My good friend Laura recently invited me to participate in an event hosted by The Houston Club, described as a “Murder Mystery Blind Wine Tasting,” and being the amazing friend I am, agreed to go because OF COURSE! Absolutely I would like to go to there!!!
This was on a weeknight, and since I work downtown, I took the easy 15 minute walk to the place next to the Four Seasons (that’s connected via sky-way, not to the Shops, but the other side, on top of a parking garage), the one you can get to if you’ve either been there before or you ask 25 people when you get to the super swank hotel your Google map leads you to. So, after a labyrinthian search through the Four Seasons, up an art deco-style elevator, over a sky bridge, into a parking garage, through more elevators and hallways, I found the Houston Club’s downtown, Caroline Street-location! Already I was a winner.
I was offered a glass of wine upon entering (delightful!), and chose to sit at the table (all of them were set for 8) closest to the buffet, because I am all about food AND wine. The buffet included a plethora of delights, mostly in miniature, as this was a classy affair. We were offered: crab cakes, little mushroom concoctions, fresh fruits, a variety of cheeses (all fancy), and a pleasantly large basket of breads.
The wine tasting/murder mystery portion of the evening was organized quite well. Narrated by one of the Houston Club’s “wine committee” members, she managed to get through a vague and harrowing tale about a group of people meeting together and having wine, in which all the characters were played by one gentleman who went through several off-stage costume changes. First he was a fancy guy with a scarf, then a Cowboy, then a (French?) doctor, and finally the grim reaper. (Forgive the lack of photos, there was wine to be imbibed and lots of intermittent laughter.)
Along with the resident committee members, we were fortunate enough to have a sommelier from Spec’s named Danny Mazzei to give us hints about the origins of each wine, describe their various flavors, and entertain everyone with his charming accent and adorable mustache.
At each place setting was a “wine tasting place mat” that identified the wine glasses by number, and a card for ranking and identification. As we went through the murder mystery storyline, we would try one of the wines, have their flavors and subtleties explained by Mr. Mazzei, and then make an effort to identify where they came from and what type of wine/grapes (Merlot, Cabernet, chardonnay, etc.) created that particular wine.
By the end of the evening, Laura and I were in extremely high spirits, as were our table-mates, as well as the “performers.” We each did pretty poorly in terms of guessing, and failed our “ranking” sheets at 25% each.
However, the four wines we tried were tasty and the times we had were good.
Oh, and just in case you were wondering, the butler was the murderer. (Quote the Narrator: “Of course it was the hired help.” Don’t you just love fancy, exclusive clubs?!)
This was an hilarious new experience, and I am absolutely inspired to plan a party based on this murder mystery/wine tasting theme! The party prep could be completely simple, with little to no decor, OR it could serve as a Halloween themed get together, or for a weeknight party anytime! Also, The Houston Club is hosting a sparkling wine tasting next month, so look forward to hearing about that soon. Yay wine!
Have you ever been to/hosted a “murder mystery wine tasting?” If so, how did you organize and/or theme it? If not, would you, and please share your ideas!