Q: I'm in my 60s, and over the years, I've noticed that wines I used to like no longer excite me. I've had this same experience with some foods as well. Is this just my palate evolving? Or is there something else going on? -Dale E., Sarasota Springs, Fla.
A: Most wine lovers have a day here or there when a wine they normally love seems disappointing, and there are physical issues that can suppress your appetite, leave a bad taste in your mouth, or affect how much you enjoy food and drink, like dietary changes, medications, pregnancy, infection, acid reflux, dental problems and age.
With age, it's normal for a person's number of taste buds to decrease, leading to some loss of taste. Also, the sense of smell which aids in flavor detection can be compromised as one gets older. In 1994, the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) analyzed data from a survey concerning the pervasiveness of smell/taste problems. About 42,000 households participated in the survey. When adjusted to reflect national figures, the data revealed that those with gustatory (sense of taste) issues accounted for 1.1 million adults (approximately 0.6 percent of the population). Olfactory (sense of smell) issues occurred in 2.7 million U.S. adults (approximately 1.4 percent of the population.) And with age, the problems can be exacerbated.
If you suspect you may be experiencing a serious distortion of your sense of taste, it could be a symptom of more serious problems and you should consult with your doctor.