The Palate Personality Palette

From newbie to snob, there are myriad wine personalities—which one’s yours? 

Photo by Jon Estrada

Photo by Jon Estrada

You are … the Griller. To you, vegetables are a side dish, like chicken and fish. You live for fire, preferably the steady smoldering kind that turns artisanal and primal cuts of beef and other meats into works of edible art. Of course you have a smoker—duh. White wine is for drinking while the guests arrive, but the main course craves only reds, and the bolder the better. Nothing wrong with that—it’s just your wine personality! And there are several wines perfect for you at the 41st annual UNLVino April 16-18 at the Venetian, Red Rock Resort and Paris Las Vegas.

A UNLVino veteran since he first manned a booth in 1981, Tony Goitia knows a little something about wine personalities. The Southern Wine & Spirits of Nevada territory manager has been selling wine for more than 30 years. And in that time, Goitia’s clinked glasses with every wine personality that’s out there.

Oh, yeah, he’s got your number.


The Newbie

“Pink wine is girly, red is bitter and bubbly is sweet—right?”
➜ Are you just discovering wine? If so, chances are you haven’t tried very many, and you probably haven’t found out which type(s) you like. Over the years, I’ve discovered that newbies prefer wines with a bit (or a lot) of sweetness; you might find dry wines to be “too sour” for your palate at first. If this is you, try a sparkling moscato, a wine that has been around for years, but has become very popular recently. At Bubble-Licious, look for Stella Rosa Moscato. It’s young, bubbly and sweet—a neophyte can’t go wrong. And you gotta start somewhere.


The Wine Snob

“I won’t drink anything with a synthetic cork, and don’t even get me started on the screw cap.”
➜ You always presume to know more about wine than all of your friends, so you’re not the easiest person to impress. You need a wine with layers of flavors and complexity, such that when you take a sip, it makes you think about what you taste. Is that dark fruit, dried fruit or chocolate I’m tasting? How about the nose—coffee, leather or cigar box? For you, I would pick a wine from Spain. Why? Layers of flavors. Most Spanish wines are aged in oak for years, and then in bottle for a few more before they’re released. At the Grand Tasting, try Palacios Remondo “La Vendimia.”


The One-Upper

“Oh, yeah? So I’m talking to the master blender, right, and he says …”
➜ If you bought your car for $30,000, he got the same car for $27,000. If you went skydiving at 20,000 feet, he did it at 25,000. (I hate this guy!) So, what to serve him? Something that would be difficult to one-up. Just ask him: How old do you think a very old winery is? True, the Robert Mondavi winery’s first vintage was 1966. Yeah, well, the Ricasoli winery was founded in 1141. To put it in perspective, it is the second-oldest winery in the world, and the fourth-oldest company in the world. Look for the Ricasoli Barone Chianti Classico at the Grand Tasting, and just you try to one-up that!


The Silent Type

“ … ”
➜ For starters, you’re probably a guy, since I’ve never encountered a woman silent around wine. There’s nothing wrong with you per se, you just don’t talk a lot; every word has to be coaxed out. So, let’s give you something to talk about: bubbly! Sparkling wine gets into your bloodstream faster than still wines, giving you a bit of a quick buzz. Even the quietest types get talkative when they start hitting the bubbly. Segura Viudas Reserva Heredad is, in my opinion, the finest cava (sparkling wine from Spain) being produced. Try a glass at Bubble-Licious … then try another. So good, I’ll put it up against bubbles at twice the price.


The Un-Silent Type

“Were those barrels sustainably harvested? Are these grapes Fair Trade certified? You should definitely come to my next blind tasting and cheese party—it should be a real Gouda time!”
➜ OK, do you ever shut up? And, also, you’re loud! I want you to drink something that will leave you speechless. Literally. You’ll need a blockbuster of a wine: big tannins, loaded with fruit, high alcohol—in other words, a real mouthful! At the Grand Tasting, sample the Justin Savant, a delicious blend of syrah, cabernet sauvignon and petite sirah so good that you won’t be able to stop drinking it, giving the rest of us a few minutes to get a word in edgewise.


The Experimenter

“Do you have any of that ‘orange wine’ I’ve been reading about?”
➜ Food, fashion, hairstyles—you’ll try anything once. The coolest thing about a tasting is that if you don’t like it, you can always dump it. Naturally, UNLVino will feature a number of new—or new-to-you!—wines. Give these a swirl at the Grand Tasting: Boomtown Pinot Gris, Mud House Sauvignon Blanc, The Federalist Zinfandel, Dewitt Family Cabernet Sauvignon, Whispering Angel Rosé and Menage a Trois “Midnight.” At Bubble-Licious, look for Henriot Brut Souverain, Mumm Blanc de Blancs, Berlucchi Franciacorta, Piper-Heidsieck Brut, Moët & Chandon Brut Imperial and Belaire Brut.


The Trendster

“Omigod, that’s what they drink on The Real Housewives of Atlanta!”
➜ You watch every reality-TV show and take detailed notes about what the stars wear, drink, eat and drive. It’s all about the label and the image. So drink what the stars drink: Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label. In case you didn’t know, veuve means “widow” in French. In the time of Napoleon, Widow Clicquot inherited the winery when she was just a young woman! But she was a natural, and actually made some improvements in the production of Champagne that are still used to this day. In her time, Widow Clicquot would have been a leading lady, for sure. You can find it—you guessed it!—at Bubble-Licious.


The Young Bro

“Bro, like, I don’t know anything about, like, wine, but, like, my woman loves it, and I need to, like, try some so I can, like, get lucky. Know what I’m sayin’, bro?”
➜ Really, bro? You just said “like,” like, five times. It’s almost impossible to go to a wine tasting these days without running into someone like you, if not a few of you. But I understand your plight, and I want to help, I do. So, you need to, like, go to the Grand Tasting, and try a very, like, cool wine called If You See Kay. You’ll dig it, bro. I also want to know if you get the not-so-hidden humor in the name of the wine. Know what I’m sayin’, bro?

Take a Sip for Scholarship aT UNLVino 2015!

Bubble-Licious, 7-10 p.m. April 16, the Venetian, $125-$150.
Sake Fever, 7-10 p.m. April 17, Red Rock Resort, $100-$125.
The Grand Tasting, 7-10 p.m. April 18, Paris Las Vegas, $125-$150.

Tickets available at



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