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Mar 19, 2012 11:04 AM

Palate Changers?

After a stint of drinking Sauvignon Blanc variations, Bordeaux Blanc, Sancerre, and Aussie versions, I feel like I have hit a wall. All my local reds now taste too..... Too fruity, too alcoholic, too sweet. Even some of my whites, Viogners, and Marsannes. Many are like low acid versions of orange juice, They go down easy enough but something is missing. I have cancelled all my wine clubs and am holding off on new purchases while I re-access.

Can drinking too much of one type of wine mess with your perception of others? Or perhaps drinking so much dry, flinty SVB, I should have a Palate cleanser period. I do not deny the possibilty that i have just been buying poor wine.

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  1. For me, I think what basic wine taste I crave changes with time. For awhile I may want a bunch of plummy,dark fruit wines. After awhile, I'll be saddened by the lack of vibrance, and start seeking out zippy, sour cherry reds.

    This, however, describes my feelings when I'm at the grocery store - randomly picking up a bottle of wine.

    When I am actually out tasting, and searching for good quality wines, I hit ideals in almost every varietal. Almost any varietal can be stretched from very very dry to very sweet.

    It's what I like about wine and food. Is at some point one has this perfect sensory experience with a glass of wine or dish of food, and you end up wanting to drink and eat as much as you can to replicate it again.

    What budget are you trying to stick to? And what is local for you? We can probably find you some local reds that work (depending where you are).

    7 Replies
    1. re: goldangl95

      For the past few years I have been buying in the San Jose/Gilroy/ Sant Cruz Mountain area, trying to support local vineyards. My SVB search took me out of my local area and I am ready to cut the local ties. Price per bottle is going up to $35-40 since I would prefer more complexity than I seem to get at the $20-30 level. However, what seems to taste one way at a tasting can be a different animal at home. I have access to many wine shops and wineries. That is not the problem. My palate seems to have gone haywire at present and I can't trust that what I buy today, I will want to drink tomorrow.

      1. re: budnball

        Oh interesting! Well some local reds that I don't find too alcoholic/sweet (but this is coming from someone who loves CA wines).

        I recently drank a Kathryn Kennedy Small Lot Cab that was very restrained for a California Cab and very enjoyable.

        Not sure what's in the tasting room/available, but Ridge's non-zins I enjoy. They are definitely "California" fruit, but I believe are well balanced.

        Not super, super local. But Porter Creek and Merry Edwards in Sonoma make some restrained reds. Robert Keenan on Spring Mountain makes some restrained reds.

        As a warning, and you probably know this already, some of the alcohol and fruit may also be attributable to drinking the wine too young, and before it has integrated. For example Ridge's wines mellow with some 5 years aging.

        In the opposite direction, in Paso Robles, I find L'Aventure wines restrained.

        1. re: goldangl95

          Am also going to add Frog's Leap (Napa) as a producer of restrained red wine.

        2. re: budnball

          I've never had the problem of tasting a wine at a tasting and then having it a different animal at home. If you are speaking of the reds, maybe they decanted or double decanted it for the tasting and you are not doing that at home? Otherwise, I don't have an answer for you unless it's something you are keeping for a long time and not storing properly or simply isn't meant to be aged.

          Regarding pricing, it is usually more expensive to buy directly from the vineyards. It's counter intuitive but true. I only join vineyard wine clubs when they are small and its the only way to buy their wines.

          My best advice without knowing the answers to the above would be to keep trying a large variety of wines and wine styles until something hits you right and maybe keep a variety around so that you'll have something that strikes your mood. I've never had your problem but I do regularly drink a variety of styles. I'd imagine I'd get sick of SVBs if that was the only thing I drank too.

          1. re: bg90027

            You are so right about prices at vineyard wine clubs. A little homework and most can be found 15-20% cheaper. I don't think decanting is my problem as none of the tasting rooms i've been to pour from decanters. Ah well, Sparkling wine and port still tastes great.

            1. re: budnball

              Decanting probably isn't the answer but it's the best I've got. You can't go just by what your eyes tell you though. Most tasting rooms aren't going to have a decanter for every wine that might benefit from it so what some do is "double decant." Pour it in the decanter to aerate and then pour it back into the bottle. Another difference could be simply when they open the bottles. A lot of places even if they don't decant the bottle will open in the morning the red wines that they will be pouring in the afternoon.

              1. re: bg90027

                Whoa, I had not considered that. Double decanting, hhmmm. It does explain some bottles that seem a bit harsh at home.

      2. Interesting.

        I rather mix my wine intake up, and often predicated on what I am doing, or what I am eating.

        I do go though tiny "spells," where I might do more PN's, or more Cab Francs, but in general, it is rather a mixed bag. Lately, I have been doing a few Counoise, but last week it was big FR Chards, and the week before Zinfandels.

        Maybe give a few Torrontés a spin, and see how things go.



        1. taste can change but then so can wine. I used to like new zealand sb but they took a good thing and ran with it (the wrong way) now what used to be (at least to me) bright and crisp is grapefruit juice. I try to switch up types to avoid getting bored. White I am drinking now are california sb spanish albarino and am trying vioginer red mostly spanish and pinoit noir and trying malbec

          also I used to only by merlot but when it became "hot" the quality seemed to suffer now I am starting to try it again

          1 Reply
          1. re: winepoet

            I come very close to agreeing with you, about NZ SB's. I loved them, when they were light, with full character (wife like Bdx, or Napa, for her SB's, and not NZ), but then many became a grapefruit explosion, wrapped in damp hay - overdone. I can only assume that it was a case of "if a little is good, then a lot will be great... "

            I, too, am a fan of Viognier, but have been unimpressed with most US versions. The exceptions have been Jos. Phelps and Gregory Grahame, Napa. Most of the rest, just seem to get it wrong, at least for me. The "runner up" is actually a Viognier, that you are likely to never see, the Dos Cabezas from Elgin, AZ. It actually won a Rhône-themed dinner, over some heavy-hitting Condrieus. That surprised me, but such is life. It is just impossible to find, even in AZ.

            Both Spain and Portugal are doing some very interesting wines, and not all reds.



          2. I used to drink a lot of zin.
            Now I like most all styles and don't drink the same one twice in a row.
            If I had to pick a favorite I would say Sangiovese., both Italian and California
            Its definitely got more going for it than just fruit.