Wine Tasting Party

by Maris Callahan on February 21, 2010


A few weeks ago I received an email from the California Wine Club offering to send me samples of two of their wines. The family owned “wine of the month” club is based on the premise of a friend recommending a wine to another, something that my own friends and I are pretty well-versed in.

Since I’ll use any excuse to throw a party, I bought a few extra wines, along with some artisan cheese, made some of my favorite hors d’ouerves and invited a few of my favorite Chicago-ians to help me test the wines. I find that a lot of young people like drink wine but we don’t know all that much about how to choose it or pair it with complementary food.


(Thanks for ignoring the apparent wine spillage down the front of my dress. Really, I have no idea how that happened).


The perfect wine party doesn’t exist without the perfect cheese plate: a creamy goat milk cheese, a sharp, pungent blue cheese and a block of sharp Vermont cheddar.


I don’t know what exactly I’m doing in this picture, but whatever it was, I was concentrating. And this was before I spilled anything down the front of my dress.


Of the wine we sampled, some of the house favorites were Santa Margherita Prosecco, Jam Jar Sweet Shiraz, Dona Paula Malbec, Barefoot Pinot Grigio, Louis Bouillot Brut and Fox Barrel Pear Cider.


And what’s a party without some delicious food?




Goat cheese dates

I’ll post some of the party recipes later this week. Thanks to Dave for the pictures!

What are some of your favorite wines?

**Disclosure: The California Wine Club provided me with two complimentary bottles of wine for the tasting (est value: $30). I supplemented with additional food and beverages.

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Paula February 21, 2010 at 6:52 pm

Cheese and wine – mmmmm! That sounds like an amazing party. And I love your dress – wine spillage or not!
As for favourite wines . . . I’m primarily a rose wine fan. I love the paler ones – I don’t like them to be too RED, so I’m into White Zin, White Grenache and Pinot Grigio Blush. I like brands like Blossom Hill and Ernest & Julio Gallo.
I also LOVE sparkling rose wine. Yum.


Daryl February 21, 2010 at 8:13 pm

you forgot to mention your cut finger!!! The food looks fabulous


lovesfool February 21, 2010 at 9:17 pm

Wish I could have been there! Maybe next time.
I love some cheap wine from jewel with a black cat on it.


Heidi Renée February 22, 2010 at 12:34 am

I confess, I’ve never liked wine. I haven’t liked a single one I’ve ever tasted!


kat February 22, 2010 at 9:32 am

Looks like fun. We used to throw some great wine parties in SF where people would all bring a wine made from the same grape & then we’d do a blind tasting. This reminds me I should start it up again….


thatShortChick February 22, 2010 at 3:02 pm

I can only do sweet white wines (pinot or riesling). I’ve tried some reds and practically choke them down.
Hopefully, one day, I can attend a wine tasting so I can become more educated and try a broader range of wines.


kellieatsforfun February 23, 2010 at 2:07 am

Looks like a great time! Can’t wait for some recipes ;)


Carissa February 23, 2010 at 3:24 pm

ooh, I wish I could have been at this party! so fun! I am like those young people you described– I love wine but I don’t know much about it! I just like what I like, I guess, which is mostly white wine, and don’t worry about complimentary pairings. and when trying new wines I am totally that person who chooses based on the label. pretty label means it must be good right? :)
of the wines you tried, I have only tasted the barefoot pinot grigio and the prosecco– though it was mixed with fruit juice! both are good. but my favorite wine is probably Ecco Domani Pinot Grigio. I like how it tastes and it is not too expensive. perfect! :)


katelin February 23, 2010 at 8:19 pm

oh my goodness your party looks heavenly. seriously two of my favorite things, wine and cheese! i am in love. and i see barefoot in there which is one of my favorite pinot grigios, then again i do enjoy pretty much all wine though.
so if california wine club needs any more people to try it out i will happily help them out :)


Jenn February 23, 2010 at 8:56 pm

Looks like so much fun! I’m very jealous of your guests.


Sarah Caron February 25, 2010 at 10:29 am

YUM! That looks like so much fun … Which wine was your fav overall?


Joie de vivre February 26, 2010 at 12:07 pm

Sigh, this looks like heaven. Seriously. I mean, I love my kids and being a mom, but sometimes I miss being able to dress up and have a party! You look gorgeous despite the wine stain :) There is a wine and cheese restaurant in town, perhaps I’ll just have to invite some friends and have the hubbies watch the kids. I think you’ve inspired me!


Chrissy February 28, 2010 at 11:24 am

This looks like so much fun! I’m a big wine fan myself and have been to several functions and tastings trying to learn more about it. A wine night at home with friends is definitely the best kind of party. Malbec is by far one of my favorites. I’m also a big fan of Viognier and I’ve been drinking a lot of Chilean Carmenere. I love your dress also, by the way. (And, really, who hasn’t spilled wine all over themselves and not noticed? I think we’ve all been there. ;-) )


SnowBird March 2, 2010 at 11:45 am

The food looks heavenly,looking forward to the prosciutto recipe. I bet it went well with Jam Jar, my new fav wine!


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