When it comes to wine, we all have different tastes, thoughts, and preferences but there is one tool that we all have and use to make those decisions. It will help us decide what flavors we can find in a certain varietal, and more importantly, will guide us to what wine we enjoy. The Palate, defined by Webster’s dictionary as “a person's appreciation of taste and flavor, especially when sophisticated and discriminating”, is that tool. Whether you are a first-time wine drinker, or a seasoned veteran of wine tasting, this is what will ultimately make you decide whether you enjoy a wine, a winery and/or a winemaker’s style.
Some people are naturals at discerning different flavors in wine but for most of us it takes time and the most enjoyable part of learning about wine, practice. I like to think of the Palate as a muscle that needs to be worked out to grow. Now, unlike the gym, this muscle does not get bigger, but instead gets smarter. As you drink more wines, your palate will become more sophisticated as it has had more exposure to different types of varietals, winemaking and wine regions. As you exercise your Palate, you will start to hone in on what you like, and don’t like, which will help guide you to wineries and wines you will love.
I will end this with a challenge to those of you who want to exercise your Palate; go out and try a wine you have never had. Whether that is a varietal you have never had, a new winery you have never been to or a wine region you have never exposed yourself to. Sit back and enjoy a new wine, exercise your Palate and explore what you truly enjoy about wine.