Wine Tasting Tip: Clear Your Palate

“A meal without wine is like a day without sunshine.” Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, ‘The Physiology of Taste’ (1825)

As wonderful as wine can be with food, did you know that during a wine tasting it is actually best not to have anything to eat? The reason for this is because ideally you need to have all your senses free of any influence besides the wine. Even the meal you had several hours before your wine tasting can potentially affect your experience.

Of course, this isn’t surgery and we’re not going to ask you to stop eating 24 hours before you visit a winery. Your sense of taste is not going to change so drastically just because you had that onion bagel for breakfast. But here are a few pointers to consider for your next wine tasting.

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Many wineries offer some type of food at their tasting room. Some offer crackers to absorb any lingering flavors, but you want to stick to something bland so as not to distract from the wine.

Some, like Hawk Haven, offer cheese plates. We love a good cheese plate with a glass of wine. Generally speaking, wine and cheese are a wonderful combination; however, cheese during a wine tasting can clog your taste buds and suppress the flavors in the wine. Also, not all wines will pair well with all cheeses. Some cheese can make even the best wines taste terrible. A better choice would be to go through the wine tasting and afterwards have a glass of your favorite paired with a cheese plate.

And have you ever had a drink of something right after brushing your teeth, especially fruit juice? Tasted horrible, right? Its best to avoid chewing gum and mints before a wine tasting.

But the wine tasting experience involves much more than just your sense of taste. Your sense of smell is very connected to your sense of taste, and there are many aromas in wine. This is another reason why food can be distracting during a wine tasting. You might also want to go light on the perfume/cologne or any other strong aromas.

These are just suggestions, so please feel free to enjoy your wine tasting however you like, with or without food. The point is to have fun, get a taste of what we’re offering, and hopefully find something you like. Cheers!

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