This last weekend I had the pleasure of tasting wine with one of my favorite wine snobs, the one and only Gary Vaynerchuk!

Picture of he lintand Gary Vaynerchuk

What really caught my attention as we tasted wine was the way that he surveyed the group about their tastes as we went through each wine. Folks smelled and tasted each wine and shared their thoughts between each. It was very interesting to see the different aromas and tastes that each person picked out.

The human palate has always intrigued me. A few years back I attended a presentation on taste with a Chef from the CIA (I should know his name but I can’t find it in my notes….). During the presentation he gave us a taste test to determine how sensitive our taste buds are. The results pegged me as a “supertaster”. What a great thing for a chef!

Now the problem with this is that not everyone has the same taste sensations. What may be salty to me will be fine for you, etc. The wine tasting was a perfect place to see this in action. Many of the wines that I liked were disliked by others and vice versa.

What this means for me as a chef and caterer is to discover what foods you like, how you like them and all the things that you don’t like so that I can create stellar menus. I’m working on re-writing my customer profile that I use to get all the info together for a party so that I can try to better determine what the hosts enjoy.

The other side of the coin is to create dishes and menus that please the masses, because after all it’s about making the guests happy right? What a delightful challenge! Thankfully I don’t like to conform to standard menus and prefer to create things “off the cuff” which makes it a little easier to be flexible as we move forward with customers.

What does this mean for you? It means that your caterer is spending a little more time to create something unique for you and your guests.

As for the wines that we tasted, they ranged from okay to great. My favorite from the group was “The Spaniard” from Twisted Oak. I wine that I’ve enjoyed before, but it had been a while. I would have to say the second runner up was a very interesting white blend- 2009 Matthiasson from Napa Valley. I immediately got ruby red grapefruit on the nose and a hint of laurel leaves on the finish, but I think I was the only one.

Off to work on holiday menus….