Have you ever tasted a wine then read the wine notes on the bottle and thought hmmmm, I don’t taste or smell that at all? Or, have you been at a wine tasting heard the wine reps’ long list of descriptors and thought I obviously don’t know much about wine because all I smell is … wine? Then keep reading I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Wine tasting is relative and totally based on personal perception. What I taste as pear, you may perceive as green apple. What I perceive as tropical fruit may translate on your palate as mango and pineapple. Who is right? We both are. Taste, in all its forms is based on personal perception. To appreciate the power of your palate you must first become aware and respect your taste.
Become a Student
Pay attention to what you smell and taste in a wine then make a mental note or better yet, jot it down. Revisit wines and compare what flavors stand out as you re-taste. Make a habit of attentively smelling everything - coffee, fruit, flowers, etc … and make a mental note of what captures your attention. Learn to appreciate and savor the taste and smell of the foods you eat. As you become of student of taste you will begin to better recognize and describe what you taste. And that leads to trusting your palate.
Make Time to Taste
Drinking wine is what you do when you are just hanging out and enjoying the moment. Tasting wine is an exercise in attention, appreciation and thought. Attending wine tastings at your local wine shop is a great, cost effective way to experience the art of tasting wine. Chances are the wine tasting will offer some new and interesting wines allowing you to expand your tasting experience. Pay attention to the wine descriptors the wine rep shares and see how they fit with your own assessment. As you broaden your horizons you will develop “palate recall” and an understanding of what Chardonnay or Cabernet tastes like to you. As time goes by you will develop a recognition of the nuances and differences in wine and even be able to distinguish where they are made and by whom. You will become your own wine expert.
Remember it’s all Relative
As you gain confidence you will understand that its okay that what you taste, or smell may be different than the wine notes on the bottle. What matters most is knowing what you taste and what you like.
And always remember, whether the wine glass is half full or half empty, always fill it with quality wine. Happy Sipping, Yolanda Albergottie, Wine Education Coordinator, Chuck’s Fines Wines, Chagrin Falls, Ohio. 440.247.7534. Follow us on twitter @chucksfinewines.