Host A Bordeaux Vertical Wine Tasting

I’m taking you to the gorgeous Bordeaux region in France on our Notes from the Road next week, but in the meantime you can host a Bordeaux vertical wine tasting for friends and enjoy an easy, delightful evening. I’m sharing all the HOW TO’s!

Bordeaux châteaux often host vertical wine tastings, a rare opportunity to see the development of a certain wine over time. The vertical tasting is the most classic tasting of Bordeaux wines, it compares a single kind of wine from the same maker from at least three different years {vintages.} It’s a fun way to entertain this fall, fairly easy too! Here are my tips for you to Host A Bordeaux Vertical Wine Tasting.


Host a wine tasting




A vertical tasting compares a number of wines from a single chateau or estate producer, where all the wines were produced under the same label but come from different years. You will buy wine from the same winery, the same kind, but from three different years. For example, you might choose a Bordeaux from the same winery from 2015, 2011, and 2005. I suggest you shop at a local wine store, they will be able to help you figure out what to get for your tasting party.

Host A Bordeaux Vertical Wine Tasting

It’s really fun and sometimes amazing to see how the wine differs from year to year. There are so many factors in what makes wine taste a certain way, the vineyard soil conditions, the weather patterns, new techniques the winery puts in place, and complications etc. You also can start to appreciate how wine ages and why older bottles of Bordeaux are so much more expensive.

Bring Home French Bistro Style




This is the fun part! You can do this with your best friends, your love, or with one or two other couples. If you have fun doing a vertical tasting,  you could even make this a monthly dinner time event, taking turns hosting with friends.

Bring Home French Bistro Style




  1. Choose a Bordeaux château’ producer and buy 3 to 4 different vintages {years produced} of the same wine.
  2. Visit the château’s website and download the fact sheet about each vintage, which includes the winemakers notes about the vintage.
  3. Use one glass per wine for each guest. If you are including 3 vintages in your vertical tasting, you’ll want to have 3 glasses clean and ready for each guest.
  4. For the tasting, start with the youngest vintage, and thoughtfully taste the wine.
  5. Talk about each wine with your guests. Flavors? Likes or dislikes?


This is where you talk about the wine, and look at the fact sheet you printed off the wine maker’s website. Honestly, I began drinking wine not knowing anything, and still really don’t! But I am getting to know more about “the nose” {how it smells} How it tastes {raspberry, cherry, woody, etc.}, the tannins, how it feels. There are lots of people who know a lot about wine, and lots of people who just drink and love it. {like me.} This isn’t a test, it’s just a bit of fun….but I have learned some things during a vertical tasting while having a blast.

After the first glass, repeat step 4 for every other wine.  In the meantime, you can serve up a delicious Bordeaux inspired charcuterie board.




A charcuterie board is the favored staple of Bordeaux wine bars. A wooden board filled with cheeses, cured meats, nuts, crusty slices of French baguettes, little pearl onions and tiny cornichon pickles, sometimes fresh vegetables and or fruits, with spreads. The Bordelaise {people who live in Bordeaux} enjoy the charcuterie boards as an apéro {appetizers} with wineglass in hand on the terraces of Bordeaux’s many wine bars.

I suggest you create your own Bordeaux-inspired charcuterie board for your tasting evening. If you make it big enough, you may not even have to serve dinner!

Host A Bordeaux Vertical Wine Tasting

I often use several smaller boards for an evening of entertaining like this.  That way I can create smaller “moments” and group things with the cheeses I think they will taste the most delicious with. It also means that we can move the boards around should we want to gravitate to the fireplace or into the kitchen.

French antique cheese board

If you DO want to serve dinner, make it an easy one! Here at home, I’ve made a favorite soup served with French bread and a fresh green salad and called it done. {I’ve never had complaints about hunger or dissatisfied customers, ever! }


Host A Bordeaux Vertical Wine Tasting

Set your table French Country style with an antique French linen cloth, and these beautiful linen napkins, Bon Appetit towels, and simple dishes. The linen napkins and serving towels have a feel that you just can’t get with synthetics and they look better the more you wash them! I always like to incorporate some natural elements on every table, and really, aside from an antique ironstone bowl filled with harvest apples {which make the perfect edible centerpiece!} a few branches of greenery is all your table needs.

Host A Bordeaux Vertical Wine Tasting

Serving the salad in an antique ironstone bowl keeps right in style with this very casual cream, black and white color scheme.  It’s an inspired idea to gift each guest a favorite bottle of wine from the same winery as the ones you’ve tasted to take home after a wonderful evening, wrapped in this stunning embroidered wine bag.

Host A Bordeaux Vertical Wine Tasting

Theres nothing like gathering friends and creating a memorable evening for them! Making a little extra effort always makes the night feel more special. I hope you try this! It’s a fun way to entertain, and is something different!


I’ve added some links for your convenience so that you can add an authentic touch of France to your next wine gathering!

Tap to SHOP

vitner's wine cork screw
french wine pitcher
Antique large French wine carrier
wine tags
bordeaux florals
french wine serving basket
aged vitner's French signs
wine gift bag
antique sterling wine coaster
antique French bottle carrier

bon appetit linen towel

sterling wine funnel
antique french chop board

I hope you give this fun and easy idea a try! It’s a great way to entertain this autumn season.




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8 thoughts on “Host A Bordeaux Vertical Wine Tasting”

  1. Interesting to find this article this morning. Went to a wine class last evening So now I’m a pro! Ha Ha! Did learn one thing from them that is different from your article. They suggested to not have cheese when tasting wine, the fat coats your tongue so that the true taste of the wine is dulled. Save the cheese for after the tasting!

    1. Janet, that makes total sense. How fun to take a wine class! I’m not quite that serious, and since we’re talking about a full glass of wine here instead of the small amounts “true” wine tastings have, I checked with my Bourdeaux wine expert friend and he said that he serves the cheese board when people just do three wines in fuller glasses. 🙂

  2. Alice Genzlinger

    This is an ideal way to get people to start conversations. All of your suggestions would be a great way also to bring people together. . The charcuterie boards paired with the different cheeses nuts and fruits for the different wines will be used I’m sure. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Alice, I agree, any time to gather people and get the conversation started is a good time!

  3. We talked about it at the class. Was told that wines such as caymus add things such as chemicals and dyes so that every year tastes the same…ugh. I think 3-4 different years of of a Boudreaux winery would be so fun. I love wine and cheese. Or a full chacuterie board! But I do understand what I was told about cheese and tasting. ! I also got to go to a charcuterie board class! Both classes were fun and enlightening! Not a pro but always ready to learn!

  4. Janet, it’s why we always do research on how wine is made. And a good wine shop owner should know too, which wines have additives ( which give you headaches!) and which do not. It sound like you are having a whole lot of fun over there!!

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