Wine Tasting Virtually!
Updated: Mar 17
I love to go wine tasting! For me, the best way to discover new wines is to go to the source – the vineyard. I love being able to see where the grapes were grown and taste the wine in the tasting room. And sometimes if you’re lucky, the winemaker will be in the tasting room during your visit and you can hear about the wine directly from them.
Of course in our current world, going to a vineyard to do a wine tasting just isn’t possible. However, some innovative folks in the wine industry have figured out the next best thing – virtual wine tastings!
This past Friday night, I decided to give one a try. How did it go? Keep reading to find out!
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HOW DOES A VIRTUAL WINE TASTING WORK?
A virtual wine tasting can be done through a couple of different mediums. There are Zoom meetings where the person leading the tasting and the participants can interact either through the chat function or directly. I’ve also seen virtual wine tastings done on various social media platforms like Facebook Live or Instagram Live.
In all instances, the wine tasting is led by someone – typically the winemaker or a wine educator – who leads the “class” through the wines that are to be tasted. If you’ve ever taken a wine class, it’s basically the same thing only done virtually instead of in person.
The wine tasting host and the head of the company that makes the wines were up on my t.v. screen for my virtual wine tasting.
BUT HOW DO I TASTE THE WINE VIRTUALLY?
A wine tasting isn’t much fun if you can’t taste the wine. Unfortunately, tasting the wine will take some effort on your part.
Typically, when a virtual wine tasting is announced, the winery will let you know what wines they will be tasting and give you the opportunity to purchase those wines. If the winery is local, getting the wines might be as easy as ordering online and then going for curbside pick-up. If the winery is not local, you’ll need to order the wine and have it shipped, which takes more planning.
My wine for my virtual wine tasting arrived a few days after I placed the order.
The tasting I did was through Wine.com. You can pick the tasting that interests you and with a click of a button, order the wines that will be part of that tasting. They record all of their tastings and put them up on YouTube, so if you don’t get the wine in time for the live stream, you can watch it after.
Well, having a box of wine show up at my door isn’t going to help me make more friends right now, but the box is cute!
SETTING UP YOUR OWN VIRTUAL WINE TASTING
I decided that if I was going to do a wine tasting at home, I was going to do it right. So, I laid out all of the wines (of course making sure that the white wine was properly chilled). I also got out the proper glassware and even added a plate with some crackers so we could cleanse our palate in between.
I’m all ready for my virtual wine tasting with the wine, glassware, and even some crackers!
There were four wines in this particular tasting. Even though I love wine, drinking four bottles of wine in one evening is a challenge! My husband was joining me in the tasting and I knew between the two of us we could drink all four bottles over the course of the weekend, so I opened all four. Another option is to just open one or two and keep returning back to the video.
The four wines in our virtual wine tasting!
We pulled the video up on our t.v. and we were ready to go!
Our wine tasting host from wine.com led us through the tasting and the discussion.
OUR VIRTUAL WINE TASTING!
The wine tasting we did featured the wines of Domaines Barons de Rothschild. We were led through the tasting by Saskia de Rothschild, who is the chairwoman of their wine company. Our wine tasting consisted of one white and three reds from their various vineyards in France and South America.
Saskia de Rothschild did a great job of talking about each of the wines and the vineyards they each came from.
CHATEAU D’AUSSIERES 2018 CHARDONNAY
The first wine we tasted was a 100% Chardonnay from the Languedoc region in France. The family acquired the vineyard in 1999. While the Languedoc region is typically a warmer region in France, this particular vineyard is close to the water and gets the cold winds coming off the sea.
The first wine in our virtual wine tasting was the Chardonnay.
This Chardonnay is lightly oaked. The grapes were harvested earlier than usual and the vineyard is organic. I am normally not a huge Chardonnay fan, but I found this wine to be delicious. It was very crisp and light. The flavors of the Chardonnay grape weren’t hidden behind too much oak. I definitely recommend this one!
AMANCAYA 2017 RESERVE RED BLEND
The second wine we tasted was this Argentinian wine that is a Malbec/Cabernet Sauvignon blend. The family also acquired this vineyard in 1999. The vineyard is located in the Mendoza region. The family produces three red wines from this vineyard, and the Amancaya is the middle tier of the three.
This delicious red blend from Argentina was the next wine that we tasted.
Although a blend, the wine is predominantly Malbec (72%), which gives it some nice acidity. The Cabernet Sauvignon adds to the body of the wine and gives it the nice tannins. I really loved this wine. I thought it was very smooth and easy drinking, but also had some spiciness to it. This was one of the wines that I tasted and then put the cork back in and stored it in the refrigerator until I was able to drink it again. I opened the bottle on Friday night and drank the rest of it Sunday, and the wine held up very well. I really enjoyed this one. It was my favorite of the tasting!
LOS VASCOS 2017 GRANDE RESERVE CABERNET SAUVIGNON
Our third wine of the wine tasting was a Cabernet Sauvignon from Chile. The family acquired this vineyard in 1988, and they were attracted to the property because it was in a region called the Colchagua Valley that produces nicely balanced wines. The vineyard has a whole ecosystem around it, and the family focused on planting the vines in the foothills of the valley.
Surprisingly, this Cabernet Sauvignon was my least favorite wine of the tasting.
I found this wine to be very light for a Cabernet Sauvignon. The tannins were very soft and it had a very smokey nose and initial taste. It was suggested to drink this one slightly chilled, which is unusual for a heavy red like Cabernet Sauvignon, but I can see where that might work for this very light version. I wasn’t really a huge fan of this one. When I drink a Cabernet Sauvignon, I want it to be heavy and give me that mouth feel that wants me to eat a steak with it. Of the four wines, I wouldn’t purchase this one again.
CHATEAU L’EVANGILE 2014 BLASON DE L’EVANGILE
This wine comes from the Pomerol region of France. The family acquired the vineyard in 1990 and it’s a small estate with just eight people that work there. The wine is 92% Merlot and 8% Cabernet Franc, so technically classified as a Bordeaux blend. This region of France is a challenge as it is often hit with mildew issues. This particular vineyard is organic, which makes that challenge even more difficult.
This French Bordeaux was delicious! It definitely inspired me to explore more French wine.
I tend to stay away from French wines. That’s partially because they tend to be more expensive and my wine budget can’t afford them, and partially because I’m a little bit intimidated by them. The labels tend to be complicated to the point that it’s not even clear what varietals of grapes make up the wine.
Well, after tasting this wine, I think I’m going to have to get over my fear and start exploring more French wine. I loved this wine! It was much more complex and full-bodied than the previous wine we tasted. It had some spiciness to it, but also a very pronounced cherry taste. This wine would go great with anything. I had another glass (or two) with the steaks my husband made on the grill that night. Because of the cherry, I think it would also pair well with dark, bitter chocolate. This wine was the most expensive of the four, but definitely worth the extra money!
So there you have it – my first virtual wine tasting! Was it as good as the real thing? No, not even close. But we had a lot of fun and I learned a lot. There are plenty of free virtual wine tastings and classes out there, and you don’t have to buy the wine to participate either. Although it’s not quite as fun, I guarantee you will still learn something!
Wine.com did a great job with the wine they shipped, including the stickers you could add to the back so you knew when you purchased the wine as well as the rating.
Have you tried a virtual wine tasting yet? If so, let us know about your experience! Comment below or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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