Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Wine >
Mar 18, 2007 01:55 PM

Hosting a Wine Flight

I am wanting to host a wine flight for a church auction item (probably Pinots because I love them) but need help with some of the logistics. First, how much wine should I plan per person? (i.e. is this going to make me bankrupt?) Does 2 oz of 4 wines seem right, plus an extra bottle or so of each to have a full glass of after the tasting? I think we will have a maximum of 6 people. . .Also, what about food? I know if we are "serious" we shouldn't serve food with the wines, but my guess is most of these people will be total novices (as opposed to partial novices, like we are) so I think they might be expecting food during the tasting. Finally, assuming we save food for afterwards, do three savory and one sweet appetizer-type thing seem like enough? I am trying to avoid doing a wine meal, per se.
Thanks, any help you can give is appreciated!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Standard wine bar taste pour is 2.5 ounces, which is 10 tastes per bottle.

    There's nothing unprofessional about pairing a taste flight with appropriate food. Many red wines are not terribly pleasant to drink without food. If you don't want to cook, bread, cheese, and cold cuts work great.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Robert Lauriston

      Someone needs to explain that standard to the California ABC. They are now tending to limit wine retailers' tasting pours to TWO ounces. This restriction becomes part of the license 'condition' in many parts of the state. Apparently it's been brought on by the proliferation of retailers, at all levels, who want to offer wine tasting. Can't have that can we?

      About the food........ I wouldn't agree that "if we are "serious" we shouldn't serve food with the wines"...... many 'serious' wine enthusuasts would say quite the opposite.... that you shouldn't taste wine WITHOUT food.

      1. re: Midlife

        Pours in a wine shop are usually smaller anyway. I'm talking about wine bars.

    2. i have hosted small tasting dinners in the past with friends and it's always been lots of fun. what has worked best for me is to chose one dish - something simple like roasted duck. Then go out and buy 4 to 6 bottles of different wines that you think might go with the food and try each wine with the same food. that way, you can sort of make a dinner out of it. you can also paper bag the wines so no one has any prejudice going into the tasting and you'll be really surprised how different wines interact with the same food. also makes for a lively conversation as well.

      1. If youre looking to do a flight of Pinot Noir, then to maximize the experience:

        1) Bring a variety of PN's from various regions of the world and

        2) Serve some nice food & cheese matches for Pinot Noir... some ideas:

        Foods: Duck, grilled fish (especially an oily fish like tuna, salmon, swordfish, etc.), roast pork... a hint of truffle in the dish is a major plus... these can just be simple "finger food" type servings, they don't have to be elaborate entrees.

        Cheeses: Older Cheddars (8 yrs if you can get it), Chevre, Epoisses, and Roquefort all work very nicely with Pinot..

        5 Replies
        1. re: Chicago Mike

          Duck and lamb are classic pairs for pinot noir.

          Grilled fish could match well or clash badly depending on exactly which pinots are served.

          Roquefort can be too strong, I usually serve it with butter.

          1. re: Robert Lauriston

            >>Duck and lamb are classic pairs for pinot noir.<<

            Duck, OK, though I personally prefer Rhône, Bordeaux, Chianti, etc. with most preps (duck with cherries being a notable exception). But since when is lamb a classic PN pairing? Have just looked through several wine-pairing lists (Hugh Johnson, Bob Thompon, Tom Maresca, four French-language books) and none reccos PN for drinking with lamb. Nor can I recall any of the hundreds of lamb recipes in French and American cookbooks I've looked at over the years suggesting a Burgundy or other PN as an accompaniment.

            I'd also not let a Roquefort or chèvre within spitting distance of a Pinot Noir, as neither cheese shows dry red wines, especially mild-mannered ones like Burgundy, in a good light.

            1. re: carswell

              Maybe that's a Berkeley - San Francisco thing. The Chez Panisse Menu Cookbook refers to Richard Olney suggesting roasted rack of lamb for a Chambertin-Clos de Bèze tasting.

              Lamb definitely pairs well with oaky fruit-bomb New World pinots.

              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                >>> Lamb definitely pairs well with oaky fruit-bomb New World pinots. <<<

                Yes, because "Pinot-as-Syrah" isn't really your "Burgundian" style of Pinot. Personally, I would never serve a Burgundy with lamb -- even though I dearly love *both* Burgundy and Lamb. Typically, however, I go with a Pomerol or St.-Émilion, a top CA or WA Merlot or fruit-bomb Syrah from CA.

                But that's just me, of course . . . YMMV.

                1. re: zin1953

                  Yeah, I agree, unless it's highly seasoned, in which case Rhone.

        2. I lived in Oregon, so I tend to lean towards NW-inspired foods, like salmon, something with hazelnuts, etc. I love some of the suggestions -- I do plan on choosing a California (or two from different regions), an Oregon, and isn't there someone new on the scene in PN, like New Zealand or something? I seem to recall reading something about it.

          2 Replies
          1. re: gridder

            If you go with a NZ pinot, I would pick something from Central Otago.

            1. re: gridder

              Salmon is a classic with Pinot Noir. So is Duck or even a simple grilled chicken. However, PN goes well with a lot of foods, in fact is probably better with food than alone. And I think that New World PNs (California or Oregon) go well with lamb, but Burgandy is probably not a great match. As to cheeses, Cheddar, Parmigiano, Romano, Swiss and Gouda all work well. Be sure to have some good bread too.

              If you are going to have California wines, you should probably get a couple of regions, Sonoma Coast, Russian River Valley, Santa Rita Hills, etc. They are all different, thought they do tend to be fruit bombs at times. I also think that the PNs from the Marlborough region of New Zealand show promise.