A Summer Wine Tasting Party

When 94 Wines approached me if I would like to try and review their wines, I instantly said yes. I spotted their stylish bottles a year ago, and had been curious about the wines ever since. But when they sent me a box with six bottles, I knew I had to call on more troops, or I would turn into an alcoholic. So last weekend I hosted a summer gathering for my friends with the objective to taste the wines and get their input. Naturally, being a real Martha Stewart, I did some food pairing too, and made it a real summer party. So together with 94 Wines I threw a real ‘high-wine party’ to showcase some easy and delicious ideas to entertain your family and friends this summer.

94 wines

About 94 Wines

94 Wines is a Dutch brand that uses grapes from Languedoc in France to produce their still wines. For their sparkling wines they use grapes from Veneto, Italy. The wines are contemporary and qualitative. The elegant bottles are elegant but also very straightforward. Each bottle clearly states what to expect, and has a number so you can easily remember your favourite wine. On the back you can read more about the wine, the ideal temperature, and what food to pair it with.


The party food and decor

If there’s one thing I can do, it’s throwing a party with good food and beautiful decorations. As a theme for the colour-scheme I was inspired by the Beverly Hills Hotel interior, with pink, stripes, and tropical palm print. I always use fresh flowers to add more colour. Showcasing the food is all about composition. Use different heights, and a variety of colours and shapes to present your food in an interesting way; e.g. I used pedestals, footed plates, and different shapes of dishes and bowls.

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Sparkling Rosé no.9 paired with crudité and garlic olives

We started with the sparkling rosé no. 9. This is an aperitif dry wine that is a fruity sparkling rosé with aromas of cherry and raspberry. It is fresh but has a lively finish. I paired this with crudité, which is so colourful and tasty, yet so easy to make: fill little jars or cups with hummus and pieces of cucmber, baby carrots, different colors of peppers, and celery.

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Rosé no. 5 paired with goatcheese and apple bruschetta

The rosé no.5 is a lovely clear pink dry rosé with hints of strawberry and cherry. It has a zesty freshness to it, but we also found it very soft and subtle.  It is made of Cinsault and Grenache noir grapes, and perfect as an aperitif or barbecue wine. I paired this fruity wine with homemade goat cheese and apple bruschettas topped with roasted walnuts, thyme, a drizzle of honey and an edible flower for a pop of colour.

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In-between amuse

Before moving on to the white wines, I treated my friends to an amuse spoon of green peas and mint mousse with smoked mackerel and apple blossom.

amuse peas with mackerel

White wine no. 50 paired with asparagus muffins

The dry white wine no. 50 comes in a crisp white bottle which states: ‘gracious, full, floral and exotic. This Viognier, crafted from low yielding vines is a round and fruity wine with aromas from peaches and pears. It has hints of lychee and apricot on the palette, making it the ultimate summer wine. I paired this wine with subtle flavoured asparagus muffins so the food wouldn’t be overbearing or draw away attention from the wine’s tropical aromas.

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White wine no. 2 paired with teriyaki chicken skewers

The no 2 dry white wine is a dry Chardonnay with tropical and citrus flavours and nutty notes on the palette. It’s fresh but also a bit sour. We were least impressed by this wine. I paired this wine with spicy chicken skewers and a homemade pineapple and chilly sauce.

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Red wine no. 8 paired with a baby spinach salad with chorizo, manchego cheese and sundried tomatoes

The red no 8, a Cabernet Sauvignon, was definitely our favourite wine. The bottle says it’s glorious, spicy and fruity. It’s full and fruity with blackberry aromas and vanilla tones. We loved it! On the bottle it says that it pairs well with barbecue and red meat. I paired this wine with a light salad of baby spinach, basil leaves, sun-dried tomatoes, manchego cheese, chorizo and a boiled egg. I kept the dressing simple: pomegranate vinegar, olive oil and some Italian dried herbs. I got the recipe of this salad from the book A year in cheese, a seasonal cheese cookbook

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Red wine no 52 paired with a cheese platter

Last but not least we had the red no. 52 that is rich, dark and spicy. This Cabernet Sauvignon with Merlot and Shiraz grapes, is full of berry flavours yet soft and subtle. A touch of spice and the sweetness of of fruit give it a long toasted finish. This wine pairs well with spicy cheeses and grilled or roasted meat. For the cheese platter I made use of the book ‘A year in cheese” that recommended an excellent combination of 5 cheeses that I slightly altered:

  • Perail de Cabasses; a soft raw sheep’s milk cheese that hails from the Grands Causses in Aveyron
  • Camembert; an earthy, rich soft cow’s cheese from Normandy
  • Fourme d’Ambert; a mild, blue-veined cow’s cheese from Auvergne
  • Barbers vintage Cheddar; a hard English, nutty and sweet cow’s cheese
  • Morbier; a half-hard cheese from the French Jura with washed rind with a creamy and strong spicy flavour

I also had some charcuterie, grapes, and figs jam and a chutney of onions and raspberries, that were a perfect match with the cheddar.

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The final verdict

We liked the red no. 8 best, followed by the no. 52 and the sparkling rosé no. 9. The food pairing turned out to be very significant to bring out the flavours and enjoy the wine better.

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