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How to acquire the taste for wine

It is important to acquire a taste for wine because it is. Of course, wine is potentially harmful and addictive, but it is worth adapting oneself to wine’s initially unpleasant taste for many reasons. Those reasons include the very good reasons many of us already know and understand, such as the widely acknowledged need to acquire a taste for wine. So let’s get to it!

Choosing a Wine

This step can feel overwhelming, but you need not be daunted. There are only two main categories: reds, which tend to be sour and acidic; and whites, which are lighter in colour, sour and acidic.

While you are still acquiring a taste for wine, there are two equally valid strategies for choosing a good wine: either choose a wine that someone else tells you is good (and then agree that it is good), or choose at random.

Choosing a Wine Glass

There are many different shapes of wine glasse, each designed for a different wine. If you pour a wine into a wrongly-shaped wine glass, you will have to drink the wine from a wrongly-shaped wine glass! This is wrong, and most importantly, other people will see it and know that it is wrong. If you are serious about acquiring a taste for wine, study the graphical guide below.

How to acquire the taste for wine

Looking at a Wine

After pouring the wine, swish it around the glass. Hold up the glass and look at the wine. Isn’t it interesting?

Sniffing a Wine

What does your wine smell like? Obviously it smells like wine, but you should try to imagine a nice fruit, herb or nut that you can pretend it maybe kind of also reminds you of in an indirect, barely perceptible way. Then, when you get to the next step, you can imagine you are tasting that nice thing instead of wine. If you are stuck for ideas, many wine bottles feature a label that lists pre-imagined things which an expert has already pretended the wine smells like. Or you can just say it smells “fruity”.

Tasting a Wine

This is where the taste is really acquired. Remember to keep your expectations low at this point. Wine is not sweet, delicious grape juice: in fact, grape juice is to wine as orange juice is to orange juice that’s been in the fridge too long.

Take your time. Swirl the wine around in your mouth, trying to find a spot where it tastes less bad. If you can find one, congratulations! You are a step closer to a world where you can drink something that other people drink. If not, simply try again on another occasion until you can tolerate the sensation of wine in your mouth.

Learning to enjoy the taste of wine is difficult – it can take months or even years! If at any point you feel like giving up, just be grateful there is no societal imperative to acquire a taste for other potentially harmful, initially unpleasant substances like sodium hydroxide or Liquid Nails®.

How to acquire the taste for wine

You might say, we are all on our own, personal wine journey. You may discover wine at a young age, or not start appreciating it until you are aged as fine as one. Whatever time you choose to enjoy wine more completely, you are likely in search of the best way to fully appreciated the complexities of both the process of making wine, and the end product. Learning how to properly taste wine can launch you into a category above the average wine tourist, as you will begin to accurately assess quality and build your taste memory and profile of wine varietals, vintages and regions. Developing a mature sense of taste for wine comes from simply drinking and contemplating many wines. Luckily, the Napa Valley is the perfect place to exercise your taste buds and taste wines not only from this region, but from around the world. At Priority Wine Pass, we partner with wineries that pride themselves on educating the public in the most fun and relaxing ways possible. Here are our suggestions for wineries and wine bars that will boost your palette to the next level.

How to acquire the taste for wine

Conn Creek Winery Barrel Blending Experience

Learn how to articulate your taste preferences, along with where and how these flavors originate. This unique experience will give you a deeper understanding of why wines produced and grown with precise specifications produce a consistent flavor and allow you to feel more confident in future blind tastings.

How to acquire the taste for wine

Burgess Cellars Mountainside Tasting with Library and Current Vintage Wines

Understanding the unique characteristics of wine only comes with contemplation. What better space to contemplate than gathering quietly at the top of a mountain and tasting wines from not one, but countless, vintages.

How to acquire the taste for wine

Bennett Lane Wine Blending and Vineyard Tour

Experience an in-depth sensory evaluation of several varietals of wine and better understand what techniques are administered in growing to produce an exceptional wine.

How to acquire the taste for wine

Feast it Forward Wine Bar Downtown Napa, California

Feast it Forward Wine Bar

How do you most effectively develop your sense of taste for wine? Drink. A lot. Of wine. What better place to enjoy wines from a variety of vineyards and regions in one stop, than a wine bar. Feast It Forward features 18 wineries on their list and offer several choices of tasting experiences for you to begin your wine tasting education.

Some of us are enamored with the idea of going on wine tours or drinking a glass of wine on special occasions but can’t help but be turned off by the strong taste. Fortunately, acquiring a taste for wine is easier than you think. It’s mostly a matter of letting your taste buds become accustomed to the flavors that characterize wine. After all, there are so many different varieties, there’s something out there for everyone.

