Saturday, May 1, 2010

Cleansing The Palate For Extended Wine Enjoyment

I know that I’m not exactly “normal” when it comes to my wine drinking. For that matter, I’m not too normal on anything. However, I do know that when I have to drink or taste a substantial amount of wine over a long period of time, I get pretty ripped up. No!! I’m not talking about getting drunk. I’m talking about when your mouth gets so sore from the astringency of the wine that you just can’t take another sip.

A recent wine experience got me to thinking about this. I took some friends around the region tasting. I was the Designated Driver, so rather than drinking anything I was destined to spit all day.

While not getting any alcohol, I could taste things that I hadn’t had in a while, and participate to some level with the rest of the group. Just as expected, after not too many winery stops my mouth was on fire! Too many heavily oaked barrels and unripe vintages had me not even wanting to look at another glass.

This got me to thinking about palate cleansing. What is the best method for cleansing the palate so the astringency in my favorite wines doesn’t make my mouth so sore?

I did some research. What I found was that the French have been cleansing their palates for centuries, often as a mid-course in a meal. Usually the cleanser is a citrusy sorbet, parsely, or some other item that neutralizes the flavors and cleanses the mouth.

Further, I looked into research that has been done specifically on cleansing and wine. I found that the most commonly used are crackers, cheeses, vegetables such as carrots and cucumbers, and water. Most research indicates that water is the best for removing astringents from the palate.

My friend Laura Miller is somewhat of a water expert. She owns a company called Ion Ways, which distributes special water filtration machines. These machines are used mostly for taking the acidity out of water and balancing the Ph for health reasons. My brother-in-law, and many other people I know believe in the healing waters of these machines. Her website is

I scored a bottle of water from Laura then went home to do full-on research. I grabbed a bottle of pretty astringent cab/syrah blend that I don’t recommend, a bottle of Dasani water, Laura’s ionized water, citrus sorbet, ginger beer, carrot sticks, and the ever popular plain oyster crackers.

I took a swig of the wine, and fully macerated it in my mouth. My mouth felt adequately full of sandpaper. I followed that with the crackers, which moderately cleansed my palate. I repeated with the wine, and followed with the sorbet. Still pretty good, but not completely taken care of. This process was repeated over and again with each of the products.

Overall, my findings were that water was probably the most effective. I’m convinced that the Ionized water did the trick the best for me. But, when I did this experiment with my wife she felt that the crackers were the best method. The nice thing is that both the crackers and the water were portable. The sorbet melts in your pocket.

On another note. In all my research I found yet another company that has a water product that is specifically bottled for this purpose called SanTasti. I ordered some samples for further research. You can try it yourself by going to .


1 comment:

  1. Since I tend to put Squirt or 7-Up in wine I'm thinkin' I may not be the best judge.


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