11 Amazing Wine Flight Ideas And How To Make Your Own
Wine tastings give all wine enthusiasts the opportunity to learn about their favorite wines. But a wine flight is even better. Wait, what? What is a wine flight? And how to organize one?
In this guide, you’ll find out what a wine flight is (if you don’t know it already) and discover 11 amazing ideas to organize your own wine flight party. Read on!
What Is A Wine Flight?
This fancy-sounding event is nothing but a comparative wine tasting. It’s called a wine flight for the same reason why a small group of geese is called a flight of geese. The name is probably given by the fact that this type of wine tasting compares two very similar wines.
Why would you do that? Because by drinking side-by-side an Italian Sauvignon and a French Sauvignon, you can note the slight differences of flavors and aromas that you wouldn’t have noticed otherwise. You’ll have a wine flight, therefore, only when comparing two apparently similar beverages.
This type of wine tasting is amazing because it gives you the possibility to learn even more about the nuances of your favorite drink. So, why not entertain your wine tasting group by organizing your own wine flight? Here are some ideas to inspire you.
11 Amazing Wine Flight Ideas
1. Merlot Vs. Cabernet Sauvignon
Many enthusiasts claim that there are huge differences between a Merlot and a Cabernet Sauvignon. In reality, these differences are more subtle than you could expect. These French wines have almost the same origin, quality, and taste, and those huge differences usually occur with wines sourced from different locations around the world.
For a successful wine flight, choose a Merlot and a Cabernet Sauvignon from the same region. Ideally, choose wines of about the same quality, produced in the same year and aged in the same way (either in barrels or in the bottle).
2. Warm Climate Vs. Cold Climate Pinot Noir
An awesome wine flight idea is comparing two wines produced in different regions from the same grape variety. For example, Pinot Noir.
Our idea is to compare warm climate with cold climate Pinot Noir. For this, you’ll need a Pinot Noir from a warm region, such as Italy or Spain, and one from a cold region, such as Alsace region in France. While you can choose any wine for this comparison, we suggest Pinot Noir because this grape variety is strongly influenced by the terrain and climate.Taste the two wines and compare the differences of flavors and aromas.
3. Champagne Vs. Prosecco
When it comes to sparkling wines, most people believe that Champagne is just a fancy name for Prosecco. It’s not. To compare these two wines, however, you need to source two high-quality wines produced in the right region.
As far as Champagne is involved, choose one produced in the Champagne region, in France. As for Prosecco, choose one produced in Veneto or Friuli Venezia Giulia region, in Italy. Either Champagne or Prosecco produced elsewhere are just not the right thing.
We suggest a comparative tasting between these wines because the vinification process is exactly the same. The difference is in the grapes, and you’ll be able to learn how the raw material can influence the flavors of sparkling wines and the texture of the bubbles.
4. Young Vs. Aged Port
Fortified wine is not so famous, but it’s still interesting to discover the profound differences between a young and an aged Port. For the best results, choose two Port wines from the same winery. In this way, you’ll know both wines were made from the same type of grapes grown in the same soil.
The comparative tasting will show you how a wine evolves in time, how it changes its body, enhances its flavors and enriches the bouquet.
5. Oaked Vs. Unoaked Chardonnay
We suggested Chardonnay because we like it, but you can choose any white you like for this comparative wine flight. Source the wine in the same winery but make sure to choose a wine that has been matured in an oak barrel, and one matured directly in the bottle.
You’ll learn how maturation in a barrel can enhance the flavors and aromas of a wine.
6. Shiraz Vs. Syrah
Two wines, two names, same grapes. So, what’s the difference? A Shiraz vs. Syrah wine flight will help you understand.
But to reveal a bit of the mystery, Shiraz wine is obtained from late harvested grapes. This makes the wine sweeter and gives it jam and blackberry notes. Syrah is harvested early, therefore the grapes maintain some of their herbaceous flavors. A comparative tasting can help you discover more about the differences between these two delicious wines.
7. French Vs. Argentinian Bordeaux Blend
If you want to add versatility to a wine flight, just make a comparison between Bordeaux Blend wines obtained in different regions of the world. Such as in France and in Argentina.
Both countries are famous for their wines, and both of them are famous for their Bordeaux blends. A Bordeaux blend wine can be either red or white, therefore you can even choose what type of wine to compare.
This wine tasting can help you understand the differences between wine blends in the various wine regions around the world, not only because of the terroir, but also because the proportions of wines, and even the blends, might change.
8. New World Vs. Old World Pinot Gris
Another great wine flight idea is comparing a wine produced in the old continent (i.e. in Europe) with one produced in the new world (i.e. in Americas or Oceania). We suggest Pinot Gris for the versatility of this wine, but you can choose whatever wine you like best.
This type of comparative tasting will teach you how the terroir influences the bouquet and flavors of the wine. To identify even greater differences, you could even choose a warm climate and a cool climate one. For example, you could compare a warm climate Pinot Gris from California with a cool climate Pinot Gris produced in northern Italy.
9. Sangiovese Vs. Petite Syrah
For this wine flight, it is essential to first understand the difference between Syrah and Petite Syrah, since they are not the same grapes. Once understood the difference, you’ll see how Petite Syrah is more similar to Sangiovese.
These wines are produced in different countries, and for the best comparative tasting, we suggest picking a Petite Syrah from France and an Italian Sangiovese. Despite the terroir differences, these wines are very similar. Nonetheless, the subtle changes of flavors and aromas will certainly surprise you.
10. Cold Climate Vs. Warm Climate Riesling
Another cold vs. warm climate wine flight, this time involving Riesling. This is the German wine by excellence, but the surprising characteristics made it popular all over the world. To compare the differences of Rieslings produced in different regions, choose one from Germany and one from Southern Italy.
This wine flight will teach you how the warmth of the climate and abundance of sun make this crisp and flavorful wine sweeter. The body of the wine changes too, while many other differences can also be noticed during the comparative tasting.
11. California Vs. Italian Zinfandel
Not many know, but Zinfandel is a type of grapes originated from Italy. On the old continent, these grapes are referred to as Primitivo, because this is one of the first grapes to harvest. Like you could expect, there are important differences to notice between a Californian Zinfandel and an Italian wine.
Even if both regions are renowned for their warm climate, the differences of the soil have a major impact on the bouquet and qualities of the wine.
How To Make Your Own Wine Flight?
The eleven ideas above should have inspired you to make your wine flight, but how to organize a comparative tasting? Obviously, choosing the wines is the first step.
It is essential to choose wines at about the same price point. This will ensure that both wines have about the same quality, guaranteeing the success of your wine tasting. It is also important to serve the wines in similar glasses and treat both wines in the exact same way before tasting.
In other words, if the wine needs decanting, make sure both wines are decanted for the same time and in the same type of container, to ensure a similar oxidation.
When the wines are prepared, pour each wine in a glass and place each glass on a wine flight sheet. The sheet should contain areas where you can note down your impressions, starting with color and viscosity, to bouquet, flavor, and permanence.
Taste the first wine and note all your impressions on the wine flight sheet. When you’re done, eat a piece of neutral cheese, such as Parmesan, drink some water, and proceed with tasting the second wine. Note down all your impressions without looking at what you’ve written for the first wine.
When you’re done, compare the two sides of the sheet and see which are the appearance, aromas and flavor differences between the wines in your flight.
Of course, you can make a larger wine flight by comparing more than two wines, but we wouldn’t recommend tasting more than 6 wines at a time. Now, all you have to do is invite your friends to learn about wines in a fun way! Happy wine flight!