Have yourself a low-key, no-stress wine party!

wine tasting

Wine, food and friends.

Is there anything better?

I decided to combine all three and have a fun Ladies Wine Tasting. Which really just means that we all had a great excuse to eat, drink and catch up with one another.

Y’all remember that I went to IFBC last September? There was a session there on pairing wine with food. I was, of course, interested in the topic, but they were also passing around wine. Not that I cared about that. I attended the session purely because I wanted to learn.

Kind of like you really only buy the magazine for the articles.  Ahem.

Turns out it was a really fun, down-to-earth session on tasting wine, pairing it with different foods, and how it’s important to trust your own instincts and not be intimidated by others opinions and palates.

There was also some discussion about putting wine into your blender to aerate it. (Anyone have thoughts on this?)

Then, just before Christmas, a big box of wine arrived on my doorstep.

{I love being a food blogger!}

There were six bottles, all from Don & Sons. Five reds, one white. All with recipes created just for that particular wine.

Party time!

I gathered my girlfriends together, we made the recipes and passed around the wine.

I also put out an extra couple of bottles to pass around for those times when glasses were empty but we weren’t quite to the next course yet.

Trust me, I know my friends, and they like their wine. That’s why we’re friends.

Although this was really low-key, I still wanted to make it special. So I started with a bottle of prosecco and handed each guest a glass as soon as they walked in the door.

There was a separate table where we held the wines (except for the white which we kept chilled) in the order we were serving each dish. I opened all the wine before the party started to give it plenty of time to aerate.

There were several appetizers to start us off so I left room on the wine table; the rest of the dishes would be at the counter to keep that casual vibe. I added a simple cheese plate with brie, fresh raspberries and cherries (with a pitter and bowl) since the appetizers were hot and wouldn’t be out immediately.

I kept the flow going pretty well through the first few courses. It was tough to serve each dish and pour a new wine with much precision; not everyone was finished with their wine from the previous course while others had poured some of the “extra” wine and were still working on that. But since everyone was having a great time I didn’t worry too much about it.

And by the fourth bottle, no one cared much which wine they were drinking ;-)

I’d always wanted to host some kind of a wine tasting but really didn’t know how to go about it. Although I love both wine and food, I’m much too impatient to spend a lot of time creating recipes to pair with a specific wine. But when Don & Sons did it for me? It sounded like too much fun to resist. And the wine?

The wine was good. We all really enjoyed it. I especially liked the sweet red – the Smoking Loon. Not at all the type I normally go for but I really liked this one.

All photos by Andrea Meyers Photography

I’m sharing the wines and recipes so that you can host your own. Or just try a recipe with one of the wines; all of the dishes were outstanding and there were none that I wouldn’t make again. My contribution was the mushroom flan!

smoking loon

smoky bean soup


mushroom flan

Hopefully you can read the recipes okay. Normally I type my recipes but the thought of retyping all six pages was a bit much. If anyone would like a larger photo for printing or simply easier viewing, just ask! I’d be glad to share all of them.

For dessert I made these chocolate spoons. Mine were Valentine themed but just a pretty drizzle of chocolate would be perfect.

Thanks to Beth, Connie, Heather, Meredith, Maryanne, Nikki and Andrea for a super fun night! And special thanks to Andrea for taking the time to photograph during the party. You rock!

Andrea writes the food blog Andreas Recipes and you can head over there to get her take on our party, too!