Here's how to host a Duplin Cotton Candy Wine tasting

When it feels like the world is about to come crashing down, hanging with friends who make you laugh is the best way to unwind. This is not time for stuffy wines. Quirky sips like Duplin Cotton Candy wines make-at-home or virtual wine tastings more fun.

Duplin Cotton Candy Lime, Peach, Blueberry and Original wines in the Cotton Candy Wine Tasting Kit lets you do a completely different kind of at-home or virtual wine tasting, no pinky raising required. Here's how:

Pick a platform

If you're planning an at-home tasting, keep in mind that the kit's four bottles will each provide about 12 two-ounce tasting pours. If you do a tasting for four people, including yourself, everyone will get a tasting and about a three-ounce glass of each wine afterward. Having one or two extra bottles lets everyone sample more of their favorites and try blending the wines. For virtual tastings, send an e-vite with a link to the kit a few weeks in advance so that everyone has time to order.

Choose a theme

Do a pink party decorated with fluffy-looking flowers like pink carnations, gerbera daisies and periwinkle hydrangeas that mimic cotton candy. A state fair party could include carnival foods like nachos, mini funnel cakes, kettle corn and, of course, cotton candy. The kit already includes honey roasted peanuts, pimento cheese popcorn and cotton candy taffy.

Plan an after-tasting party

This is a great time to try the wines in one of many Cotton Candy cocktail recipes like our riffs on sangria, cosmos, margaritas and more. You could even turn this tasting kit into a Cotton Candy wine cocktail tasting party.

Meet the bartenders  

If you still need to purchase the Cotton Candy Wine Tasting Kit, do it now. If you have the kit, use the wine tasting scorecard that's included. Print extra copies for guests or share the QR code on the scorecard so they can download their own. Then just follow along with the video above as Duplin bartenders guide you through each wine. Scroll down this blog post to find more tasting notes.  

How to taste wine like a Duplin pro

See. Swirl. Sniff. Sip. Savor. Use this 5-step system for each wine on the tasting sheet included in your kit. Here's how. 

See: First, hold a glass of wine up to a light and look at the color. It will allude to the variety of grapes used and what the wine will taste like. Is it Scuppernong? Nobel? Carlos? Another? Color also indicates flavor. A bright, saturated hue often means a more intense flavor. See if you can guess the grape and flavor before you sip.

Swirl: Consider the wine's body next. Swirl the wine in your glass to determine if it is light or heavy. You're looking for the viscous streaks running down the side of the glass after you swirl. They're called "legs." Sweeter wines will leave streaks to cling or move slowly. That means a heavier body.

Sniff: After you swirl, really dip your nose into the glass and inhale the aroma, which wine pros call the "bouquet" or "nose." Pausing to experience the bouquet heightens your senses and anticipation of the first sip. Think about what you are smelling. Is it fruity? What kind of fruit? Berries? Ripe banana? Musky honeydew melon? Pure grape? Are you getting floral notes like honeysuckle or gardenia? See if you pick up unexpected smells like pine or fall leaves. Describe the bouquet and discuss it.  

Sip: Take a sip slightly larger than normal and hold the wine in your mouth for 3-5 seconds. Let the wine coat the tongue and the inside of your mouth. Wine releases more flavors as it warms on your taste buds. Before swallowing, purse your lips and breathe in gently, allowing the air to travel across the wine in your mouth to get the full flavor profile.

Do the flavors you're experiencing match the wine's nose? When and where are you tasting those flavors? Are you getting, say, banana bread on the first sip and then astringency or acidity at the end, which is called "the finish." Where do flavors hit you? On the tongue? On the side of your mouth.

Think back to the wine's body. Compare the texture of different wines, how they feel in your mouth. Light as water or heavier, like the texture of sweet iced tea? If you're sampling a sparkling wine, do the bubbles feel fine or medium in size. Compare your experience to the wine's description and see if it matches.

Savor: As you continue sipping, note how the sensation is slightly different from what you experienced when the wine was resting in your mouth on the first sip. This is the point when you taste and feel the wine's finish. As you continue tasting, note how the wine pairs with the Duplin Gourmet crackers and Muscadine Pineapple Habenero dip. See which wine you like best with those snacks and others you may be enjoying during your at-home or virtual tasting. Cheers!

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Cotton Candy Mini Wine TastingCotton Candy Mini Wine Tasting

Cotton Candy Mini Wine Tasting

Cotton Candy Mini Wine TastingCotton Candy Mini Wine Tasting

Cotton Candy Mini Tasting Sheet

Original Cotton CandyOriginal Cotton Candy

Original Cotton Candy

Vanilla berry sweetness takes you back to giggles on the Tilt-a-Whirl. Sip Cotton Candy Original with salty snacks, Buffalo wings, bacon-wrapped hot dogs or mounds of nachos. Whip up Cotton Candy Margaritas or try a wine slushie version of a Cotton Candy Cosmo.

Peach Cotton CandyPeach Cotton Candy

Peach Cotton Candy

Cotton candy plus peach is finer than sugar on a funnel cake. Fruity notes of peach and vanilla pirouette smoothly around sweet berries. Make Cotton Candy Peach ice cubes to float in a glass of this delectable wine. Barbecue night is better with a cold glass of half Cotton Candy Peach and half sweet iced tea, plus a little ginger. Try a beautifully layered Cotton Candy Peach & Blueberry Wine Slushie made with frozen peaches and blueberries.

Blueberry Cotton CandyBlueberry Cotton Candy

Blueberry Cotton Candy

A burst of bright, blueberry sweetness and a hint of soft vanilla in red wine like no other. Pair it with grilled cheese sandwiches, candied pecans or Duplin's famous cheesecake. For taco night, stir together with a pitcher full of Cotton Candy Blueberry Sangria spiked with spiced rum and berry liqueur.

Lime Cotton CandyLime Cotton Candy

Lime Cotton Candy

Be the center of attention when you bring Cotton Candy Lime Jell-O shots for Super Bowl Sunday. Citrusy, sweet-tart flavors rise through berries and spun vanilla for a truly unique wine. Refreshing on the rocks, Cotton Candy Lime is the go-to with chips, grilled or fried seafood, crisp salads or a big platter of french fries. Add sparkling lemonade, white rum, fresh mint and plenty of ice to Cotton Candy Lime for a tasty twist on the classic mojito.

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