Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Terrace View - What Type of Palate Do You Have?

If tasting wine can be compared to other areas of culture and sensory pleasure then perhaps an appreciation of art and music is most apt. Over time one's taste changes, especially as one becomes more interested and more knowledgeable about the subject.

We see this all the time with customers, wine is a journey and different people are at different places along the way. The length and the speed of the journey may differ but frequently the destinations are the same. The simple question for most customers is, "What type of palate do you have?", or more to the point, "Where is your palate?"

At first, many people are into wines that are big and full, delivering an impressive and showy burst of fruit and lingering vanilla oak. Even though people say that they like "nice, dry wines", the truth is that most of the wines in this style aren't that dry. That's okay, it's just a lack of experience in how to describe a wine and furthermore, the dryness of a wine is does not indicate it's quality. Frequently the next step is a total rejection of this style, irregardless of good or poor versions, condemning an entire varietal to the trash heap as in, "I don't like chardonnay."

As we go further along we start to see an exciting and real appreciation for honest wines in a variety of styles, especially wines with some non-fruit complexity and brighter acidity. These wines are made without excessive manipulation in the winery, they strive to express the grape variety and place of origin. They are all different, that's the joy. Chardonnay from Santa Barbara and Chablis don't have the same taste, not even close, and heck, even wines from different vineyards in Chablis don't taste the same. Now that's exciting! When customers reach this point it's a lot of fun because we can recommend so many great things and there is so much variety in the wine world.

So what's the takeaway? Well, the best thing for the staff here at Windsor is to be able to recognize where your palate is, what types of wines you like and what new things would be good for you to try. You might be into full and spicy, crisp and mineral, juicy and aromatic, or medium bodied and herbaceous! If we can determine this it really helps up make solid recommendations and we love to put fun, new wines in our customers' hands. So let us know.

Cheers,
Michael


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