Tasting Wine Correctly

Pour a glass of wine and let it sit for 5 to 30 minutes.

Use a proper wine glass.

Swirl the wine in your glass.

Observe how the wine sticks to the side of the glass or if it sloshes around quickly. Additionally, look at the color of the wine. Experts can tell how a wine will taste just by looking at it. For now, you want to pay attention to how the wine behaves compared with how it tastes.

  • When a wine has “legs,” that means it sticks to the side of the glass and contains lots of fruit juice.
  • The darker and deeper the color of a wine, the bolder the taste should be.

Take a sip of wine.

Make sure it flows over the tip of your tongue, both sides, underneath, and into the back of your mouth. After noticing the tastes, either swallow or spit out the wine, then breathe in through your mouth drawing air over all those parts of your tongue again. This will cause the tastes of the wine to change, sometimes quite suddenly and sharply.

  • Tasting notes are the individual flavors you can pick out of the overall experience of a certain wine.
  • At first, you might not be able to pick out flavors like chocolate or oak, but practice will train your tastebuds to recognize unusual tastes.
  • You can cheat by looking at the bottle’s label or asking someone else what they taste until you can start picking out specific notes on your own.

Develop your palate.

Keep track of what you taste in certain wines and what you like and don’t like. Write down your impressions of each wine. This way you can go back and reference past tastings and look for patterns in your preferences.

98% of the wine is composed of water and alcohol, both of which are tasteless. The authentic taste of this drink stems from the remaining 2%, and the exquisite techniques of winemaking have bequeathed us with a massive range to choose from. Wine sommeliers, (experts at tasting wine), undergo years and years of training, spending thousands of dollars on education and tuition. But most of us are not going to receive any formal or informal training in how to taste and judge wine.

Thankfully, this article will guide you through the appropriate steps to getting to the bottom of your wine (pun intended), and knowing exactly what is in it. It will go into the differences between, firstly, cheap vs good quality wine, and secondly, red wine vs white wine. It also explores how the taste is influenced by various factors and the most appropriate way to experience wine in the way that its creator intended.

Before we dive into the nitty gritty of what wine tastes like, we’re excited to share that this post is sponsored by Amazon Audible! They are offering all of our Wine on My Time community an exclusive offer of 2 FREE Ebooks when signing up for a free trial— click here to sign up! Now you can sip you wine and read your books in the tub like a boujee pro.

Okay… back to red and white wines!

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How to ‘Experience’ Wine

Each white and red wine has its signature taste, and to figure out what distinguishes one brand from another, it is essential to know how exactly to taste wine. Tasting wine is about much more than merely sipping it and judging it based on first impressions. Everything from the color of the wine, the design of the bottle, our mood and disposition, and to the process of production, all influence the way we taste wine.

While the color and aroma of wine are good indicators of what exactly it is made of, there are specific ways of tasting a wine that enables you to experience it fully. Swirl your red and white wine a few times before taking a swig to aerate the drink. Notice if some drops stay on the side of the glass even after the wine isn’t in contact with that part. If they do, the alcohol is likely stronger than normal and lends what is called a ‘body’ to the wine. This is essentially how heavy this wine is on your palate.

After Taking a Sip

Glide the wine over the different parts of your tongue, and along your cheeks. Try to let in some air through your mouth while doing this step. Aeration might take some practice, but it will change the way a wine tastes to you. Another thing to remember about consuming wine is that it needs to spend a fair amount of time in your mouth. This is because the taste of wine changes over time.

After Feeling the Wine in Your Mouth

Try to chew it. Yes… chew! Chewy wines are usually high in tannin, a chemical that is added to wines to make them taste drier. However, too much tannin can make you feel thirsty and render the wine too bitter. Once you think you’ve had enough, swallow the wine and savor the aftertaste over the few seconds when it passes down your throat. This is another period where a wine tastes different at the start and end.

Things to Look Out for While Tasting Wine

Despite the flavoring ingredients comprising only 2% of the white and red wine, this seemingly small quantity can contain a wide variety of notes and elements. Good wine is usually one that has a good balance of sweet, sour, salty, and bitter elements. Tannin, as mentioned, is usually the source of bitterness in the wine. Saltiness is rare, although spicy is a common adjective for wine, believe it or not.

The sweetness and the acidity (sourness) of the wine are its key components. A good way to tell how acidic a wine is to observe whether it generates saliva. If it does, it is acidic.

Another characteristic of good wine is that its various notes aren’t distinct, but rather blended in some proportion. Young wines typically struggle with this quality, but a good winemaker will be able to induce subtlety upon some of the flavors of his wine.

Lastly, a sure-fire way of telling if a wine hasn’t been made well is to note whether it tastes of vegetables. The taste of some, like mushroom and celery, are common, but anything else is usually indicative of some mistake.

