Learning how to taste wine was one of the smartest things I ever did for my health. It seems counterintuitive, but the process will taught me to crave more sophisticated foods. It all starts with the simple concept that you are not drinking wine, you are tasting it. This slight change in behavior changes everything.
Having an acute sense of taste is no longer as important as it was in other parts of our evolutionary history. In our modern-day lives, we encounter very little food that might be toxic or poisonous. At the worst, we might need to sniff out the carton of milk. Now, perhaps you could argue that double bacon cheeseburgers are toxic, but not in the same way. Still, what we consume does define some aspects of our health, and wine is no exception. By improving our sense of taste, we learn to discern what we like and why.
“Wine will change the way you think about food.”
Having a well-trained palate takes practice. I might be the proof enough that anyone can improve their palate with a little effort. All I did was change a few drinking habits, and once I did, I was able to accurately blind taste wine with about a year of practice. Here’s what I did:
The next time your about to eat or drink anything, take a second smell before you dive into a bite. Beginning to separate your taste (salty, sour, sweet, bitter) from aromas (the much more complicated world of smells). Stocking up on aromas from the real world is the best way to start building your library of tastes to then apply to wine. Paying attention to these real-world reference points will get you more comfortable with a language of taste.
When you’re eating food or drinking wine, just take a little more time: slow down, pay attention. Your sense of taste is in your mouth, so the more time the wine is in swirling around in your mouth, the more you’ll be able to taste it. Use more time in between sips too. Wines (especially good ones) change from the beginning to the end and even long after you’ve swallowed.