Is a Great Wine Palate God Given, Learned or Bought?

January 31, 2015 7:33 AM

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Is a Great Wine Palate God Given, Learned or Bought?

WHEN ONE WINE lover wants to compliment another, the words “great palate” are often bestowed. An oenophile with such a palate is perceptive, discerning and often possessed of an extensive if not expensive wine cellar—or so it seems. (I’ve read one wine lover’s waggish suggestion that the greatness of someone’s palate is directly proportional to the value and size of his or her wine cellar.)

The Merriam-Webster definition of the word is pretty straightforward: “the roof of the mouth separating the mouth from the nasal cavity.” The Oxford Companion to Wine defines “palate” a bit more broadly as “the combined human tasting facilities in the mouth and sometimes nose.” I would amend the “so...

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