Every year on Valentine’s Day, my single friends get together, share their favorite bottles of wine, and celebrate each other. I adore this idea and would even take it to another level. Why not enjoy the day of love with your closest guys and gals and host a wine tasting at home?
And you don’t have to be a wine expert to pull it off. Just choose some of your personal favorites and check out the list below of what types of cheeses pair best with each. Be sure to choose a variety of red, white, and blush wines since your guests will have different tastes. Plus, having an assortment allows everyone to try a little of everything just like winery tasting.
Cabernet Sauvignon–sharp Cheddar, Swiss, Asiago, Feta, Chevre
Merlot–Brie, Gruyere, smoked Gouda, Camembert, Romano, Chedder
Pinot Noir–Monterey Jack, Colby, Swiss, Pepper Jack, Gorgonzola, Camembert, Muenster
Chardonnay–mild Cheddar, smoked Mozzarella, Brie, Gouda, Provolone, Havarti
Sauvignon Blanc–Gorgonzola, Roquefort, Mozzerella, Comte, Gruyere, Feta, Brie
Riesling–Brie, Monterey Jack, Gruyere, Gouda, Colby, Muenster, Swiss, Edam
Champagne or sparkling wine–Brie, Camembert, fontina
Moscato–Brie, Feta, Mozzarella, Marscarpone, Mueneter, Gruyere
White Zinfandel–cream cheese, Muenster, Gouda, Ricotta, Gruyere
Pink Moscato–Monterey Jack, Gouda
It’s also a good idea to have some other simple snacks to accompany your wine and cheese pairings. These are always a perfect compliment.
- Crusty bread and crackers: French baguette, Italian bread, plain crackers
- Fresh fruit: grapes, melons, pears, apples, berries
- Nuts: pecans, almonds, walnuts, macadamias
- Chocolate: Choices should depend on wine selection
- Assorted olives or cured meats such as sliced country ham and sausage
If you’re planning on having more than just a couple of friends for the event it can get expensive, so I suggest asking your friends to contribute by bringing their favorite bottle of wine and a pairing to go along with it. I’m sure they’d be more than happy to contribute to a fun night out.
When it comes to decoration, keep it simple. This event should be about enjoying a night of great wine and food, and even better company, not a ton of stress and clean up. I love the idea of using chalkboard contact paper (as seen in the above photo) on the table as a guide to each pairing. No need to make fancy place cards, just write on it and throw it away at the end. Easy as pie, and so cute! And to continue the chalk theme and add a personal touch for your guests, use chalkboard paint and chalk to personalize each wine glass instead of traditional wine markers. Decorate them yourself before the party, or have each person decorate their own for an even more fun element to the evening.
30 minutes before the guests arrive, take the cheese out of the fridge. They always taste better at room temperature. Red wines should be opened so they can breathe, and white wines should be chilled ahead of time.
Bring out the other food about 10 minutes before arrival time and put on the nice, soft background music to set the mood. A few candles are also nice for ambiance, but be sure to buy unscented because you don’t want any aromas competing with the wine.
It’s not difficult or too time consuming to host a lovely wine tasting party at home for your friends. Everything is ready ahead of time. Very little cooking is required and you can spend your time at the party mingling, instead of being in the kitchen all night.