Many scientists believe that our sense of taste could be hard-wired into DNA. Not only has science proven that some of us have higher taste sensitivity, but it has also shown that even differences in our saliva can alter the way we perceive certain tastes, such as bitterness.
Despite our many differences, there is a style of wine that most drinkers prefer. We call these wines ‘Crowd Pleasers’ but perhaps we call this taste preference ‘Common Palate.’ So the question then becomes:
Do You Have a ‘Common Palate?’
Not everyone has a common palate. The more developed your ability to taste is, the more unique your preference are. Find out what type of wine palate you have:
Sweet vs. Dry
When eating a burger, would you drink Coca Cola or unsweetened iced tea? Iced tea is dry and has tannin just like red wine. Coke, on the other hand, is very sweet (usually more than double most sweet white wines) and offsets its sweet flavor with high acidity.
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- COKE: Sweet wines. If you really prefer sweet drinks you might want to avoid dry wines altogether. There are many excellent sweet wines, from Moscato d’Asti and Spatlese Riesling to Brachetto d’Aqui and Tawny Port.
- UNSWEETENED ICED TEA: Dry wines. While it takes a little longer to acquire a taste for dry wines, you’re likely to enjoy them more.
- BOTH: Both. If you like both types of drinks or you’re on a sliding scale in-between (maybe you love Arnold Palmers…) then you’ll like dry wines with inherent sweetness.
Fruit-Forward vs. Savory
If you’re someone who loves dessert and sweet things, then ‘fruit-forward’ wines will appeal to you. The term ‘fruit-forward’ is unofficial but it does a pretty good job describing a wine with dominant fruit, berry and vanilla-like flavors. Savory wines, on the other hand, taste of herbs, olive, tomato, bell pepper, cedar, tobacco, smoke and even bacon fat. If you generally avoid sweets, you might prefer this style of wine.
- FRUIT-FORWARD WINES: Warm Climate wine regions tend to produce more fruit-forward wines. Also, certain varieties such as Zinfandel, Merlot and Grenache tend to have more fruit-driven flavors.
- SAVORY: Cool Climate regions and cool vintages tend to produce more savory tasting wines. Also, certain varieties such as Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Franc and Sangiovese tend to have savory flavors.
Crisp vs. Smooth
If you enjoy the creaminess that milk adds to coffee then you’ll probably prefer ‘smooth’ wines. While there are many factors that make wines taste ‘smooth’, you can generally assume that wines with more age, more oak and slightly lower acidity will taste ’smoother.’ A ‘crisp’ wine generally has more acidity, spiciness, piquancy, and astringency.
- CRISP: This style tends to have less oak aging and is often released sooner after it’s made.
- CREAMY: Wines that have been aged for longer periods of time often have a nutty finish.
“Wine is an acquired taste, and once acquired that taste will evolve.”
Have you ever re-tasted a favorite childhood food only to discover that you hate it now? Our preferences with wine change in the same way. As you tune your wine palate and taste more diverse wines, you’ll notice that your tastes will slowly change over the years. If anything, this is a good excuse to always try new wines and welcome each new vintage with a smile.
Your Sense Of Taste
Everyone’s sense of taste is different and a lot of this has to do with the condition of your taste buds. Some people actually have more than others.
Are You a Wine Supertaster?