Where's Your Palate?

Identifying and developing wine preferences


There’s so much talk about the American palate, the European palate, the New World palate or the Old World palate; and yet, no one has really been able to help define what these generalizations mean. I’m going to try (and of course reach a conclusion that many of you will find distinctly unsatisfying, but such is the life of a palate profiler).

As with any broad stroke generalizations, these concepts of regional palates for wine tend to fall on their face as a person’s palate preference tends to be a moving target. And in many – if not most – cases, this includes various styles of wine for various seasons and occasions.

So where’s the kernel of truth to this myth? There certainly are some palate profiles that, while broad and general, seem to work as catchalls for many groups of people. These often are at the end of an individual’s exploration of wine, though by no means at the end of exploration, since every group has an almost unlimited amount of new, interesting and old wines to discover! So, what kind of palate do you have? Is the hipster palate of the New World really where you're at?
6 Palate Profiles to Consider

Click here for slideshow: 6 Palate Profiles to Consider

Mentioned in this article


  • It is der Umlaut (male, not neuter), and I am sort of a geek, to the extent that I am even an oenophile at all.....where are my Big Chardonnays?! French Colombard?

    Apr 12, 2011 at 5:38 PM

  • Bulls*!@# , If it tastes good and you enjoy it, drink it. Otherwise, throw it in the sink. Wine is to be enjoyed, with or without a meal. It doesn't have to be the perfect wine. Just pleasant to drink. Don't waste your time or mine being anal.

    Apr 12, 2011 at 8:44 PM

  • Well not the most 'satisfying' answer to the age-old question weighing on everyone's brain, but certainly damn well entertaining. I read the article on my lunch break at work and found myself laughing loudly a few times... my colleagues (mostly beer drinking males) couldn't understand why I was in fits... Tell me why I found the 'Old World Palate' so hysterical?

    Apr 13, 2011 at 8:54 AM

  • Now, we, of course, have gentlemen's palates.

    A gentleman's palate is refined and cultured, which automatically excludes many Californian wines.

    It is educated, and so refers to wines in non-varietal terms; claret, not red bordeaux, please.

    And it is familiar with the rituals of proper wine drinking, such as the direction in which port should pass.

    Only poverty afflicts a gentleman's palate - for as we all know, impecuniousness is sadly now the mark of true gentry...

    Apr 15, 2011 at 6:57 AM

  • Snooth User: Winemaven
    45331 30

    There is no such thing as a "national" palate.
    Wine is made in so many styles in so many places that terms like "old" and "New" world are no longer applicable beyond identifying a geographical location.
    (by the way--I think the Incas and Mayans descendants would have some issues with the "New World" designation).

    Apr 15, 2011 at 1:45 PM

  • Snooth User: benth164
    518681 1

    The pomposity within the wine industry is almost laughable, as it is with any group whose heightest motivational esteem, is to be thought of as the pinnacle of opinion.
    Years ago when I was a young man, I loved a good Cabernet Sauvingnon. As I aged I found wines with less bite to be to my liking, and thus for my aging body and mind, I have setteled on Sangiovese.
    The taste of food or drink is so personal that to try and set a standard as to what is the perfect way to think of wines, (or drink them yet) is beyound arrogant, but stupid in today's world where there are more wines and blends than anyone can possibly describe.
    You people need to get a serious grip and step down off your pedistal before you fall off having drunk too much of your own ego.....

    Apr 16, 2011 at 7:55 AM

  • Here, here, I agree.

    Apr 16, 2011 at 5:56 PM

  • Snooth User: dmcker
    Hand of Snooth
    125836 6,185

    Clever piece, Greg, and I, too, had a chuckle or three on its aptness. And at sedimentblog's addition. ;-)

    How about the wino palate?

    Apr 26, 2011 at 11:13 PM

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