How to improve your palate for wine?

Own tasting is a very subjective matter. Our senses are related to our chemical processes, which despite being based on the same dynamics among people, outcomes differently for each of us.

With a certain degree of intensity, we all recognize four basic stimulus from our tongue: salty, sweet, acid, bitter. Sipping, and I want stress it, sipping wine, will trigger this. Focusing on this you can evaluate the intensity of your tasting perceptions. Very possible you find yourself to have a sweet taste as opposite to bitter, salty more than acid, etc.

There is no right or wrong, is just your personal setup. It is very possible that more strong stimulus, coming from other things we eat or drink or smoke, will bias our tasting, which will force us and our brain to make more work to focus on the basic sensations. Educating back our buds is a way to fix this.

Once you learn yourself as per above, your aim in tasting wine, should be to understand if it is correct clean and balanced. Terms that identify if the wine is properly made; does not show visual and tasting imperfection from the making process (here the off smell is what you are looking for, the most common being the corked one); the in-mouth sensations are balanced or some defect is perceived. Just a note: a part from the 4 above basic sensations and the warm feeling caused by the alcohol, all the other tasting you experience in the mouth, are in reality the work of our nose.

This the basic. How to improve? By definition improving is always related to where things start from. So start investigation, trial and error, comparison, aiming to recognize more distinctive flavors, aromas and nuances. At first your description, could not be in line with the common language, professionals put together to understand each other, but consider that your olfactory memory experience, differs from others born, grown and lived in a different environment. Also, what we perceive and describe is based on chemical elements that we find in several substances of different nature.

To the point: unless you aim to be a wine blogger or a competition judge, my first suggestion would be to just not consider the fancy descriptions you hear or read, about what is in the smell or taste of a given wine. Focus on the basic and most important: TRUST YOUR OWN PALATE.