Understanding Your Palate


trial & error

 Whether you are a beginner to wine-buying, collecting, or still a novice to mastery, this section is the most important aspect to appreciating good and bad wines. You are in control of your spend, so understanding your palate and identifying wines you like are key, and being able to tell the difference between less and more expensive wines. Experienced tasters often rely on the immediate reaction of their memory to the first sniff of a wine. 


As with all our long-standing and loyal customers, we respect your privacy and busy schedules (especially celebrities), so we continue to bring the tasting to your home personally. Attention to detail never goes amiss, with full confidentiality. 


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Tasting wines is no different than learning to really appreciate music or art in that pleasure you receive is proportionate to the effort you make. The more you fine-tune your sensory abilities through wine tastings, the better you’re able to understand and enjoy the nuances and details that great wines express. The time and effort invested in palate training is rewarding—and life-changing.

Drinking is all about using our senses. If the sense of taste were located in the mouth (where our impulses tell us it is), anyone swallowing a mouthful of wine would get all the sensations it has to offer. The nerves which receive anything more distinctive than the basic sensations of sweet, sour, salt and bitter are higher in the head and deeper in the brain. We in fact smell tastes, rather than tasting them with our lips and tongues and palates. Your nose is the key to your palate. This is exactly what wine professionals—those who make, sell, buy, and write about wine—are able to do (the greatest to date – Robert Parker). For any wine enthusiast, it’s the pay-off for all the effort. 

 The vapours of wine need to be inhaled (either through the nose or mouth) into the upper part of the nasal cavity where they are dissolved in moisture. From the moisture long thin nerve processes (vacilli) take this information straight to the brain. Our senses work best when we are young, but over time our senses become less functional, most typical for retired wine enthusiasts, from information that we have gathered from our customers. 


Personal, home and corporate wine tastings is an ideal way to help your senses grow stronger. Making cross-references (written notes even, including wines you have laying-down in the cellar to age gracefully, and sampling them from time to time), the stirring of memories, the comparisons between similar and yet subtly different products of the same or neighbouring ground. Wines differ from one another in colour, texture, strength and ‘body’, as well as smell or ‘taste’. This also applies to spirits. A taster/wine imbiber takes all this into account. It is vital also to perform the drinking experience in a good mood, rather than after a stressful day, and without having a cold, which would just ruin your chance to fully expose a new wine, and a new grape varietal. 

For entertaining with friends or going out to a restaurant, try to be open-minded. Experiment with different grape varietals i.e. Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel (all grown differently across the world, as soil and climates vary) until you come close to understanding the characteristics each grape varietal feels like on the palate and around your senses, and beyond , for the blended wines from the world’s best wine-producing regions. You will also be able to quickly point out specific flaws in bad wines. If you are ordering a bottle of wine in a restaurant you want to be certain that the wine you receive tastes the way it was intended to taste. By this stage, you should also be able to tell if a wine is corked (even the best wines can be, as many factors contribute to a wine turning bad). 




Be sure to use wine glasses that are specifically shaped to accentuate those defining characteristics, directing wine to key areas of the tongue and nose, where they can be fully enjoyed (the same would apply to spirits). While wine can be savored in any glass, a glass designed for a specific wine type helps you to better experience its nuances. Outfit your house with a nice set of stems you will reap the rewards. Over time, you will have an idea also of the kind of wine you will want when entertaining at the table and its appropriate association with certain food types. There is nothing pompous about this approach, as wine mastery comes with decades of practice. For professional outlets, or help with this, please contact us on 01903 207914.



When you have leftover wine in the bottle, preservation is key. In general, as wine comes into contact with air, it quickly spoils, but can sometimes improve (as in the case with heavy and bold wines, such as Barolo, Amarone, Chassagne-Montrachet, Chambolle-Musigny (to name a few greats). To slow down the deterioration process, use a quick vacuum pump to suck out the excess air. The less air in the bottle, the longer the wine’s lifespan for everyday wines, and for the more expensive, decanting your wines should keep and improve further during the course of your meal or wine tasting, or even next day, depending on the wine (for the bigger names as mentioned, the quality can further improve).