CAPE TOWN - Given that wine occupies such a happy place at most women’s book clubs, it’s hardly surprising wine club has become the new book club.
Swapping best sellers for best cellars is easier than you think (and will have you and the girls sipping novel wines in no time!) Follow a few basic rules to ensure your budding new wine club meets everyone’s grape expectations:
● Keep it small: Limit numbers to a maximum of 20 people to keep costs down and ensure there are enough samples to go around per 750ml bottle.
● Get creative: Pick a theme to guide your wine choices. You can choose regions (think Stellenbosch or Franschhoek), cultivars, price points (budget friendly or break the bank) and even fun names and labels (how does a Downton Abbey Claret sound?)
● Do it right: To ensure your wine club is a success, everyone must taste from the same shape and size glass; have access to buckets to spit into (essential to ensuring everyone maintains a lucid approach to the tasting and for those who are designated drivers); and eat plain crackers in between to neutralise their palates. You and your club members are no doubt all learning as you go. Be sure to remember these tasting tips as you get to grips with wine club:
● Let it breathe: Before you start tasting,open your wine bottles and let the wine breathe. This helps expose the flavours and aromas of the wine.
● Take a whiff: Smell your wine before you pour it out to ensure it’s not corked; corked wine has a musty smell. If the wine has oxidised, it will appear rusty orange (white wine) or brown (red wine).
● Swirl, sip and spit: You can download tasting notes from the internet or from a Platter’s guide and use these to introduce the wine to the group. Swirl the wine in the glass and smell it to stimulate your olfactory senses. Then sip and swirl the wine around in your mouth before spitting it out. Wine tasting is subjective, so ask everyone in the group to describe their taste experience.
● Cut grass or asparagus? Finally, make a note of what you tasted. Try and describe the flavours as you experienced them. You don’t have to worry too much about the terms the pros use, as you’re just starting out.
But for future reference, common flavours in white wine include freshly cut grass, asparagus, tropical fruit and butterscotch and in red, chocolate, black cherry, plum, blackberry, spice, vanilla, smoke and blueberry.
If you’re looking to kickstart your wine club, visit Winederland at the TOPS at SPAR Wine Show presented by Cape Times taking place from 14 to 16 December 2017 at GrandWest Casino.
A vast range of wines will be available to taste and buy at the show.
● For more information go to www.wineshow.co.za