Differentiating Between the Taste of White and Red Wine

There are two factors that most fundamentally influence the difference in taste between white and red wine. The first has to do with the type of grapes used to make either drink.

Unsurprisingly, white grapes are used for white wine, while red grapes are utilized in red wine. These ‘white’ grapes are not white. They are greenish-yellowish, sometimes even pinkish.

Besides the color of the grapes, white wine is generally made only from the grape juice that is pressed out before fermentation. Red wine is made from the complete grape, including skin and seeds, and is allowed to ferment. This is partly behind the traditionally bitter taste of red wine, while white wines are fruitier because they do not contain tannins, which are derived from the skin of grapes.

Studies have found that generally, those who aren’t trained in wine tasting find it hard to distinguish between the two wines. However, experienced tasters and sommeliers can indeed pinpoint differences between wines. As such, expensive wine isn’t the scam, many think it is, and there is indeed a difference between a $10 bottle and a $1000 one.

Wine Tasting is an Art

What white and red wine tastes like is entirely dependent on the way you consume the drink. No amount of description can do justice to the way specific wines feel on your tongue, whose tastebuds are aligned in unique ways.

This article has covered some of the primary ways to better experience both red and white wine. This involves spending a decent amount of time feeling the texture and ingredients of the beverage on your tongue, and along your cheeks. In the process, you will notice herbs, spices, peppers, maybe vegetables, and much more. Sommeliers go to great lengths to ensure that not even perfume or even specific foods interfere with the rich flavors of exquisite wines.

As always, practice will lead to gradual improvement, and once you start tasting different wines frequently, you will notice the subtle variations in combinations across drinks of different brands!

Ready to start your journey of becoming a wine sommelier, now that you understand the concept of experiencing wine? We’re heading to the liquor store right now to grab some bottles to practice with!

If you can enlighten us with some additional wine- tasting- tips, drop a comment down below. Help your fellow wine- lovers out!

Thanks for reading! If you’re a wine lover like us (of course you are) check us out on Pinterest for a daily dose of wine content.

Bottoms up, we’ll uncork ya later! 🍷

Wine on My Time is a resource blog for wine lovers all across the world! We take pride in delivering the best quality wine material for our readers. Check us out on Instagram for daily wine content!

A lot of times, people ask me how to acquire a taste because they want to learn how to like kale—or, even more commonly, they want to find out how to get their kids to like healthy foods. The truth is that we’re not genetically predisposed to dislike certain foods. In fact, we’re predisposed to like the majority of them (with the exceptions being bitter and ammoniated things because they can be hallmarks of spoilage or something that’s not necessarily safe). The problem comes with the messages our culture gives us about certain foods.

Take, for example, my son, who’s always eaten whatever my wife and I offer him—including bugs. One day, I was out in the garden turning over a stone, and there were these big earthworms. I looked at my son, Noah, who was about 3 or 4 at the time, and said, “Do you want to eat one?” (he always loves eating things out in the wild with me). He said, “Oh, you can’t eat worms—they’re gross.” I had never heard those words before because we don’t use them around him.

Turns out, he had a children’s book with a page that says, “Candy is yummy, but worms are yucky.” He got that message from a book that he’d probably had read to him only a handful of times, but it imprinted on his brain that that particular food was yucky. This is a kid who’s eaten bats with me, dung beetles. You name it, he ate it. But he wouldn’t eat worms because he had gotten the cultural message that somehow that worm was yucky. Which goes to show you the power of culture.

Here in America, we have a really, really, really messed up view about food because we’re spoiled and we live in the most profoundly fast-moving, convenience-based culture on planet Earth. What you eat and how you eat it is a very important part of your healthy lifestyle, and in a lot of cultures, they eat and drink a whole variety of things not for pleasure, but for wellness. And they’ve ended up developing or acquiring tastes for nutritious foods.

Acquiring new tastes isn’t just important for your health, though. If we keep eating the same 15 vegetables, the same four meats and the same three fish, we’re going to create more of an extinctive forecast for ourselves than we’re already dealing with. So instead, we have to learn to eat little fish with the heads on them from local fishermen (you can always take the head off if you want). We have to learn to eat sea vegetables of all varieties and to eat a greater roster of vegetables, including the ones that are sometimes bitter or sometimes have an odd texture. Not only is this something that we can really work at as a culture, but it’s vital if we’re going to survive and cultivate a healthy food system.

So how do you acquire a taste for a new food? Here are a few suggestions:

Try new foods multiple times. A 2010 study found that children who tried a vegetable they didn’t like eight or nine times began to like it more. I believe this to be true, assuming the food is cooked the right way. (Keep reading for more on this.)

