wine was which. Then we poured the wines. When we all sat down everyone was told the wines were Pinot Noir from regions that normally produce Pinot Noir. That’s all. We tasted the wines, made notes and rated them 1-4. After the wines were rated, everyone was told the wines were from California, Burgundy (France), New Zealand, and Oregon. They were told the prices, but not which wine was which price. Everyone guessed which wine was which and what the price was. Then the wines were unbagged from least to most popular.
Here are the results based on which wine each person liked best: #1 Burgundy – 6 votes; #2 California – 5 Votes; #3 New Zealand – 1 vote; #4 Oregon – 0 votes. The Oregon wine finishing last was a big surprise. The most expensive wine was the Burgundy ($40). The least expensive was the California ($12.50). The others were $20 and $23. Was the one extra vote the French wine received worth $27.50? Most people didn’t think so. A blind taster can’t be impressed by price or label because he doesn’t know what the price is or what the labels say. This is a lot of fun especially if you have a prize for the winner.