Wine Word of the Week: Palate

By Kori ~ August 7th, 2008.

This week’s Wine Word of the Week is palate.

Official definition from Jancis Robinson’s The Oxford Companion to Wine:
Palate is a term used when describing tasting as a process and an ability. It is generally used to describe the combined human tasting faculties in the mouth and, sometimes, nose. The impact of a wine on the mouth may be divided chronologically, and somewhat loosely, into its impact on the front, middle, and back palate. The word may also be used more generally as in describing a good taster as ‘having a fine palate.’

Layman’s terms from Kori:
Palate is an oft used term that can mean several different things.

  1. Describes flavors identified in your mouth when tasting a wine; i.e. “Citrus fruits come through on the palate.”
  2. Describes one’s wine preferences; i.e. “Trust your palate. You may prefer sweet wines while someone else prefers dry wines.”
  3. Describes a good taster; i.e. “She has a good palate.”

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