Try new preparation methods inspired by different cultures. Looking elsewhere for ways in which we might enjoy a food is, I think, a really, really important skill. One of the most popular preparations for kale, for example, is the European model: Pick the kale younger, julienne it needle-thin, rub it with lemon juice and olive oil so it starts to break down, and toss it with some lemon juice, salt and Parmesan cheese.

When in doubt, use a touch of fat, sugar and salt. These ingredients have become the sex lube of our culinary generation. It’s kind of awful. But I’m not entirely opposed to the sugar-fat-salt trick; I just think it needs to be used very, very prudently. My son at one point didn’t like Brussels sprouts. I roasted them in the oven and then quickly flash-sautéed them in a pan with a tablespoon or so of butter, a tablespoon or so of brown sugar and a couple of splashes of fish sauce. The combination of butter, brown sugar and fish sauce wasn’t unhealthy spread out over the pound and a half of Brussels sprouts I had in the sauté pan, and my son liked it.

Every drinker has a story of a wine bottle that wasn’t up to par. Sometimes, you don’t expect much because you just picked the cheapest bottle in the store. It could also be that you got confused by all the complicated names and ended up picking the wrong one.

How you got yourself in this situation is not really important now. What you need to start thinking about is how to make wine taste better. Luckily, there are a number of ways to make a bottle of wine taste better even if it made your face shrink on the first taste.

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Make Sangria

Don’t give up on your bottle of wine yet. Have you ever thought about using wine to make Sangria? Add some fruits to your drink, and suddenly, that terrible tasting wine tastes totally different, no seriously. There is endless choices when it comes to the type of fruits you can use for the drink. Some popular fruits used in sangria are apples and oranges!

If you’re interested, fetch some ideas and recipes for a glass of refreshing Sangria and you will have saved your bottle of wine. This trick can be used for literally any kind of wine you can think of, both white and red wine. Here’s a great sangria recipe we found for you to check out, just to save you some time.

Let Your Wine Breathe

Decanting your wine is standard procedure when it comes to enhancing its taste. Wine that is freshly opened is just getting some aeration after months or years of being stored in a tight space. Decant the wine into a vessel with a wide mouth so that some oxygen can make its way inside.

Wine could also have been deprived of oxygen right from the wine-making process. Lack of oxygen strangles the drink so that the aromatic compounds do not blend well. This introduces sulfur compounds that reduce the wine. When wine is reduced, it may have an unpleasant smell, such as the smell of rotten eggs, boiled vegetables or burnt rubber. Let the wine sit in a decanter for some hours and the smells should be blown away so that the aromatic smells promised on the label can come to the surface. If you are not willing to wait for some hours while the wine aerates naturally, you can as well speed up the process by mixing it using a whisk or blender.

If you’re going the decanter route with patience, here’s 2 brands we like to use: Le Chateau and Bella Vino.

Chill Your Wine

Refrigerating is not only a good idea for it’s refreshing effect, it can also be a way to handle a wine that is too overpowering. This is true even for red wine that are typically served at room temperature. You can add some ice to the wine, which slows down the aromas, making it a bit smoother. Frozen grapes are also a good idea so add those if you have them in the refrigerator.

It is important to note that chilling is only helpful if the wine is too strong on the palate. This method will do nothing for a wine with bad smells. It is also inapplicable for wines with high tannins. You shouldn’t chill wine with a chalky texture either.

Spritz the Wine

Carbonation works in the same way as chilling and helps get rid of some of the off-putting smells. This works especially well for wines that are too sugary. This is the same thing they do with soda. You couldn’t drink soda with all the sugar if it wasn’t bubbly. Bet you didn’t really think about this before have you? The bubbly effect makes the drink palatable, a lot too! Do the same for wines that are too sweet and add some sugary soda and the wine will have a more subtle sweetness.

In our corner of the world, this may seem like an absolute no-no but it actually works. In wine producing areas such as Spain, lemon-lime soda is added to wine and the drink is called Tinto de Verano. Kalimotxo is also another popular alternative. In this kind of spritzer, red wine is mixed with a cola-based drink.

Mull the Wine

Mulled wine is popular in the UK and other parts of Europe. You can use any kind of wine out there to make this, so you need not worry about the type; it will turn out just fine. If you have ever used mulling spices on your wine, then you know just how well they can enhance the holiday mood on a nice summer afternoon. Mix some spices and enjoy your bottle of wine to the last drop. It will take some time to slow-cook the wine, but you will like the results.

Make Delicious Punch with White Wine

While red wine may be overpowering when it has a funny taste, white wine on the other hand seems to lose all its flavor so that it almost seems like you are drinking sparkling water. Well, since you already paid for the bottle, you might as well make the most of it. One way to do this if you have white wine is to make punch out of it. Add mint, cucumbers or any flavors you can find and see what you come up with. Look through the internet for some ideas on how to make punch from your wine, and you might be surprised by the recipes and what they produce.

Learn to Embrace the Natural Flavors

This does not mean that you drink yourself to a stupor, but the truth is it probably doesn’t taste so bad. You may need a few more sips to appreciate the wine even if it doesn’t quite hit the mark.

It is such a bummer to come home excited about popping open that bottle of white or red wine you have been anxious to taste, only to be disappointed. With our list of tips, this should not be a bother any more. All these ideas are applicable across the board and you will have a lot of fun trying them out. Of course, you can always find out more about your wine before buying it to save yourself the trouble but in case you end up with a bottle of stale wine, you have this to fall back on.

Thanks for reading, while you’re sipping on some new wines… did you know Amazon Audible is offering all of our Wine on My Time community an exclusive offer of 2 FREE Ebooks when signing up for a free trial! You can sign up for a free trial here. Think about it, you’re sipping your wine at night while enjoying a great listen, what’s more relaxing?

Thinking of trying out a sangria after reading this post? Have any questions about making a nice punch for your weekend party? You can leave a comment below or you could follow us on Instagram. Make sure to tag us in your photo/video for a chance to be featured on our page!

And on that note, bottoms up! We’ll uncork ya later!! 🍷

Wine on My Time is a resource blog for wine lovers all across the world! We take pride in delivering the best quality wine material for our readers. Check us out on Instagram for daily wine content!

As a wine lover, going to a wine tasting is one of the most exciting things you can do. But if you’re new to these events, they might seem overwhelming, and even a little intimidating. At Wine Spectator‘s annual tasting events, the New York Wine Experience Grand Tastings in the fall and the Grand Tour in the spring, there are hundreds of world-class wines to taste, so there’s no time to be bogged down by questions of etiquette or strategy. Here, our staff share their advice, from personal experience and interviews with other wine pros, for attending and enjoying a wine tasting.

1. Dress for the event

Dress in dark colors (the better to hide spills), avoid dangling sleeves (so you don’t cause spills) and consider the venue to suss out the appropriate dress code. Women should consider wearing flats or low heels for comfort. If you have long hair, tie it back so you can spit easily (see tip No. 5) or keep a hand free to hold it back. And if you’re going to carry anything (tasting book, notebook, smartphone or tablet), bring a purse or have deep pockets to stash it. Carrying a wineglass around means you’ll only have one hand free for holding a plate of food, shaking hands with winemakers and taking notes.

2. Don’t wear fragrance

Smell is a huge part of tasting. It’s impossible to appreciate all the aromas of a delicate Riesling or a layered Cabernet Sauvignon when the air is heavy with perfume, cologne or smoke, so be mindful not to introduce any unwanted aromatics to the tasting area—it’s just proper tasting-room etiquette. You don’t want to miss out on the nuances of the very wines you’re trying to enjoy. And you don’t want to be the answer to, “What’s that smell?”

3. Come up with a plan for tasting

At most tastings, there will be more wines than you can sensibly try in just a few hours. If you can get a list of the producers or wines at the tasting ahead of time, come prepared with a game plan.

A basic plan involves browsing your way through the aisles, working from light wines to heavier ones: Start with sparkling wines, then fresh whites and move on to richer whites and tannic reds. But you can get a lot more focused with it: A survey of the wines of Italy? A comparative tasting of only one variety such, as Pinot Noir, from different appellations? All up to you.

At the New York Wine Experience, senior editor Tim Fish likes to aim for two main goals: Taste the classics, and explore the unfamiliar. If you want to try the biggest names, such as the Bordeaux first-growths, head there first before the crowds form; then skip the busiest tables and fit in new discoveries.

If you’re coming prepared with a list of must-visit producers, branch out a bit and allow for some spontaneity, suggests senior editor James Molesworth. After you get your sip of Château Haut-Brion, look at the wineries pouring on each side of that booth—if you’ve never tried one of them, now is your chance.

How you determine your likes and dislikes requires exposure to different wines, notes senior editor James Laube. He doesn’t just spend a whole tasting pinpointing the types of wine that give him the most pleasure. He also visits, or revisits, wines that inspire other people, if not necessarily him. By doing this, you can gain a better understanding of why you like certain wines.

Polish off the evening with something unforgettable, like a glass of sweet wine such as late-harvest Riesling, Sauternes or Port. Laube likes to finish with Champagne, which he calls the “perfect palate cleanser.”

