Let me give you a classical example of sensory adaptation.
You enter a fast food restaurant and the smell of fries catches immediately your attention. You will be made aware of the smell but after few minutes you won’t smell it anymore.
Your sensitivity to this odor gradually decreases to the point you don’t smell it anymore, however any new customer entering the restaurant will smell it.
To explain sensory fatigue, let’s go back to the chain of sensory perception discussed briefly on the Five Senses page. To perceive and recognize an aroma for example, there should be enough aromatic compounds reaching your olfactory receptors so you can be conscious of the perception. When the stimulus is very intense however, the sensory system will “shut down” once it has conveyed the information to your brain for few seconds.
The consequence is a decrease in sensitivity of your senses, and you are likely to perceive the aromas or tastes less and less intensively.
This phenomenon can affect your wine tasting experience in several ways:
Adaptation is different from what another phenomenon. Habituation is a psychological response to repeated stimuli and leads to a similar sensory response, i.e. a decrease in intensity rating of the perceived stimulus. Habituation is also considered a tasting error.
Tasting experience or expertise cannot counter adaptation. It is beyond your self-control. All you can do is rest your senses by the strategy described above.