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View Full Version : Jancis Robinson on "Cellar Palate"



Oskaar
10-28-2007, 05:16 PM
Great article on keeping your palate from becoming too accustomed to one style of wine (this applies to mead, beer, etc as well.

See here (http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/10/26/WIKQSJJQC.DTL&hw=wine&sn=001&sc=1000) for the article.

Cheers,

Oskaar

wayneb
10-28-2007, 05:46 PM
So to keep my palate tuned up I've got to drink several different meads, several different wines, and several different beers, not only from different makers, but from different parts of the world, every week. Ahh, life can be so tough sometimes.... ;)

akueck
10-28-2007, 06:03 PM
It sounds like you'd have to taste all sorts of different wines etc every time you wanted to evaluate anything, because your palate adapts so quickly. So, when I go tasting in Napa/Sonoma, should I bring a few bottles of French wine with me to cleanse my palate? Boy would I look weird! :tard:

I do continually ask myself if I've adapted too much to my own beer, for example. I know that every time I drink a lager (which is rarely), it takes me about 1/4 of the bottle before I get over the "weird lager flavor" which I know is totally normal but still tastes funny.

Oskaar
10-28-2007, 06:16 PM
Yeah, for me it's Zinfandel. But I make it a point to go to at least two tastings a week that feature different varietals from different areas (Old and New World Wines) in flights of 20 or so. I think that variation really helps to keep one's palate sharp and flexible.

Cheers,

Oskaar

storm1969
10-28-2007, 08:22 PM
Yeah, for me it's Zinfandel. But I make it a point to go to at least two tastings a week that feature different varietals from different areas (Old and New World Wines) in flights of 20 or so. I think that variation really helps to keep one's palate sharp and flexible.




Two a week, Oskaar? Wow, I must be really out of it. I just alternate my bottles with others, And go on as many wine tasting trips as possible!

Oskaar
10-28-2007, 10:06 PM
Generally critics and professional tasters run through a good 90 or more from what I understand. I could squeeze in more but I generally hit Thursday and Saturday for wines, Friday night for beers (we run through the BJCP style guidelines and mock-judge...sometimes we mock the beer too...other times we mock each other...after many beers).

I've found some incredible reds from Spain lately and some French varietals (Cab Sauv, Cab Franc, etc.) that are being grown in Spain and produced like Bordeauxs. Great stuff, plus the Super Tuscans that are really stellar as well.

Cheers,

Oskaar

storm1969
10-28-2007, 10:43 PM
Actually i understand that....

I write tasting notes for our local sci-fi club. I drink a good bit of wine, from a lot of styles. I just don't get to a lot of decent 20 wine tastings. Don't have quite the wine scene in Baltimore as you do out there. (Plus I just don't have the time for more than one or two a month).

I go to a good number of distributors tastings (as my cousin owns a liquor store, and gets invited to just about them all). They irritate me a bit because of the "hard sell" factor, but I do get to taste a good number of $80+ bottles that I wouldn't otherwise.

I do like the big reds from Spain. The super tuscans are good, but I think they are, in general, way to expensive.

akueck
10-29-2007, 12:30 AM
Ok, new new goal in life: visit SoCal Thursdays through Saturdays and stalk, erm, visit Oskaar. Heck, if I go to work early enough I could just day trip it each evening (it's only half the state away). I'm sure my wife won't mind. ;D I'll bring pretzels.

Oskaar
10-29-2007, 12:49 AM
LOL, well right now life is pretty mundane for me (lots of reading for my wine class) but the tastings are certainly a highlight!

Cheers,

Oskaar

Angus
10-29-2007, 08:39 AM
One of my greatest fears is that I do not have that kind of palate that can discern between types of wine/beer etc. Add onto that an inability to detect those subtle flavors that make one wine/beer variety better than a competitor's (e.g. "the rosehip in the mid blended beautifully into the vanilla/caramel/clove....."). The most I seem to be able to do is say is "that one tasted fruity and good!" Am I lacking in taste buds? Am I so numbed to certain flavors that I am not able to detect them?

Because of this, I seem to be following the article's advice for a different reason. I am always trying new beer styles and new breweries in an attempt to educate the palate. As for wines, I am only recently beginning to enjoy them and am still favoring the sweeter fruitier ones, but am learning more as I explore. So rather than changing what I drink regularly to avoid becoming accustomed to a style, I am doing it to expand my appreciation of the styles.

I still sometimes wonder what the hell people are talking about when they point out that the "Honeysuckle blossoms were in bloom when that wine was bottled." Can that really be detected? It tasted like wine to me.

Angus

Pewter_of_Deodar
10-29-2007, 10:04 AM
Angus,

I am in the same position as you. My palate only has a first grade edukashun and I feel inept when it comes to describing what I have tasted. BUT in a lot of cases there is no need for the real exacting and precise descriptions. Whether it was good or not, whether it tasted the way you thought it should or not, a few of those sorts of things are adequate...

That said, I still want to educate myself to get better at deciphering what I am tasting, but I don't have the time or resources for two tastings a week (some guys have all the luck...). But it seems like there is a lot to be said for trying... :cheers: :drunken_smilie: :tongue3:

wildaho
10-29-2007, 06:17 PM
There is definitely a process involved in training your palate. Try sitting down with a list of flavor descriptors in front of you the next time you are sipping on something new. It's surprising how they will sometimes jump out at you with a little practice. And try it the other way around too! Eat an apple or something and then think back to beverages you've had in the past that remind you of that apple.

Leonora
10-29-2007, 07:06 PM
I was lucky enough to join a BJCP class this summer. I learned a ton! I highly recommend it.

Our brew club got together and taught ourselves. There is really good info at the bjcp web site about how to do a class. We drank 7 to 15 beers a session. I am not a beer fan, but I learned how to appreciate it. As well it taught me a lot about how my palate stacks up against others. There were certainly some flavors that I was better at detecting than the others in my class. And some worse.

I am awed and overwhelmed with the idea of going to several wine tastings with flights of 20 or so a week. Yikes. But I should poke around to see if there are any in the area that I could go to. Good idea!

I also am volunteering to judge for various BJCP certified events in the area. That's a great way to learn more about your palate. I learn so much when I taste and listen to other folks who know way more than I do discuss what I am tasting.

Thanks for sharing the article!

Leonora

Rhianni
10-30-2007, 08:49 AM
It makes sense that you have to be trained on this sort of thing. I certainly have a fear that I dont taste "cherry with hints of nut and vanilla" when I drink a red :(

Oskaar
10-30-2007, 06:00 PM
Well, I don't think anyone should fear to not taste something in a wine. Especially since palates can vary so widely. It's more important be able to identify the flavors, characters and aromas that matter to YOU. Everything else is really academic. Yes, it's good to be able to identify characters, aromas, nuances and such for other people to give them a sense of what you may taste, smell and have as an overall sense of the wine, but they will inevitably find their own new and exciting flavors and aromas that will pull them in. So in the long run, just take the time to appreciate what you're drinking and make some general notes. Them, come back to your notes a month later with another bottle of the same and write more notes without looking at your previous notes. You may be surprised what you find.

Cheers,

Oskaar