4. Eat something

Tasting wines (and maybe drinking some too) on an empty stomach is a recipe for getting drunk quickly and not being able to enjoy the rest of the event. Remember to eat beforehand, and if there’s food offered at the tasting, take a break to eat there too. Drinking water in between wines helps to stay hydrated.

5. Remember to spit (at least most of the time)

Yes, you’ll be tasting good wines, and yes, no one likes to “waste” wine, but those tasting-size pours really add up—and quickly at that. To get the full experience of the event, you’ll want to pace yourself by spitting wine as you go. That’s why there are buckets on every table. Unglamorous maybe, but take heart—all the pros do it. Don’t be shy, says Fish; the winery staff are used to it. And if you don’t want to finish a wine, pour out any leftover from your glass into one of the spit buckets as well.

On spitting, our resident expert, Dr. Vinny, tells us: Practice at home first, don’t do it too hard or too slow, and get close to the spit bucket. If you’re spitting into a full shared bucket, you’ll want to spit slowly to avoid backsplash (ew!) or you can ask to have the bucket changed out or find another receptacle. If there’s a crowd around the spit bucket, you might want to wait to take a sip of wine until you can get closer.

Dr. Vinny also weighs in on whether you should rinse your glass between pours: It’s not necessary, unless you’re switching between red and white or sweet and dry, or you had a flawed wine. And if you’re going to rinse, Vinny says the best way to do that is to use a splash of wine instead of water, but water is not a terrible faux pas.

6. Take notes

You may swear you’ll remember the name of that fantastic red from Italy, but even if you’re spitting consistently, a couple dozen wines and a day later, you’ll be struggling to recall whether you preferred the Chianti Classico or the Brunello at the booth next to it. If you’re using the tasting as a scouting trip for bottles you want to buy, remember to bring something to write with so you can take notes, or use your phone’s camera to document the wines you liked. Not sure how to describe what you’re tasting? Dr. Vinny has some tips for you. But your method can be as simple as a plus or minus sign next to the name of the producer or the wine on the tasting sheet, says Laube.

7. Think ahead about the red-wine teeth dilemma

It’s an unfortunate side effect of the wine-tasting business that drinking red wine can stain your teeth. Unless you want to leave the event with a purple-tinged grin, think ahead about how you’re going to manage this. Brushing your teeth right after wine tasting can strip your teeth of protective enamel. The better route is to remember to drink water and maybe bring some chewing gum for when you’re done, says Laube.

8. Talk to the winemakers

Wine can be more fun and memorable when you know the story behind the bottle. At both the Wine Spectator New York Wine Experience and the Grand Tour, winemakers and winery owners come to pour at the event, so take the time to talk to them! If you have any questions about styles, grapes, vintages or regions, they are a great resource. If you’re polite and enthusiastic, they’ll want to answer your questions and make a connection—that’s why they’re there.

9. But don’t hog the booth

If plenty of guests are clamoring to get a taste, don’t monopolize the table or block the spit bucket. Take your glass and move away to give others a chance and to avoid being jostled, or step to one side to continue your conversation with the winemaker while allowing them to pour for others.

10. Have fun

Some people get very serious when they’re tasting wines, but remember it’s OK to smile and have a good time too. You’re tasting wine, not attending a tax seminar, and you will not be quizzed at the exit doors.

For instance I absolutely hated beer when I was a young drinker but now absolutely love it. That may be because I am from Wisconsin but how does the brain hate a taste but then start to like it?

The palate changes with age. Bitter is a particularly bad flavor to young people. This is supposedly because poisonous plants are often bitter, so we evolved to dislike that flavor in our youth.

Also your enjoyment of the beverage is only partially tied to its taste. It's color, smell, intoxicating effects, and your memories of other times you've consumed it inform your opinion.

Finally, it's an addictive substance. Even mild alcohol cravings can convince you that you not only tolerate the flavor, you prefer it.

I can't stand the taste of alcohol making social settings slightly awkward. Any tips for me?

chocolate is a good example. if you give dark chocolate to a little kid they probably won't like it. but once we have had enough milk chocolate, we begin to associate the chocolate flavor with the fat and sugar in milk it is usually mixed with, and thus being to enjoy the actual flavor.

This is supposedly because poisonous plants are often bitter, so we evolved to dislike that flavor in our youth.

As I understand it, poisonous plants don't just happen to be bitter, but the taste of bitter itself actually evolved to detect toxic chemicals.

Wow. I can't stand any of those tastes. Never could. I guess my mouth never grew up.

Also Drinking Beer Is Kind Of Like Stockholm Syndrome.

I dunno. I'm 30 and beer still tastes like piss and coffee still makes me want to vomit. My friends say, "just keep drinking it, you'll learn to like it". I'll pass on learning to like bitter piss water, thank you. And yes, I've tried many brands. I think it's the hopps I don't like.

