In 1678, an English writer named John Bunyan published an allegory called The Pilgrim's Progress. In it, the main character, called Christian, journeys from his hometown to the "Celestial City," and has many adventures along the way as he evolves from sinner to salvation.
In our Forums, a thread has evolved I'll call "The Palate's Progress."
The initial post, by "futronic," theorized that wine lovers journey along a predictable path as their palates progress, from New World reds to Old World reds and, finally, if they're wise, to the great dry whites of the world. (On futronic's list, these all seem to be French, from Condrieu to Chablis to Sancerre, among others.)
So far, nearly 60 responses have been posted. No real pattern has emerged, however. While some posters followed futronic's path, others began their wine journeys with sweeter Rieslings, or Old World reds or even blush wines like white Zin. But almost everyone seemed to accept the idea that people's palates do change as they experience different wines and learn more about them.
In my case, I have to confess that my earliest wine experiences were in college with soda pop concoctions like Annie Green Springs. Sigh.
My wine epiphany came when I was 25. I had been traveling in Morocco, lost in a world of new and confusing flavors, and when I landed back in Spain, I bought a garlic sausage and a bottle of red Rioja. Somehow those flavors tasted like home. I understood them in a way that combined sensory and cultural signals and just made sense.
A little later, broke, I traveled to Bordeaux to work the grape harvest. It was hard work, but I simply fell in love with the world I found there—the people, the environment and the culture all fit together and found expression in the local food and wine. I've been passionate about wine ever since.
Working for Wine Spectator, I've been fortunate to taste wines from all around the world, and at this point I couldn't really pick a favorite type. It all depends on context now. As "TGB" put it in a follow-up post, "True wine enthusiasts should embrace all wines for what they are and what they are not … Each wine has a different story to tell and each should be appreciated for their diversity."
I must admit, though, that I still don't give enough attention to certain types of wine: Piedmont reds, German Rieslings, Ports, for example. My palate still has some evolving left to do.
What about your own palate's progress? Where did you start, and where are you headed?
Michael Schulman — Westlake Village, CA — September 7, 2010 2:24pm ET
Jeffrey Ghi — New York — September 7, 2010 2:28pm ET
Jamie Sherman — Sacramento — September 7, 2010 2:43pm ET
Hoyt Hill Jr — Nashville, TN — September 7, 2010 3:36pm ET
Thomas Matthews — New York City — September 7, 2010 3:45pm ET
James Peterson — San Antonio, Texas — September 7, 2010 7:16pm ET
Andrew J Walter — Sacramento, CA — September 7, 2010 9:35pm ET
Matt Scott — Honolulu HI — September 8, 2010 1:08am ET
Thomas Matthews — New York City — September 8, 2010 8:45am ET
Jeffrey Ghi — New York — September 8, 2010 11:06am ET
Hoyt Hill Jr — Nashville, TN — September 8, 2010 2:02pm ET
David Dickson — Sacramento, CA — September 9, 2010 1:33am ET
Thomas Matthews — New York City — September 9, 2010 8:47am ET
David Peters — Mission Viejo, CA — September 10, 2010 7:14pm ET
James Peterson — San Antonio, Texas — September 10, 2010 9:30pm ET
Brian Peters — Broomfield, CO — September 11, 2010 10:15am ET
Thomas Matthews — New York City — September 11, 2010 2:09pm ET
Leonard Nole — Larchmont, NY — September 12, 2010 4:38pm ET
Steve Dow — Beavercreek, OH — September 12, 2010 6:29pm ET
Brian Peters — Broomfield, CO — September 21, 2010 8:06pm ET
Susan Blough — Boise, Id, USA — October 24, 2011 9:41am ET
Sips & Tips | Wine & Healthy Living
Video Theater | Collecting & Auctions