From MOPs to Galentines: Virtual Wine Tasting Bonding Events



I have done two posts of pandemic safe dates, but I have, until now, ignored our relationships with our girlfriends. In the beginning we did the occasional happy hour and coffee dates. Then when it got warmer and a little safer we could sit on my porch and drink our Starbucks to connect. But now it’s freezing out and we’re looking for new ways to connect. I have found a great way to bond over wine. Read on about how I pulled it off.



For Galentine’s Day I invited some of my friends to do a virtual wine tasting with me. I picked two inexpensive wines, Kendall Jackson Vintner's Reserve Chardonnay and the Kendall Jackson Pinot Noir. Pat and I did a wine.com virtual tasting from their vault in order to prepare. I purchased the wine and broke it into 4 oz mason jars. I included brie, prosciutto, and apple for the Chardonnay. I had sharp cheddar, cured salami and dried figs for the Pinot Noir. I also had a white truffle and lemon bar for the white wine and a brownie and a dark chocolate truffle for the red wine. Each package was delivered to my friends.



It was a fun night. Everyone said so, and I think my friend’s learned a lot from the experience. I am not an expert but I do own a copy of Wine Folly so...lol. No, in all fairness if you’ve been reading my blog since the beginning you know I am an enthusiast and know a fair bit from countless virtual wine tastings, a class from a sommelier in Paris, and a private tour of three wineries in Champagne. But we shouldn’t actually overlook that copy of Wine Folly, or my big tasting journal, and my purse tasting journal. Yes I have one of those. Self education is a thing. Taking the time to taste, learn and grow. I have done that and have a lot to share.



My tasting with my friends went as well as I think it could. It had been particularly cold and people were desperate for contact and there was a lot of chatter but I think people genuinely liked learning about how to taste wine and learn about food pairings. The realization that brie can make a Chardonnay more buttery and the apple more citrus and acidic. Coming to understand that not all red wines go with classic tasting foods, red meat, or complex meals was new to most people.


Desserts are really where wines can shine. It was mixed how people felt about the Chardonnay with the lemon bar or the white chocolate truffle. Whereas most people equally liked the Pinot deserts and how the chocolate opened the wine for them. The white was good with whatever you ate with it. It changed with different foods but not overwhelmingly so. However, the Pinot Noir was clearly a dessert wine, the chocolate took flight when paired. My friends learned that not every white goes with pork and not every red with steak. But when it ended it went back to kids and husbands.



The MOPs tasting was a huge success, I think. While I think the strangers were less willing to chime in and say what they were tasting or smelling they seemed to follow the directions quite well and the chat box was quite activite. My friend Megan set this one up after having attended my Galentines event and she put together the same kits although we chose a different red wine. We went with the Las Rocas, spanish Granache. We used a saltier cheese, asiago, and a caramel truffle to bring out the salty and earthy nature of this wine. I provided Megan and her friends with this guide to the event. Feel free to take it and alter it as you need to.



It was really after the tasting concluded that I had the most fun with the MOPs group. Some had some really great questions, about all kinds of wine, parings and tastings. What my favorite wines were, where I learned all my information. They shared with me what they love that they can get locally and what local vineyards they liked and didn’t like. In other words, we got to talk wine. Exchange of thoughts brings learning and bonding. Several questions were asked of me to which I am going to provide answers in this post, and even if you didn’t attend either you may find it interesting.


Links to my blog posts on wine:

Types of Sparkling Wines

Bordeauxs and Napa Cabs

Champagne Dupes

Tasting with Steven Spurrier


Some of My Favorite Wines:

Champagne: Joseph Desruets Cuvee (6 bottle case for $255 that must be imported, so next best is Moet Imperial ($50))

Sparkling Wine: Ferrari Brut ($25)

Cabernet Sauvignon: Freemark Abbey Sycamore ($150)

Bordeaux: Château Mayne Vieil $11

Rose: Bougrier Rose ($13)

Chardonnay: Domaine Drouhin Vaudon Chablis ($25)

Local Wine: Hidden Hills Bently Reserve ($45)


Another great question I got asked about was on what occasions do I drink different occasions. For example my favorite dinner red is Freemark Abbey Napa Cab and my favorite dinner white is Domaine Drouhin Vaudon Chablis. My favorite pool or patio wine, to drink on a hot summer day, is Hampton Water Rose (it’s Bon Jovi’s wine but made in France). My favorite porch wine, to drink on a cool fall night, is Raymond Reserve Napa Cab. My favorite sparkling wine for Mimosas is Bisol Jeio.


I hope you found this useful and if you are interested in doing a virtual wine tasting please feel free to contact me at mandiesnotsosecretdiary@gmail.com and once again the link to my promotional code for wine.com.


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