How’s your nose? Have you thought man, how do Kelly or winemakers pick up a glass of wine and just know what flavours’ are in the wine before tasting it?
They aren’t wrong (most of the time), but this isn’t something that just comes to them, a lot of work, sniffing and spitting is involved.
Don’t take it personally, though, some people seem to have an innate ability to taste various flavours and smells without the spitting – these people are called “supertasters”.
About 25% of us could be considered “supertasters” – people who experience flavours much more intensely than the average person.
So if you didn’t know, there are three types of tasters:
- “Supertaster” (30 + taste buds)
- “Average taster” (15-30 taste buds)
- “Non-taster” (below 15 taste buds)
We can do a simple test to see if you’re a supertaster. Let’s see…
1. Do you hate bitter vegetables such as Brussel sprouts or kale?
If you’re a supertaster, you tend to eat bland foods over rich foods that taste too “oily”. You’re a typically fussy eater and everything tastes intense: from salty, sweet, sour, the sensation of fat and bitter.
2. Is your coffee bitter?
If you find black coffee bitter, then you might be a wine supertaster too. This also includes disliking grapefruit, juice, bitter beers and dark chocolate.
“Um does that mean you don’t like chocolate, Kelly?”
Kelly: “Ummm.. that means I am definitely not a supertaster!”
3. Do you avoid fatty foods?
Supertasters often report that fat is creamier, and they can detect tiny differences in the fat content of milk. Here’s the advantage: studies by researcher Linda Bartoshuk at Yale University have shown that supertasters are less likely to be obese than non-tasters.
Regardless if you’re a supertaster or not, you can come become better at tasting wines in multiple ways:
- Use your nose
The sense of smell or olfaction is evoked by scents, which are airborne molecules that are volatile enough to reach the olfactory receptors located at the top of our nostrils.
Smell’s role in flavour is the reason that wine has such a strong potential for calling up memories. Like Riesling in the 70’s as sweet and just not nice!
When you first start honing in on flavours, it can be a challenge to differentiate them, but sometimes you just ‘get’ them. This is the first sign that you might be on to something – listen to your subconscious, it’s helping you!
- Pay attention to texture
Pay attention to the way it feels and tastes in your mouth. This will help you hone down on different wines.
- Slow down
Take your time when drinking wine, as it will help you develop a better sense of taste.
- Drink more wine (cheers to that)
To be able to taste wine accurately is the ability to catalogue flavours and recall them immediately. This is known as a palate memory. All of us have this to some degree – ever eaten something an instantly been transported back to a childhood memory? – but some of us are just GOOD at it.
The way to develop a palate wine is to drink wine, lots of different wine and start to build your wine memory.
Here are our top tasting tips when drinking wine:
- Is it sweet?
- What fruit flavours do you taste?
- How intense is the flavour?
- Does it have a mineral taste?
- How acidic is the wine?
- Is the alcohol level apparent?
- How long is the aftertaste?
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