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Understanding the 'Palate' in Palate Partners

Knowing what you like and don’t like…….






Ripe fruit?

As wine experts and instructors, so often we get asked to tell people how to pick a wine they like. This can be more difficult than you might think, because it really requires us to read minds many times. The problem is, people either don’t really know what they like or they don’t have the wine language to explain what it is they're looking for. But don't worry, we're here to help!

Your palate is your ability to identify the different characteristics and flavors of what you're drinking - be it wine, spirits, or sake - and we're called Palate Partners for a reason - it's part of our mission to help students develop their palates and understand what beverages are best for them.

Step one is to really understand the characteristics of wine that you do and don’t like. Remember, it is equally important to know what you don’t like.  If you only tell us (or your server or sommelier at dinner) what you do like, it's possible you may get a suggestion that has a taste that isn't pleasing to your palate as well without even knowing it.  

There is so much science that we could go into on this topic, but for this blog post we want to keep it simple. So, our first suggestion: Blind taste a variety of wines and be sure to take notes. This will ensure you are not influenced by where the wine came from, it's grape variety, or even how fun and pretty the label is.  You want to make sure that the wines are of different types and styles so you really have a good selection to pick out what it is you do and don’t like about each bottle. Having a friend bag and mark your wines for you is a great way to keep yourself unbiased.

Now you're finished tasting and in your notes you have wine #1 with a smiley face next to it, wine #2 with a question mark, and wine #3 with a “never again”.  Our job is to put “wine” words to this so you can communicate with others about what you want.

In our all-new Fast Friday sessions for October we will be focusing on just this - palate exploration.

At 5:30 pm on the first and third Friday in October, both in-person* and online, we'll be taking four wines and having students taste them blind. We will start by tasting them very systematically so each person can assess the acid, tannin, fruit, and non-fruit aromas and flavors. (Don't worry, we'll walk you through what each means as we go). We will then help you find the words you need to describe the wines and the elements you like and don't like of each. Lastly, we will review the smiley faces and question marks to determine two or three sentences that you can use to tell others what kind of wine you are looking for! These fun and interactive classes are just $12 each!

Our first class will be taking place on Friday, October 2nd (link to tickets). The second session will be on Friday, October 16th (link to tickets). Be sure to choose if you'd like to join us in-person or online.

*Space is extremely limited for our in-person classes. Check out our current class health and safety procedures here.

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