This common palate variation is the reason why wine tasting notes and scores should be based on the quality of the structure, balance and texture... NOT on the flavors.
She says: There must be about 50% variation in palates as when we do blind taste tests of several wines, the variance is sometimes mind boggling. Even when we have blindly tasted two bottles of the exact same wine, same vintage, etc.
Recommendation: If you don't know someone's palate and you are buying wine for them as a gift - I'd suggest 3 things - (1) buy a wine that goes with a specific FOOD and attach a food recommendation for that wine - or a recipe for a dish that goes with the wine if you like to cook.
(2) Give 2 bottles of wine - 1 white and 1 red with good reputations and again make food recommendations.
(3) If it's not a serious occasion, buy a "fun wine" - a wine with a name / label / saying that relates to something or someone you both know. Once, when I was shopipng last minute for a bottle of wine for a blind wine tasting, I chose a wine with the humorous note on the bottom that read "Open other end." At the very least we would have a good laugh. Completely unexpectedly - that wine rated #1 at that blind tasting. Win-WIn.
Which wine was it? Frog's Leap, Rutherford Cabernet - 2001 or 2002 - can't remember. But every Frog's Leap Rutherford Cabernet I've had since then is outstanding. You can read more about this "happy accident" here: http://bit.ly/FrogsLeapRutherfordCabernet
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