I thought it was due to the association between the taste and the feeling.. once the association was formed, the nuances present themselves and the difference between nati light and craft beer becomes evident..

Source; too lazy.

We have learned our taste for bitter did not evolve from eating poisonous plants.

The biggest thing is just that your body stops considering it a threat.

Bitterness is a sign that something is poisonous. But as you drink it more and more, your body starts to say "hey this isn't killing me" and ignores the bitterness.

Edit: If someone could look up the word for this I would be so thankful. It was in a post ages ago on r/beer about how IPA is terrible when you first drink it, but after a while a lot of other beer sucks in comparison.

Edit2: Lupulin Threshold Shift is the name of it.

"hey, this is pretty amazing actually, you should drink obscene amounts starting with the moment you wake up."

It's sort of the opposite effect of biological preparedness, where you will develop aversions to certain things (foods, etc.) if they make you sick. I am sure there are people on here who are far more qualified to answer this than I am, this is just something I recall from my intro psych course all those years ago!

That is completely made-up bullshit. How does it differentiate from one bitter food and another? What about all those who have different tolerances for bitterness? Someone who likes tea might not like coffee, even though coffee isn't killing that person.

Yea I used to love heff beers but now most of them seem like they have no flavor. Now I mostly always go for a nice IPA.

It's like if every time you fell down, you got a hundred dollars. Pretty soon you would probably start to like it. Then you'd get bored with just falling down, and you'd start to do it in different ways and maybe with different people to see how they do it. Before you even notice, you've become an aficionado.

There is an interesting theory about that, actually. Do you know the Jesus illusion?

Our mind usually tries to adapt to things. In the said illusion, our mind notices that there is a big black blob in our sight, that carries no information with it. It makes no sense. So it's best to ignore it. Our perception mechanisms start to create a "counter-reaction" – something that would even out the nonsensical blob, and make it one with the background. The longer the blob is there, not moving, the stronger this counter reaction be. After a couple of minutes, when you stop looking on the blob, and look on, say, a wall, you will see the counterreaction of your brain – an image that happens to look like the face of Jesus. It could be anything though. Your nose, for example, is removed from your sight in a similar way, only you never get to see the counter-reaction, because you always have a nose in its place, hopefully.

Now, the same applies for all stimuli, but there is an interesting glitch in some of them. There was an interesting study about people who give blood. When you do it for the first time, it's scary, painful, and takes some time to get back to feeling 100% good after the deed, but your organism creates an anti-reaction – and when the pain wears off, you actually feel pretty good physically. The more you give blood, the less scared you are, the more used to the procedure you are, and in effect, the less pain you feel (also thanks to the feel-good counter-reaction).BUT! The major finding in this study is, that with time the counter-reaction does NOT fade, like the initial painful stimulus does. It stays on the same level, making giving blood pleasant, some even described is as addictive.

It is hypothesised that the same mechanism happens with other things, like cold showers, blue cheese, wine, and (finally to the point), beer. It's not tasty at first, but your brain creates a countermeasure to relieve you in your beer-drinking pain, an anti-taste, if you will. With time, you get used to the taste, but the magnitude of the positive antitaste stays the same, so you end up enjoying the whole thing.

tl;dr: it's thanks to a counter-reaction to negative stimuli that your brain creates.

F&W’s Ray Isle investigates the sommelier strategies that can help you find an ideal bottle of wine all on your own.

The Jordan Pond House, in Acadia National Park, Maine, serves lemonade in an unusual way. You’re given a big glass of unsweetened lemonade and a little pitcher of sugar syrup. Then you pour in as much syrup as you want until the lemonade is to your liking. Some people like their lemonade very tart, some people like it very sweet and most people are somewhere in the middle.

Thinking about wine in the same way isn’t such a stretch; like lemonade, some wines are very tart, some less so. In fact, although wine can seem dauntingly complex, it shares a lot of characteristics with other things you eat and drink—sourness, bitterness, sweetness and so on. If you don’t like intensely tangy lemonade, you probably won’t like intensely tangy wines. The problem is, if you’re looking at a list of unfamiliar wines, how do you know which ones you’ll like? You don’t. And, unlike lemonade, you can’t adjust a wine to your taste.

In a restaurant, of course, you can ask the sommelier—a good one can divine which wines you’ll enjoy, even if you don’t know yourself. At The NoMad in Manhattan, wine director Thomas Pastuszak refers to these skills as “the Jedi mind tricks of the sommelier,” a phrase I like if only because it brings to mind an image of Alec Guinness in Star Wars, pointing to a wine list and saying, “These aren’t the Cabs you’re looking for. ”

Of course, most people don’t have sommeliers at home. So why not become your own sommelier? With that in mind, I trailed Pastuszak at work, listening to his conversations with customers who asked for help. (Most do; there are about 1,000 selections on The NoMad’s list.) Then I got in touch with Matthew Kaner, wine director at Los Angeles’s Bar Covell, who has his own approach to helping customers make choices.

