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can you "scorch" a palate?


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I haven't really looked as hard as I could, so forgive me if this is covered in another thread someplace. But can you temporarily 'damage' your palate regarding wine? I have this problem sometimes when tasting wine, especially reds, that I register excessive acidity and alchohol when tasing wine that is perfectly fine. Sometimes, when I taste a wine to verify whether it is corked for a table, I am unable to taste for the rest of the evening. The 'scortched' flavor remains for hours, even after drinking lots of water, eating, whatever.

Is this normal, or at least not totally uncommon, or am I doing something that is affecting my taste buds? I notice it most on the top of my tongue. My ability to taste food and most drinks is not affected usually. The exception to that is cocktails that contain citrus juice.

This does not happen all the time, but often enough to impair my ability to enjoy a glass of wine. Professionally it distorts my ability during tastings and gives me too many 'false positives' regarding possible corked wine.

Does anyone have any suggestions on how to handle this? It's starting to bum me out. Especially tonight when someone poured me a glass of one of my favorite wines, and I couldn't enjoy it.

Thanks,

Sean

whoops, misspelled scorch. :sad:

Edited by Snowy is dead (log)
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I know that if I taste wine shortly after brushing my teeth my palate is screwed for a couple of hours; the same for having a couple of early morning or late afternoon espresso's and my palates dead for most of the day.

Stephen Bonner

Vancouver

"who needs a wine list when you can get pissed on dessert" Gordon Ramsey Kitchen Nightmares 2005

MY BLOG

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As might be said, there is good news and there is bad news. The bad news is that this can happen under several circumstances - in your own case for example, of a high sensitivity to acidity, excess alcohol or in others to TCA or Brett; in the case where one tastes 20, 30 or more wines and starts to feel a dullness of the palate; after brushing one's teeth; after eating certain kinds of food (especially chili-pepper based hot foods).

The good news is that this isn't as catastrophic to tasting wines as might be burning the palate or tongue with a super-hot pizza.

Several suggestions for avoiding it: (a) When you know you're going to be tasting wines (or dining well) brush your teeth without toothpaste or, if you must use something, baking soda; (b) avoid super hot foods; © avoid chocolate (which coats the taste buds and thus dulls the palate.

Several suggestions for dealing with the phenomenon: (a) Travel with a small plastic bag with coold cooked white rice - boiled, no salt. (b) Travel always with a small medium or soft toothbrush. When you feel that this situation has occured make your way to a private place (ideal a toilet facility), there first to brush your tongue with the toothbrush and then rinse your mouth. Second, to chew the white rice well, making sure that it gets all over your tongue and hits the roof of your mouth as well as the inside of your cheeks. Do not swallow the rice.....simply spit it out (that's why privacy is required) and then again rinse your mouth well with cold water. If that doesn't work smile, make your way back to either work or your meal and drink water instead of wine.

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Thanks for the replys. I do drink an awful low of coffee, so maybe that is part of the problem. This is a fairly recent issue for me, but has gotten worse. When it is bad, I notice it with beer as well. Alchohol and acidity (hoegaarden) overwhelm me. Could it also be something simple, like dehydration? The bret thing confuses me, is that a fungus? I have to admit I don't know about it. Would it be something that affects a random bottle within a case, or is it like sulfites, and always 'just there?' The wines are not always the same, but usually once it happens, it's over for the night, regardless of what I eat, drink, or do.

Sean

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The bret thing confuses me, is that a fungus?  I have to admit I don't know about it.  Would it be something that affects a random bottle within a case, or is it like sulfites, and always 'just there?'

Hi Sean,

Brett is shorthand for a yeast called Brettanomyces that sometimes form colonies in wine after primary fermentation is complete. Brett creates a couple of compounds that smell either horsey or barnyard, and sometimes medicinal. Some call it a fault, others say it adds complexity. It depends on the concentration in the wine.

Brett is most common in red wines that are made with a more "hands off" approach where less SO2 is used as a preservative. The reason that red wines are affected more readily than whites is because SO2 is more effective in wines of higher acidity (i.e. lower pH, note that this doesn't necessarily mean "tart"). Red wines are typically less acidic (higher pH) than whites, so you get more brett.

Jamie Goode has a very nice article on brett over at his site that goes into quite a bit of detail: http://www.wineanorak.com/brettanomyces.htm

Hope this helps,

Josh

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[...]

Brett is shorthand for a yeast called Brettanomyces that sometimes form colonies in wine after primary fermentation is complete. Brett creates a couple of compounds that smell either horsey or barnyard, and sometimes medicinal. Some call it a fault, others say it adds complexity. It depends on the concentration in the wine.

[...]

Just for the sake of completeness, Brettanomyces can also be a fault or a feature in some styles of beer. It is notably used in some of the more complex or wild fermented Belgian beers. Saisons and that sort of thing. Some Belgian style brewers in the US intentionally introduce colonies into their beers.

---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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I know exactly what you're talking about and I sympathise - I get this sometimes and it's always unpredictable. Seems like a simple alteration of mouth chemistry and it passes after 12-24 hrs. I usually brush my teeth really well without toothpaste and that helps, but does not resolve the problem. I"m not convinced there is anything you can do. Small, temporary shifts is body chemistry is not unusual, just inconvenient - but maybe I'm being complacent.

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I stayed away from coffee while in New York and that seemed to help.

Still had some issues, but barely. I also have a tendency to drink alot of coffee, so maybe that is the issue, coupled with a little dehydration.

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