Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The Blind Tasting: Challenging Your Palate

Tasting Blind Develops Your Palate
Love wine, but feel like you’re sticking with the same bottle over and over again? Our palates easily and quickly become lazy when we drink the same wines repeatedly and even worse, those wonderful nuances that first drew us to our favorite varietal can get lost in the shuffle. 

As a member of the Paso Robles Wine Club, you receive regular shipments of unique, boutique Paso Robles wines throughout the year, so your palate can stay sharp. But if you’re not a member, you may be drinking the same tried and true bottle over and over again and most likely, not enjoying it as much.

Just as you lose muscle tone when you’re not exercising regularly, the same is true of your palate. When you reach for the same wine—or food—with little variance, your palate doesn't have to work to figure out new flavor profiles.

If you have ever wondered what tasting blind could do for your palate, wonder no more, because it’s time to share how making the simple move to cover up a wine label can help you become a better and more creative taster, challenge your palate and help you enjoy wine even more—as if that’s even possible.

Learn the value of objectivity: We’d like to think that labels don’t matter, but when it comes to wine, it’s challenging not to make judgments about what’s in the glass once we see what’s on the label. By tasting blind, wine has to be evaluated solely by what’s in the glass and the flavors that the palate picks up. By removing the unconscious bias, our palate is more precise and we judge the wine by its own merits. Other parameters such as region, soil, winemaker and price then become secondary measures.

Tap into your memory: The real fun of tasting wine is tapping into those distant but ever so familiar flavors from our own experiences—especially childhood. When we taste wine and pick up the flavors of cotton candy or red hots or cherry taffy, we’re doing more than just working our palates; we’re working our brains, too.

Enjoy the discussion: The best blind wine tasting happens in a small group. The first task is for everyone to taste the wine—no talking here—and to make notes, then once everyone has completed their ‘work’, it’s time to open up the conversation and compare notes. The beauty of this is that you’ll learn from others and in the process, teach them, as well.


If you haven’t experienced a blind wine tasting, there’s no better time than now to start planning. If you’re a member of the Paso Robles Wine Club, grab a few bottles from your recent shipment, or head to the store and select 4 or 5 wines. A blind tasting works best when you stay in the same region and style, but aside from covering up the labels, there really are no rules.

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