Blog, Food, Enjoyment, Liebherr, Sommelier, Wine, Wine Tasting, Cheese
Taking part in a wine tasting evening with like-minded friends is almost guaranteed to be a joyous and informative occasion. It’s not uncommon for fresh white bread, cheese and other snacks to be served. This is to both “cleanse the palate” and prevent the wine from going to your head too quickly.

As new vintages are bottled and delivered, professional tasters will see their diaries filling and a very busy schedule developing. All the major wine fairs – which are usually for trade visitors only – will soon be under way. Prowein, which is held in Düsseldorf, Germany in mid-March, launches the wine year for professional buyers and journalists. Spring then ushers in other important fairs such as Vinitaly in Verona, the London Wine Trade Fair in the UK and the Wine and Spirit Wholesalers Association Convention in Orlando, FL.
The manner in which professional tasters undertake their craft at these fairs stands in marked contrast to the usual etiquette of a social tasting hosted by the local wine merchant or winery. There a tremendously greater selection of wines on offer. There are also practices that the layperson might find rather surprising!

Wine Tasting Rule #1: Sip and Spit!

That’s right, it is absolutely taboo to swallow at a professional wine tasting! After analyzing a sample of the wine, the taster will spit his sip into a specially provided container. It’s a necessity, really: A hardworking taster might get through more than a hundred samples in a day.

A further distinction between professional tastings and convivial wine tastings is the total lack of bread or similar snacks that people tuck into to “cleanse the palate”. Bread isn’t quite as neutral as people believe. It has a significant influence on our sense of taste. To a certain extent, the starch in the bread is converted to sugar during chewing. This causes the wine’s acids to taste more prominent than they actually are.

Cleaning Your Palate Between Wines Is Not Necessary

What is true for bread also applies to nuts and almonds, which are also often served at genial wine tastings – a practice that leaves professionals aghast. It really isn’t necessary at all to cleanse the palate between tastings. The flavor of the subsequent wine almost immediately erases that of the previous one. Only when changing between types of wine – such as when going from very heavy reds to light white wines, and particularly when going from sweet to dry wines – will a professional taster take a sip of water, to make sure they have a neutral palate for the next round of tastings.

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