7 Sure-Shot Ways to Develop Your Palate for Wine
Wine is an acquired taste and a challenging one at that. Developing a taste for wine is an art in itself. When you decide to take your love affair with wine to a deeper, more meaningful level, be prepared to commit yourself wholeheartedly. The results would be triumphant, for sure, but the most rewarding is the journey.
The relationship that you develop with wine on this path will enrich your being—your senses, the world and your perception of it, your feelings and how you connect with them, your creativity and your connection with yourself. Here is some time-tested advice that will help you in developing a lifelong taste for wine. Follow these 7 tips to patiently and consistently nurture your palate for the unmatchable experience of wine tasting.
Engage your senses
We taste not just with our mouth, which is even more true when it comes to savoring wine. If multiple senses are engaged, the experience of wine tasting is enhanced exponentially. Looking at wine, smelling it and tasting it—the whole process brings you to a new world particular to that wine. And that is when it starts to reveal itself to you, one layer at a time.
Test this theory by isolating the senses and tasting the same wine with one sense at a time. Blindfold yourself and ask someone to pour the wine for you. Try only smelling, and then move on to tasting. Observe how, if you do not smell the wine, the taste is restricted only to the texture.
Take it slow
Try and enjoy the journey of opening yourself to the world of wines, and even though you’re motivated by the challenge of a goal, make sure to reach there at your own pace. The holistic understanding of wine’s subtleties is developed over time, and with a lot of awareness.
Make wine a regular part of your life—remembering not to go overboard and relishing the process itself. Take it slow, be willing to experiment and you’ll soon find yourself making informed choices.
Learn and perfect the techniques
There is a way to swirl the wine that unlocks aromas and allows them to intermingle with oxygen.
When your hand movement and sense of smell work together, it leads you to the fine technique of swirling, ready to open the gates for you to enter a unique world.
Allowing a bit of air to enter along with your first sip is called a slurp. It lets the flavors burst out on your palate. Roll the wine in your mouth a bit longer and become aware of the nuances of its taste. Work on your aroma recognition skills. Smell different things that resonate to similar tastes, blindfolded. With your eyes closed, try to recognize them purely based on how they smell to you.
The dry texture of wines comes from tannins, the ability to spot which is a tough one to master. To be able to isolate the sensation of acidity in a wine or, more simply, to identify crisp from tart, you must focus on your salivation while tasting different citrus items.
Explore the finer points
Blind taste augments visualization, isolation and connection—the three aspects whose endless combinations help you in identifying the most unique aspect of a wine’s taste.
Compare two wines directly. Trying out two different wines or the same wine from different years will help enhance your understanding of the differences and similarities between them. Also, it is very important to break away from a taste once you are done identifying it. This works two ways—it lets you relish other types of wines with enthusiasm, and a little separation is usually healthy and prevents exhaustion of taste buds.
Make sure to take detailed notes and write them down for reference later to compare and understand your findings better.
Keep at it
Spend more time with wine and keep learning consistently. No single experience can match the work you put into developing your palate as regular practice. Visualize backdrops while savoring your wine and be with the feelings when you are at it. Identify the finer points with all your senses and work on making your instincts concrete.
If you cannot find time to taste wine every day, here are a few creative suggestions that can be followed.
Consider joining a wine club. Try an Italian wine club—they will send you a variety of wines on special offers on a regular basis. This will give you plenty of opportunity to learn about different wines, taste them, talk about them and share them with people around you. As a wine lover, this seems like an enviable win-win.
Spend some time weekly or monthly in the company of some great wines with great people in your life. Let it be a celebration which is based on awareness and mindfulness. Keep pressure out of the equation. Expand your selection by collecting samples from different regions/areas and create ways to have varied experiences with each one of them. Talk about them. Invite them into your life.
While tasting wines, your friends and family can help provide you with a range of different perceptions about their texture, flavors, and so on. Though this might sound like inviting chaos and confusion, if you’re patient and willing to learn in depth, it is a brilliant way to enhance your wine vocabulary and to be strongly rooted in your own honest understanding rather than going by what is widely accepted.
Don’t stress on memorization
In fact, do not stress on memorizing names and years of wines. Instead, be more focused on memorizing the experience that each wine created for you. Once an experience has taken a tangible space in your wine journey, it is a much deeper connection; all the informational facts related to it become a part of this reality on their own.
Remember, it takes time to develop an appreciation for wine, and once you do, it’s a love affair of a lifetime.