Every once and a while you lose it. Any number of factors could contribute to this but when it comes to wine production or tasting it is usually because you’ve been drinking the same thing on a consistent basis.
A couple weeks back I had one of those “ah-ha” moments. It came after tasting a crazy lineup of Howell Mountain wines (mostly Cabernets or Bordeaux blends with a couple of Zins mixed in). Leading up to that tasting it had been a loooooong time since I had been able to go through a tasting lineup to see how one appellation performs for a bunch of different producers.
Up to that point the Howell Mountain wines I have had recently were immense. The vast majority were 2012 and 2013 vintages. They were big, bold and as far as I was concerned babies that needed to grow up quite a bit over the next 7-10 years of aging. All those wines could benefit from some time but I was able to wrap my head around that Howell Mountain appellation. After going through that lineup you start to taste what was normal for that region. All of a sudden the huge Cabernets I have had over the last few months didn’t seem so huge. I broke out of the lighter and brighter realm of wines and got into the dark and brooding side real fast.
What surprised me was how mellow those intense, young Cabernets were after a couple of them. All of a sudden my eyes, and tastebuds for that matter, were wide open. I realized real fast that the condition known as house-palate had hit me hard and fast. In short that meant that I grown way WAY to accustom to a certain set of wines. I wasn’t totally opposed to that but it did mean I would lose perspective on many other producers and regions. The big downside to that is there are a lot of great wines out there that don’t taste so great because of that lack of perspective.
Long story short (but thanks for reading all of it!) is that the last thing you want to do is lose that perspective when it comes to wine. You never know when you might find your next favorite or be that much more impressed by an old one.
PS: Here is the lineup of those Howell Mountain wines plus a couple of extras: