The Evolution of a Palate (at Least Mine)…

Do you think your palate has changed much in the last few years? Do you think your palate has changed much in the last few years?
I’m not talking about over the last 10 years, but just the last 2-3? Needless-to-say, you’re going to notice a change over the last 10+, but I’m guessing that’s more from a budgetary standpoint than it is from one of taste. Back in college for example; you probably couldn’t afford to drink the wines you are today (not that you probably didn’t want to), but the cash-flow situation stood in your way.
You know what I’m saying?

I reason I’m rambling on like this is that I was just thinking last week how much I really used to mainly go for HUGE wines; such as MASSIVE Aussie Shiraz’s, and GINORMOUS Napa Cabs. “Tear your head-off, and spit down your neck” kind-of-wines! They were all I consumed.
Not that I don’t have a fair appreciation for those wines now, more that I just don’t appreciate them as much.

I do have to confess that for the longest time, I just didn’t understand Oregon Pinot: “Where’s the fruit?!?! Why isn’t this wine punching me in the face with flavor!?!?? Why can I see through it when I hold the glass to a white background!?!? Why am I not drunk already!?!?” I would always think…
I know that a lot of people still struggle with the same thing. The reason that I know this, is that whenever I pour “subtler wines” at tastings, I almost always get the same responses from other people. They almost always favor the more aggressive and in-your-face style.


Even though it sounds kind of poetic (and for the record, being poetic isn’t something I will ever pride myself on), but I always tell people to think of wine the same way a true art-lover thinks of art. Say classical art is more your thing, does that mean you should dismiss modern art altogether? No, of course not. It does has its place though.

Translate this to wine, and certainly an Australian Shiraz with 17%+ alcohol has lots to give, but how well does it pair with food? Even with Steak? For the most part, at least from what I have noticed, it completely overwhelms it. Maybe something with more elegance is in order? Or not? I’m thinking out loud here…


Do you think your palate has changed much in the last few years?


  • October 19, 2011


    Interesting thoughts. And it’s difficult to divorce the desire to see your palate evolve from genuine desire to drink up-front flavoured wines, not to mention that fact that it may take some tasting experience before you can appreciate the complexity of subtle flavour in a less aggressive wine.

    But to answer your question: yes, my palate has changed, perhaps unsurprisingly as I became interested in and started to explore the wider world of wine, and it’s gone in opposite directions according to the colour of the wine. Whereas I used to enjoy relatively tough red wines, full of earthy flavours I now prefer ones that pack a big upfront punch of smooth fruit. With whites it’s the opposite – I used to like fruity, creamy wines but as time has gone on I’ve come to prefer ones with more subtle, non-fruit flavours, particularly French classics such as Chablis and Pouilly-Fumé. 

  • October 19, 2011

    Kris Chislett

    That’s interesting. 

    As with most things wine-related, there’s certainly no right or wrong answer, and it doesn’t make someone that oh-so-much-more sophisticated, just because they skew a certain way with preference to origin of their Pinot. Unfortunately, I’m already starting to see a touch of arrogance coming from people that seem to have other thoughts on that concept.

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