Tasting like a Wine-er: MidPalate

What is the midpalate for a wine and why is so important ?

If you attend enough wine seminars or wine tastings led by well schooled wine people, you’re going to hear about the midpalate. Here’s a little context so the next time you hear the word midpalate, you may have a better understanding of what’s being described.

There are many different names given to the sequence of tasting wine. What they all have in common is that there are three stages to the sequence:

The first stage is called the approach or called “the attack” by some people. No matter which term is used, it is referring to the first impression you have of the wine when it hits your palate.

The second stage is almost always referred to as the midpalate; however, it is often confused with indicating a precise place in your mouth, but that’s far from all that it means. It is what registers in your mouth while you hold the wine after the first sip. It’s the wine’s evolving flavors. It’s the mouthfeel of the texture, structure and complexity of the wine. It’s all those sensations you get between the approach and the finish.  As far as I am concerned, there is no great wine that doesn’t fill out the midpalate.   

The final stage is the finish. Also called the aftertaste. In essence, it’s a measure of the taste or flavors that linger in the mouth after you taste the wine. 

If a wine is missing a midpalate, it can be referred to by many descriptors: 

“It goes from sip to swallow with nothing in between.”
“It’s like a doughnut because it’s missing it’s middle.”
“The wine is linear.” 
“The wine is one and done.”

Btw, none of these are compliments.

Here’s to wines with a great approach, a killer midpalate, and a lingering finish.