Whether your party guests are beginners or expert wine connoisseurs, the blind taste test game will take the entertainment level up to 11. It’s easy to play, just follow these simple instructions:
Things You’ll Need
•Several bottles of wine
•Plain adhesive labels, and tin foil to cover the wine bottles
•List of wines
•Paper and pencil for each guest
Pinot Noir (from France), Malbec (from Argentina), Merlot (from U.S.), Nebbiolo (from Italy), Cabernet Franc (from France), Grenache (from Spain), Syrah/Shiraz (from Australia or France)
Sauvignon Blanc (from New Zealand), Chardonnay (from California), Riesling (from Germany), Moscato, Grüner Veltliner (from Australia), Pinot Grigio (from Italy), Viognier (from Croatia)
How to Play
1. Before your guests arrive, cover the wine bottles with foil, apply a blank label and assign each bottle of wine a number, writing it on the label. Set out several plastic cups for each guest. Write a corresponding number onto to each cup, making sure each guest has one of every number available.
2. After your guests are seated, pour the wine into the corresponding cups.
3. Give each guest the first cup, and have him or her taste the wine. Read off the wine’s varietal, and country of origin. Guests then write down their best guesses.
4. Repeat this process with each bottle. Optional: Go around after each round and see if anyone guessed correctly and silently assign them a point if they were right.
5. Once everyone has tasted all the wines, reveal their scores. The taster who identified the most bottles correctly is the winner
Tip: Start off with the white wines, and then go to reds. Be sure to pour small amounts, or the wine will quickly go to the taster’s heads if this game lasts for a while.
If your guests know little to nothing of different wine varietals, don’t stress! This is a game after all and it’s meant to be fun above all else. But if you want to give your friends a wine overview before getting started, then print off the following wine basics.
The Wine Basics Cheat Sheet to Give Your Players Help:
One of the lightest red wines, color is often highly transparent and more ruby than purple. Pinot Noir often carries aromas of cranberries.
Malbec is often very opaque. It commonly smells like blueberries and vanilla, and carries a light pink rim.
Merlot can be tricky because it often tastes and smells like a young Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. However, Merlot tends to be a tad fruitier and sweeter. Visually, the difference is that Merlot has a slightly orange rim at a young age, whereas Cabernet Sauvignon doesn’t.
One of the highest tannin wines out there, yet it is still very translucent. An Italian wine that tastes of roses, cherries, and a hint of brick.
Cabernet Franc has more peppery and savory characteristics than Cabernet Sauvignon. It carries a classic bell-pepper aroma.
Grenache is also known as Garnacha in Spain. Grenache produces ruby-colored translucent light red wines. Grenache’s giveaway is candied fruit. Spanish Garnacha smells of candied grapefruit.
Syrah / Shiraz
Syrah and Shiraz are more opaque than most wines. A Shiraz often tastes of black fruits whereas a Syrah tastes of black olives. In either case, look for black fruits in a Syrah.
Sauvignon Blanc tastes like green bell pepper, grass, limes and gooseberries. Even when a Sauvignon Blanc tastes fruiter (like many Californian Sauvignons), it still tastes a tad green.
Chardonnay is one of the most full-bodied white wines out there. Its flavor will fill your mouth. An oaked chardonnay has a smooth, creamy taste and a much darker color than other wines. Try to get an oaked Chardonnay for a blind tasting, as it will be easiest to identify.
A Riesling sports high acidity and a palate of honey and apricots. Most are also slightly sweet. Try to stay away from an Australian Riesling with the blind taste test game; they are typically dry with no residual sugar.
Moscato is usually delicate and sweet, tasting of peaches and perfume. The smell of Moscato is very strong and it’ll tend to reach up and grab you right from the glass.
This is an Austrian wine with high acidity and very green (vegetal and herby) flavors. Some Grüner Veltliner are richer in style, but many less expensive wines of this variety have big lime zest and pepper flavors.
Pinot Grigio has high acidity and is very pale in color but not as high as Grüner Veltliner. Pinot Grigio tastes like lemons and limes.
The lowest acidity of most white wines, it feels quite heavy on the middle of your tongue. Most Viogniers are dry and carry scents of jasmine and apples.
Enjoy playing! If you need an outstanding wine recommendation for your blind taste test game then ask the wine wizards at your local Spec’s, Wines, Spirits & Finer Foods.