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Training palate - suggestions?

Posted: January 20th, 2020, 7:09 pm
by HoosJustinG
I drink mostly reds - I'm sure I'll get into whites at some point - but within the realm of reds, I can just about always differentiate flavors of red fruits, black fruits, earthiness, funk/barnyard and technical aspects like tannins, acidity (maybe not the difference between "medium plus" and "high" ... but generally if they're near the top or the bottom of the spectrum) and can usually pick up on the trail of oak aging.

But within those realms, I'm not usually able to differentiate strawberry vs rasberry ... black cherry vs blackberry ... french oak vs american oak ... etc. Any suggestions on how to start developing more?

Re: Training palate - suggestions?

Posted: January 21st, 2020, 5:20 am
by Kevin Porter
I learned a lot reading "How to taste" by Jancis Robinson. Kevin Zraly's "Windows on the World Complete Wine Course" seems well-liked as well, though I haven't read it.

Re: Training palate - suggestions?

Posted: January 21st, 2020, 9:49 am
by Chris Blum
Great Wine Made Simple is another good one, but the short answer is to drink wine

Re: Training palate - suggestions?

Posted: January 22nd, 2020, 11:51 am
by Anton D
And one quick and easy thing...

Print up a "wine flavor wheel" and peruse it with each wine you are checking out...seeing the vocabulary can help identify the experience.

(I call it the Chomsky Method.)

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Re: Training palate - suggestions?

Posted: July 30th, 2020, 6:15 pm
by A G Aguirre
HoosJustinG wrote:
January 20th, 2020, 7:09 pm
I drink mostly reds - I'm sure I'll get into whites at some point - but within the realm of reds, I can just about always differentiate flavors of red fruits, black fruits, earthiness, funk/barnyard and technical aspects like tannins, acidity (maybe not the difference between "medium plus" and "high" ... but generally if they're near the top or the bottom of the spectrum) and can usually pick up on the trail of oak aging.

But within those realms, I'm not usually able to differentiate strawberry vs rasberry ... black cherry vs blackberry ... french oak vs american oak ... etc. Any suggestions on how to start developing more?
In my opinion the best way to learn to differentiate the characteristics of wine is by tasting a lot of classic wines side by side. I mostly do that via structured blind tasting, but you can also do it by just having a couple classic styles, non blind, side by side (maybe leveraging a Coravin.) Have a Rioja vs left bank Bordeaux to start differentiating French and American oak. Have a couple styles of Pinot that are know for showing red and black fruit respectively. Have some Alsatian Riesling vs Alsatian Gewurz vs Alsatian Pinot Gris to understand florality, acid, alcohol, phenol, different fruit profiles. And do that all with a handy reference like those above have mentioned. I liked doing it with CMS tasting grid at first. While that’s a reductive way of assessing wine, it also prompts you to think about things more rigorously and consistently. The possibilities are nearly endless and that’s what’s amazing about wine.