Credit: Instagram @theweeknd

It’s hard not to dream of days spent lounging around at a winery, or weaving in between vineyards, or even just sitting down at a restaurant while the waiter reads through the wine specials. Yes, it is even the little things that are missed nowadays. But rather than staying at home to mindlessly drink all weekend, we have a better idea and it involves tantalising your tastebuds.

For the occasion of Jacob’s Creek new and guilt-free instalment to its range – aptly titled Better By Half, the Pinot Grigio, Rosé and Brut Cuvee comes with half the calories and alcohol – we have brought on resident expert, Kristy Farrell, Wine Ambassador, Jacob’s Creek, to bring you a comprehensive guide to hosting a wine tasting at home.


step 1: How To Host

When organising a wine tasting there are a few obvious things you must have – wine, glasses, water and ideally some nibbles!

Anything more is nice to have but also depends on how long you have and how in depth you want the tasting to be.

Here are my top tips:
Theme it: Create a theme for your tasting, think about different varieties, styles or even producers from the same region. This will help create structure and make it more engaging for everyone in the tasting
Tasting mats: step your tasting up a notch and give your tasters a unique experience where they can see the wines placed on a tasting mat, with a fact or even have a section where they can write notes
Research: research about the wine, the region, winemaking process, the varietals that you are tasting. Provide unique insights, facts about your wine and tips for your guests to take away from the tasting and feel like they’ve learnt something!
Encourage feedback: empower people to talk about what they liked or didn’t like about a wine, what flavours stood out to them. The wonderful thing about wine is it is subjective. Everyone’s taste is different so what one person tastes can be completely different to the next.

Step 2: Recognising the notes

Wine Tasting tips:
Look – Did you know you can tell how old a wine is just by looking at it?
For white wines if the liquid is light and clear it will most likely be a young wine, however if it’s deep and yellow it will most likely be an older wine. When it comes to reds, if they have a slight terracotta colour to them, you can guess they are old. Ask yourself, what’s the colour of the wine? And how intense is the colour?
Smell – Have a smell of what’s in your glass, does it smell fruity or more savoury?
To increase the intensity of the aromas and make it easier to smell, give your wine a swirl. This will aerate it and release more aromas making it easier to identify flavour characters

Taste – Asses the different flavours and textures in your mouth. Is the wine sweet or sour? Is it smooth or grippy?
To help you increase your taste senses, draw air into your mouth and through the wine creating a slurping sound. This will intensify everything because to taste, we use both our senses of taste and smell
Think – This part comes down to personal preference.
Did you like the wine? What was your favourite thing about the wine? Remember everyone’s taste is different and you don’t need to be an expert!

Tips to best develop your tasting skills:
– Smell what’s in your fridge, fruit bowl and cupboard! It might seem strange but having a good memory bank of smells will allow you to call on these when smelling wine. Can’t remember what nutmeg or cloves smell like, practise can start in your spice cupboard!
– Cut up different fruits and put them in wine glasses. Smelling the aromas of these fruits in the glass helps to recognise them easier when smelling wine.

Step 3: Food PAirings

Brut Cuvee – Light salads with a lemon vignette. Why? The wine is light and crisp with hints of citrus. Pairing to a light salad allows for the dish not to take away from the wine, but to complement it. The citrus dressing will enhance the beautiful citrus flavours in the wine.

Pinot Grigio – Light seafood dishes. Why? The flavours of this wine are delicate much like those flavours with a light seafood dish such as a King George Whiting, serve this with a pear salad to enhance the pear characteristics in the wine.

Rosé – Rosé is good with just about anything, but pair this with a charcuterie board and some sunshine and you have a match made in heaven.

 Jacob’s Creek Better by Half is available now from Liquorland and First Choice for an RRP of $21.99.