Black wines and spirits have exploded. The options to buy black when it comes to alcoholic beverages continue to grow. An at-home tasting allows you and your friends to gather, sip and support these brands from the comfort of your own house.
Sip and Support
Sure, going out is fun but it’s also a bit of a headache. Making reservations, finding parking, and dealing with the bill at the end of the night can suck the joy out of time spent with friends. Staying in can be a way to bring simplicity and ease back to socializing. Hosting a black-owned wine and spirits tasting is a great place to start. With so many options to choose from you can easily organize this event which will both educate and entertain.
The first step in hosting the event centered around Black wines and spirits is to decide what beverages to feature. We suggest tasting four wines. A combination of sparkling, white, and red will allow your guests to see the range available from black-owned producers. The amount of hard liquor tasted should be determined by your guest’s tolerance to alcohol. Anywhere between two to four brands should do the trick and remember to include both light and dark liquors.
Glassware is another party item to consider. Depending on the length of your guest list you’ll need plenty of glasses including white and red wine stemware as well as glasses to taste spirits. It may be best to choose affordable options in case someone accidentally breaks a glass as the liquor flows. Finally, have a variety of snacks on hand for guests to enjoy while they taste. Start the night with your friends eating a bit before the tasting starts then take a break between the switch from wines to spirits for another snack.
Although your tasting will have a relaxed and down-to-earth feel, don’t think of your at-home tasting as an excuse to dress down. Encourage your guests to put on their best to make the night feel special.
1McBride Sisters’ Sparkling Brut White Wine
This popular Black-owned, female-run brand is the brainchild of two sisters who didn’t meet until they were adults. Once they joined forces, the siblings took the wine world by storm creating a company that is carried in some of the biggest retailers in the country. This sparkling white wine is a popular choice for many who say it drinks well above its price point. It’s a blend of Chenin Blanc and Chardonnay. Both aromatic and refreshing, you’ll find notes of fresh fruit including pineapple, pear and melon. This is a great choice to start your tasting as it’s easy to drink and quite enjoyable.
2Brown Estate’s Betelgeuse Sauvignon Blanc
Brown Estate is one of the most well known black-owned producers of wine. It is the first and only black-owned estate winery in California’s Napa Valley. Their Betelgeuse (pronounced Beetlejuice) sauvignon blanc is beautiful to look at and a joy to taste. On the nose you’ll find red grapefruit, mandarin orange and guava. This white has a silky mouthfeel and a juicy elegant ripeness. It’s described as a great starter wine for those new to the world of wine. Brown Estate was started in 1995 by three siblings whose parents purchased an abandoned Napa Valley ranch in 1980. Since its inception, the company has seen many milestones, including a partnership with Delta Air Lines in 2019. The partnership featured the wines on the airline’s menus.
3Kumusha Cabernet Sauvignon & Cinsault
Kumusha is a great wine to make the transition from white to red. This producer may be a little trickier to find depending on your location but trust us, it’s worth it once you get your hands on a bottle of this Cabernet Sauvignon & Cinsault blend. In this wine you’ll taste ripe cherries and plums, a great compliment to red meats and slow cooked dishes. Kumusha was founded by Zimbabwean native Tinashe Nyumudoka who worked his way up from grocery store manager to wine steward of the world famous restaurant brand, Nobu. After eventually becoming a sommelier Nyumdoka and two friends decided to start Kumusha in 2017. The brand now grows a range of wines in South Africa that are exported to the United States, Zimbabwe, Kenya and the Netherlands.
4In Sheep’s Clothing
The striking image on the In Sheep’s Clothing bottle is the first of many interesting elements this rich Cabernet Sauvignon delivers. While it is a medium to full bodied wine, you’ll also find freshness in this bottle due to the balance of ripe fruit and acidity. This well-loved cab is the product of James Beard nominated sommelier and winemaker, Andre Hueston Mack. Mack left his desk job to pursue his passion for wine and has since seen much success. As for the curious name for this wine, it’s a nod to Denzel Washington’s character in the movie “Training Day” who said, “to protect the sheep, you’ve got to catch the wolf. And it takes a wolf to catch a wolf.”
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1Du Nord Vodka
This vodka is a nice place to start when switching from wines to hard liquors during your black-owned wine & spirits tasting. The handmade vodka is produced in Minnesota using sugar, the most abundant crop in the state. Every batch is made by hand in Du Nord’s Minneapolis distillery. The vodka is described as smooth, undeniably drinkable and infinitely mixable. Founder Chris Montana started Du Nord after quitting his day job to follow his passion. He now runs the business with his wife and the company has a major focus on community outreach following the murder of George Floyd in Montana’s hometown.
Anteel is the only Tequila brand operated by a black woman. The Reposado is made of a blend of agaves harvested at the height of their maturity, cooked for at least thirty-five hours then distilled twice. But it’s the whiskey casks used to rest the tequila that really imparts incredible depths of warm vanilla and toasted oak. Anteel is based in Detroit and has won several awards since its inception. Tequila is a highly regulated spirit. To build her brand Nyana Ferguson and her co-founders partnered with a distillery in Mexico. Ferguson describes the road to Anteel’s creation as rough but we definitely think it was worth it.
3Rye & Sons Whiskey
Sommelier and winemaker, Andre Hueston Mack, makes another appearance on our list, this time with his Rye & Sons Whiskey. With this spirit, you’ll find notes of orange zest, cane syrup and clove with a hint of eucalyptus that lead to a vivid palate of anise, roasted nectarine, salted caramel, and cinnamon. Mack takes a winemaker's approach to crafting Rye & Sons and focuses on the unique characteristics of each year’s barrels. Each batch is aged at least two years and sourced in Kentucky. The brand’s ethos is to offer approachable and affordable rye whisky. This one is great, rather you choose to sip it straight or mix it.
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