For many decades wine experts have been able to discern the differences between all types of vintages and overall qualities of wine. It may seem to the untrained observer that much of their skill comes from their own personal background and selected tastes in wine. However, the truth is that true wine experts have trained their palates so that they can successfully tell the difference between various grades of wine.
Just like developing a taste for particular foods, clothes, vehicles, and the like, wine experts must train their palate properly in order to properly tell the difference between different grades, tastes, and qualities of wine. While personal preferences play a role, for the most part the palates of wine experts are remarkably similar and very well trained.
Understanding the Palate
The first method used in the training of the palate for the wine expert starts by understanding what it all entails. The palate is not just about taste alone, but the smell, visual splendor, and the actual sensation that is felt when sipping the wine. This is because the palate involves four of the five senses;
The intensity of the color combined with whether the wine is bubbly or still is an important visual clue. The nose actually conveys much of the overall taste which is very important in savoring a wine. The actual taste discerns the salty, bitter, sweet, or sour aspects of the wine while the actual tactile sensation of temperature, fizz, astringency, and consistency play very important roles.
Incorporating Personal Experience
Once the parameters have been set, the wine expert must identify the personal experiences of the foods and beverages they enjoyed when growing up. From drinking milk to soda pop and then to cocktails, the palate has experienced all types of sensations from creamy to sweet to different temperatures, fizz, and even the inherent heat from alcohol. The wine expert will note and identify each of these sensations that have been brought about by upbringing and the local culture.
Here, the training process starts by tasting high quality wines and comparing them to the lower quality ones. That way, the wine expert will be able to incorporate the differences when tasting new wines.
Step by Step Processing
This will consist of properly cleansing the palate with water so that no lingering taste remains in the mouth. A small glass of wine is poured and each of the senses is exposed individually. First, the wine is viewed for color and bubbles followed by the smell in order to give a proper review.
At that point, the wine is then sipped and swished all along the tongue so that the taste buds can get a full account of the taste, consistency, texture, and sensation of the wine that is being judged. Such a process may last for several seconds in order for the wine to be fully appreciated before it is spit out. While on occasion the wine may be consumed, it may happen on the last sample so that the effects of the alcohol have no bearing on the faculties of the wine expert.
Overall, wine experts use a relatively simple method to identify their own tastes and then properly train their palates to enjoy all types of wine.