KD Finds: Wine-Tasting Party

KD Finds: Wine-Tasting Party
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KD Finds: Wine-Tasting Party

Need help hosting a wine-tasting party? We've got five tips and five picks that help keep guests happy.

1. Let Young Wines Breath

Young, full-bodied red wines generally have the highest amount of tannins, which cause that mouth-puckering dry sensation. Letting wines aerate will mellow out their flavors, and younger wines will need more time to breathe.

The design of this decanter forces wine to cascade down along its walls, maximizing the wine's exposure to air. Serve wine straight from the beautiful glass carafe, or flip it back around to easily pour the wine back into its bottle.

Wine Breather Carafe, $50; uncommongoods.com

2. Ask Your Local Wine Shop For Recommendations

With so many options available, how does a shopper pick what wine to serve at their party? One tip is to choose a theme to narrow down your choices. We wanted to sample French red, white and rose wines that are great buys this summer. We turned to David Hunter, Wine Buyer for Chelsea Wine Vault in New York City to help us select three wines and share his tasting notes.

Complices de Loire Jus de Gamay Touraine 2010, $13
"This wine was made from the Gamay grape which is nice by itself but great with food. It is the perfect picnic wine for your next summer outing."

Château D'Esclans Whispering Angel Rosé Côtes de Provence 2012, $22
"Dry Rosé is always my summer fling; flirty and fresh, it is the perfect choice. Although they can stand up to light cuisine, I prefer them as an aperitif..."

Jean-Pierre et Michel Auvigue Pouilly-Fuissé Solutré 2011, $30
The area Pouilly-Fuissé "produces gorgeous, ripe wines with notes of baked apples and lemon curd. It is unbeatable when paired with sea bass, herb crusted pork loin or even fried chicken."

More French wines available at chelseawinevault.com

3. Serve at the right temperature and keep things organized.

Smart wine accessories, like a wine chiller and wine markers, can help keep the party going.

The Corkcicle keeps chilled white wine cold for an hour and room-temperature red wine cool for 15 minutes, and instructions are as easy as freezing it first and then inserting it into the wine bottle. You can also accessorize your Corkcicle with fun Caps that double as both wine stoppers and wine markers.

Corkcicle Color, $25, and Caps, $18 for set of three; corkcicle.com

4. Encourage guests to experiment with wine and food pairings.

Half the fun of hosting a wine-tasting party is letting your guests find out which foods pair best with which wines. Don't stress out about selecting the perfect pairs beforehand; just serve an array of simple foods like plain crackers, cheese, nuts, fruit and spreads.

We love Humboldt County, California-based Cypress Grove Chevre for their selection of award-winning artisan goat's milk cheese. Humboldt Fog cheese wins us over with its creamy texture and mild tang, while sophisticated palates will love Truffle Tremor cheese. The only sheep's milk cheese, Lamb Chopper, is a crowd-pleasing favorite.

Cypress Grove Chevre cheese, $6.50 - $25 each piece; cypressgrovechevre.com

Panforte spiced cakes look beautiful and pair well with red wines. This Napa Valley version of the ancient Roman treat is made from California almonds and hazelnuts, B&R Farms Blenheim apricots and Napa Valley-based Salute Sante grapeseed flour and oil.

Napa Cakes Panforte, $15 for 8 oz. cake or $30 for 16 oz. cake; napacakespanforte.com

5. Use low-maintenance drinking glasses for less fuss.

While wine experts may stick to the proper glassware, the casual drinker will love Govino wine glasses. Made from crystal-clear shatterproof "glass", these stemless vessels are reusable, recyclable and perfect for picnics and poolside parties.

Govino Go Anywhere Wine Glass, $13 for 4 glasses; govinowine.com


Hosting a wine-tasting party, but not sure where to start? Wine can seem intimidating, but we can help you tackle the basics with our easy tips and picks for wine essentials.

Shopping at your local wine shop but overwhelmed with what varietals to bring home? Or, stumped on what type of cheese to serve with a dry, full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon? Our tips will help you breathe easy and make hosting a lot more fun, plus we've done the legwork to curate our favorite products for entertaining with wine.

Send out your invites, and pop open those bottles - we'll help you swirl, sniff and sip your way to success!

Check out the slideshow above to discover our five best tips and picks for a wine-tasting party.

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