Well, a week into our unofficial quarantine, we finally caved… We opened up our Manzanos 2008 about five years earlier than we had intended.

It was a happy accident.

More on that in a moment... But first, if you had to use the word “cuvée” in a sentence, could you? What about “meritage”? Or “cru”? This week, resident winemaker Julien Miquel gives us a very-much-needed lesson in “wine snob vocab”...

Can you talk like a sommelier? (continued)

“This is a 2008?” asked C. “I expected a thicker texture... more plum.”

“There’s no malbec in this wine. It’s a Rioja,” we explained.

Malbecs – like Brunellos and Barolos – tend towards a pleasant plum and a rich mouthfeel as they age.

But the Gran Reservas of Rioja are built to lie eight years in dark, moldy cellars. Thus, the 2008 still tastes shockingly fresh and delicate today. Waiting five years might well have turned out to be a mistake.

We received even more good news when Diego informed us that our collection of wines from Australia and New Zealand has arrived on site in California.

Barry nearly died trying to get these wines... so they better be good! More on that next week.

The big news this week is two-fold:

First, we have some helpful tips (prepared by our newest team member, Lucy) for how to put on a virtual tasting with your friends and family...

Second, we’re announcing the Member Referral Program. As a Bonner Private Wine Partnership member, you can invite your family and close friends to join us. You’ll receive a $50 credit towards your next purchase. And your invitee will receive $50 OFF his or her first shipment from the Partnership. If you’re interested in taking part, just click here.

And now, here’s Lucy with some timely tips on how to host a virtual tasting with your friends...

Find Your Platform: Setting up a virtual tasting with friends and family is surprisingly easy. First, you need to choose a platform to “host” the tasting. Good options include Skype, Houseparty, or FaceTime. (Don’t see an option you like? Click here.) Work out your guestlist ahead of time. Some platforms may fit your group better than others. For example, Facetime is only available to Apple users, but can support up to 32 people on a call. Skype can be used on most devices and can handle up to 50 callers. Houseparty works across platforms but has a limit of 8 callers.

Treat it Like a Real Party: Have a designated host who keeps track of RSVPs and decides the wines for the evening. Attending an online party for the first time can feel strange, so it helps to have someone “in charge” to keep things rolling. It’s best to keep your guestlist small, because having too many people on the screen can become chaotic. 

Agree on Your Wines: See if you can all get bottles from the same region to compare. Or pick a $5 bottle and a $40 bottle from your local shop and see if you can tell the difference. Try something new, something you would never normally buy. Survey your guests for their favorite wines and pick the two most interesting ones to taste as a group.

Meet Other Wine Partnership Members: Would you be interested in meeting new wine-tasting friends? We’ve been debating starting a Facebook Group so our members can compare notes and get to know one another. If you’re interested, click here to let us know...

Use Our Referral Program to Invite Your Friends: Want to enjoy Partnership wines with your close friends and family members? Invite them to join us! We are introducing a referral program so you can share our wines even while practicing safe social distancing! When you invite a friend or family member, you get a $50 credit off your next purchase… and they get $50 OFF their first shipment from us. Click here to learn more...

Keep it Structured: Having a lot of people in a digital hangout can mean a LOT of people talking at once. Keep your wine tasting structured so that everyone can both speak and be heard. For example, have one person lead the tasting, while other tasters take turns to share their impressions of each wine. 

Get Your Vocabulary Straight: The tasting will be more fun if you’re all working with the same basic knowledge. A helpful resource on tasting vocabulary is this week’s video from our resident expert, Julien. You can watch that either in the video above.

That’s all for this week... Next week, we’ll take a little trip down under...

Until then,

The Wine Explorer

Bonner Private Wine Partnership