If you’re anything like me, the process of finding a wine that is both delicious and at a reasonable price point can be intimidating. There are so many options to choose from: rosé, merlot, chardonnay, pinot, Malbec, and cabernet…just to name a few. When selecting wine, the scene usually unfolds like this: I walk around the wine store, admiring the various bottles, and determine which bottle has the coolest label. Then, whatever aesthetically pleasing bottle is within my price range is what I end up purchasing. While I have undoubtedly come across some truly interesting wines by following this method, I am more often than not disappointed that a wine was either too sweet or too bitter to pair with the delicious dinner that I carefully prepared. I know that I could ask the retailer for advice. What if for once though, I could come in armed with the knowledge and expertise of a wine sommelier who has the ability to make a wise choice without input from the seller?

Enter the in-home wine tasting experience: available exclusively to 360 Blue homeowners and guests. Complete with several flights of wine, your own private sommelier, and a gourmet charcuterie board… every wine enthusiast’s dream. Last week I grabbed a few friends and gathered around the kitchen island, wine glasses in hand, eager to gain a better understanding of this fermented grape. 

To start, we were asked to pick one of four tasting groups to focus on: Fundamentals of Tasting, New versus Old World Wines, Wines of Italy, and for those looking to branch off into liquor, Whiskey Fundamentals. Since most of us are wine novices, we opted for the Fundamentals of Tasting and a decadent gourmet cheese board. The tasting began with three samples of whites: those that are fresh and bright, rich and ripe, and aromatic followed by reds that were classified as soft and fruity, big and bold, and blends with character. With each sample, we were provided the history of the wine, where it grows, what pairs well with this blend, and how to find other wines classified in these same sub-categories. Our wine expert also covered basics such as how long to keep wines open for, what the ideal temperature should be for drinking, and the difference between a corked wine versus a screw-top wine. Aside from the benefit that we could drink as much or as little as we wanted without having to drive anywhere, by holding this experience in the privacy of my own kitchen, we were able to take our time and have the undivided attention of our sommelier. She even delved into why certain cheeses are chosen for each plate: to better heighten the tasting experience with each blend that is sampled. The educational component of the tasting produced a greater appreciation beyond that of a beautiful label. 

As our two-hour tasting came to a close, we were offered the option to purchase these sample bottles in full, a choice we all opted into. The entire experience was truly memorable, and the next time I purchased a bottle of wine, I did so with confidence. Tastings are completely customizable and suited for every level, so whether you’re well-versed in wine or just looking to learn a bit more about it, there’s something for everyone. So, the next time you’re looking to brush up on your wine knowledge, or just sit back and savor some vino with friends, sign up for an in-home wine tasting. We promise your taste buds and your brain will thank you. Salud, friends!