At The NoMad, many of Pastuszak’s strategies were familiar, such as asking customers about the last wine they had that they really liked; even a novice sommelier knows that one. Other strategies were more akin to translation. One woman described a Pinot Noir she’d loved as being “so smooth, I just wanted to eat it like ice cream.” In my experience, “smooth” is one of the most common (and positive) words used to describe wines by casual drinkers. Unfortunately, it’s also vague. Pastuszak, though, was able to immediately interpret it as meaning “low-acid and low-tannin.” He often let the customers make the final decision, pouring them two wines side by side—a juicy Anderson Valley Pinot Noir and a lighter, brighter one from Burgundy, say—and asking if they had a preference. They always did.

He also used some very basic strategies, like asking customers to “trust me on this.” Pastuszak is a charming, articulate, good-looking guy, withan infectiously upbeat attitude: It’s hard not to trust him. And really, why wouldn’t you? Personality aside, his knowledge is vast. And choosing a wine requires more knowledge than, for instance, ordering a dish. Think of it this way: If you ask your friends whether they like beets, they’ll tell you. They won’t have to puzzle it out or admit that they’re not very beet-savvy. But with wine, casual drinkers probably can’t say whether they like Monastrell from Spain or Central Coast Grenache, even if they know that they like tart flavors, or that bitter flavors make them shudder. When dealing with a 1,000-bottle wine list, a trustworthy guide is handy.

Kaner, one of F&W’s Sommeliers of the Year for 2013, takes trust to a new level. At Bar Covell, which he co-owns, there is no wine list. There’s plenty of wine—a huge selection, in fact. But he won’t tell you what any of it is until you’ve had a conversation with him about your likes and dislikes.

This approach might seem odd, or even a little bit annoying, but Kaner’s logic makes perfect sense: “Hand someone a list with 150 selections, which is what we have at Bar Covell, and immediately, you’re assuming everyone knows everything about all 150 wines. And they don’t. So how can you expect them to make an educated choice?”

What Kaner does instead is ask his customers questions. “I don’t focus on grape varieties,” he adds. “They don’t help. If someone says they want a Syrah, what does that mean? One from Morocco? From Cornas? From Santa Barbara? They’re all distinct. So instead of varieties, I try to think more about wine characteristics.”

That means asking whether someone might prefer a lighter wine or a more full-bodied one, acidic or not so acidic, dry or sweet. “Say you want a red,” he says. “OK, do you want an earthy red? A fruity one? What we do is direct the narrative.”

Kaner sometimes challenges what customers think they want, too. “We had someone come in recently who said, ‘I want a big earthy Cab, what do you have?’ So I said, ‘Why does it have to be Cabernet Sauvignon? That’s only one of thousands of grape varieties.’ After talking for five minutes about why it doesn’t matter what grape it is, I poured him three different possibilities.” He ended up with a Négrette, an obscure red from southwest France. And he loved it.

Instead of getting the customer what he thought he wanted (Cabernet), Kaner listened to what he actually wanted (an earthy, substantial, tannic red). This method showed me that it doesn’t take many questions to narrow down a person’s preferences. So I decided to stage an experiment at home, based on two of wine’s most basic characteristics: acidity (tartness) and body (how lush a wine feels in your mouth.)

First, I invited two of my wife’s cousins, wine drinkers but definitely not experts, over for dinner. I asked them what they liked when it came to tartness—how much sugar syrup they would pour into their lemonade, essentially. Then I quizzed them about body: Did they prefer rich sauces or light ones? Dark- or white-meat chicken? Finally, I had them taste four wines, bottles concealed in paper bags: a high-acid, light-bodied red (Barbera from Italy), a high-acid, full-bodied red (Brunello di Montalcino), a lower-acid, light-bodied red (Pinot Noir from Monterey, California) and a lower-acid, full-bodied red (Paso Robles Zinfandel).

This approach strips away the nuance that makes wine fascinating, certainly. But it worked. The cousin who likes sweet lemonade, light sauces and white meat chose the Pinot as her favorite. Her sister, who prefers tangier lemonade but the same kind of dishes, went for the Barbera. And my wife, who would just as soon skip the sugar syrup in her lemonade but prefers richer foods on the whole, picked the Brunello.

The point is this: Coupled with some very basic wine knowledge (see the chart here), knowing your taste preferences makes it extremely easy to pick a wine you’ll enjoy. And you won’t have to learn any Jedi mind tricks to do it.