Wine Tasting: Identifying Sweetness, Acidity, Oak, and Carbonation

Ryan and I watched the documentary Somm on a date night one evening. We have not viewed wine the same ever since. There are only 135 Master Sommeliers in North America. Of those 135, only 19 are women. Come on ladies, we need to commence with our wine drinking to bridge this gap! Anyway, Ryan jokes around that we should become master sommeiliers one day, but deep down I know he’s not joking at all! So to get us started, we decided to host a wine tasting with some friends.

With the help of “Wine: A Tasting Course” by Marnie Old, we organized three tastings that evening. We asked our guests to bring a bottle of wine, but we tried to be as specific as possible as to the style and country of origin so that it would fit with our tasting plan. We encouraged our guests to follow the tasting suggestions in the order presented. Below are the details on the tastings, with the specific wines we chose in parentheses:

A) Identifying Sweetness and Acidity


1. French Sauvignon Blanc (Petit Bourgeois, 2013): Very dry, Tart Acidity

2. California Chardonnay (Sutter Home): Dry, Crisp Acidity

3. Washington Riesling (Kung Fu Girl, 2013): Off-Dry, Tart Acidity

B) Identifying Oak

IMG_8588 Heron Mendo PNoir 10 face P

1. Unoaked French Chardonnay (Champy Macon-Villages, 2011): Low fruit, Low oak

2. Barrel Fermented California Chardonnay (Heron 2012): Medium fruit, Medium Oak

C) Identifying Carbonation

Mionetto-Prosecco_3 Santola

1. Italian Prosecco (Mionetto): High carbonation

2. Portuguese Vinho Verde (Santola): Medium Carbonation

Hosting a wine tasting is an affordable way to try a bunch of different wines. Ryan and I made some hors-d’oeuvres and we had friends bring cheese, crackers, and chocolates. We had so much fun with good food, wine, and even better company. We are already planning our next!

Do you have any tips on hosting a wine tasting? Any suggestions of wines I need to try?