Home Winemaking – “P” for Palate and Press (not Paparazzi)! #AtoZChallenge

Welcome to the World of ! I’m having fun alphabetizing the home process – you can find the links to the other letters at the end of this post.

Today’s letter is “P”, so we’ll talk about Palate and Press!

You know your taste in clothes, shoes, food and cars, but do you know your taste in ? I didn’t used to – I really didn’t care much, I knew what types of I liked, but never delved into the ‘why’ part of it based on palate. That is, not until I started making my own , then I realized it was even more important.

Your palate is a complex combination of four senses: sight, smell, taste and feel. When you pick up a glass of wine, look at it and take a sip, your brain gets a tsunami of information. Stop and notice the specifics:

  • Visual: Shade of Color, Intensity of Color, Still or Bubbly?
  • Smell/Taste: Flavors through a combination of nasal and tongue sensors 
  • Taste: Sweet, Sour, Bitter, Salty (taste of Minerals-Minerality)
  • Sensation: Cool/Warm, Heat (Alcohol), Astringency (Tannins), Fizz, Consistency

Over your lifetime, your palate has automatically (and mostly unconsciously) developed likes and dislikes. For example, If you grew up drinking milk, then, moved to Coca-Cola, and finally, cocktails, your palate is used to creamy consistency, sweetness, cold temperature, fizziness and heat (alcohol).

A good way to figure out how your own palate works, write down a list things you liked to eat/drink when you were a child, adolescent, and now, as an adult. Note their characteristics. What are your palate preferences?

In Italy, palates are different. This explains why Caramel, Cinnamon and Pumpkin Spice coffee flavors are popular at Starbucks in the U.S,. and why Americans tend to order cappuccino as an after dinner drink.

Italians, on the other hand, tend to drink cappuccino only as a breakfast drink and espresso straight up otherwise. Neither is right or wrong, better or worse, just different.

Your palate is a highly sensitive mechanism designed to detect both subtlety and intensity in different wine types. But once you expose it to intensity (big, heavy, red wine), you won’t taste subtlety (light white).

If you want your palate to work well, go in order from light white to heavier white, then, from light red to heavier red and then, to sweet or liquored

Drinking alcohol before a meal (also known as ‘the cocktail culture’) influences American wine culture: better to find a wine that is easy drinking (harmonious without a lot of acidity or tannins) so it can stand on its own without food.

The Italian wine culture, however, does it right where wine is served in the context of food:

  • a crisp white wine with lots of acidity or minerality to clear the richness of a risotto.
  • a light red with some acidity to go with bread and cheese at lunch
  • structured red wine to counter the fattiness and weight of a big meat dish. 

As you get to know your palate and begin experimenting with unfamiliar wines, your tastes will evolve. Remember, vino è piacere (Wine is pleasure.) Enjoy the pleasure of playing with your .

Next up, Press – not the paparazzi type, but an actual fruit press like this:

This is an invaluable tool for – it makes extracting the juice from the fruit pulp after fermentation so much easier. What’s cool is you don’t have to use it just to make wine – you can make fresh apple cider, or any fresh juice you want! Of course a juicer would probably be more ‘modern’, but this puppy has been a fun tool to use in my winemaking adventure.

Winemaking is so much fun – at least for me – and am tickled every time I give the wine I make as gifts to friends and family who love drinking it as much as I love making it. While we go through this alphabetical series on winemaking, if you have any burning questions, be sure to ask them in the comments below, and I’ll reply there – and maybe even highlight your specific question(s) in a future post!

Thanks for joining me in this fun adventure!

Here are the links going backwards for your convenience, in case you missed any:

A for Aromas, Acidity and Appearance
B for Barrels, Bottles and Blackberry Wine
C for Color, Clarity, Carboys and Cherry Wine
D for Decanting and Decanters
E for Equipment
F for Fermentation
G for Glass and Grape
H for Harvest
I for Infusion
J
for Jeroboam and Jug
K for Kabinett
L for Leaf, Label and Lees
M for Merlot, Muscat and Must
N – the Nose has it!
O for Oak and Oxidation

This entry was posted in A-Z Challenge, Wine, Wine Making, Winemaking and tagged , , , , , by StacyUncorked. Bookmark the permalink.

About StacyUncorked

After 20+ years in the Corporate World and years of infertility, Stacy was surprised when Princess Nagger made her miraculous appearance - deciding to forgo the career and stay home was a no-brainer. As if her hands weren't full enough, 8 years later she and her husband added Little Dude through adoption, adding a whole new dimension (of crazy) to their family and even more sleepless nights. When she’s not refereeing kids, dogs and cats, she loves to write, hence the reason she decided to start her little blog, and because she never got a baby book to mark milestones, this was the next best thing. She also enjoys doing reviews and giveaways for products she or her family would willingly use and can stand behind. She loves to cook and try new techniques to turn ordinary into extraordinary. Crafty by nature, she takes on a lot of unique projects and enjoy seeing the end result. Her favorite, of course, is making her award winning wine out of fruits and grapes. Experiments with water currently underway.
Recent Related Posts

8 thoughts on “Home Winemaking – “P” for Palate and Press (not Paparazzi)! #AtoZChallenge

    • Thank you, Ellen! I know the ‘big contraption’ you speak of – I think my brother and his wine buddies rent a similar contraption when they’re doing big batches of their wine. 🙂 Thanks for reading along! 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *