Snippets with Shannon: Chapter 2
Ok, so, it’s not that I have a bad palate, it’s just that I'm inexperienced?
I've recently watched the Somm documentaries and when the group of Sommeliers were doing the blind tasting they were able to name the exact region and vintage of each wine. My mind was blown and I thought to myself, how could my palate ever be that good?!
Maybe it's not so much about having the perfect palate and more about knowing the ins and outs of each wine varietal, region, vintage, etc. Don't get me wrong, palate training is 100% important but how can you recognize the flavor of Gooseberry if you've never had one? Well, as soon as you're done reading this, go to your local grocery store, start sniffing all the spices, buy all the produce and if anyone looks at you funny just tell them you're improving your palate. How can you tell the difference between Long Island wine and California wine? Well, stop scrolling on social media and start Googling.
Let’s think of it like a game of Guess Who. Your opponent has poured themselves a glass of secret vino and you have 12 different photos of wine in front of you. If you know what questions to ask, you can very easily deduce which one they poured. Start simple: Red or white? They say red; you can eliminate half of the wines in front of you. Red fruit notes or dark fruit notes? They say red fruit; flip down more photos. French or Italian grape? They say Italian; eliminate all the Frenchies.
Now just imagine you're playing this game with yourself every time you're tasting wine. When your brain to palate connection is strong enough to recognize that soft tannin, red fruit forward Italian grape varietal… you’re probably drinking Teroldego and maybe you’ll also recognize those same nuances in say, a new red blend at the Suhru Tasting house? *Cough*Cough* Ember. We all can become a Sherlock Holmes of wine— just look for the clues.
I doubt that there will ever be a day that I will know absolutely everything about wine and even now, I’ve only barely scratched the surface. But honestly, that’s really exciting. The magic of wine is that when you're properly tasting it, you are fully living in the present with each sip expanding your knowledge. Every bottle you open has a story to tell and a lesson to be taught. Wait, so does that mean I'll get a little smarter with every glass I drink? I’m not sure if that’s the exact takeaway from this but whatever floats your boat. Cheers to being a forever student!