Updated: Oct 20, 2019
“Most of what you taste is actually the smell.”
Remember the scratch ‘n sniff stickers from your childhood, the ones we would scratch and were supposed to smell like popcorn, cotton candy, and licorice? It took him four years, but Master Sommelier Richard Betts has answered the prayers of former 1980’s sticker collectors everywhere with his new board book, The Essential Scratch and Sniff Guide to Becoming a Wine Expert: Take a Whiff of That.
Curious? Skeptical? Me too. I haven’t tried it yet, but if you ever spy me halfway through a bottle of wine and sniffing a board book it typically just means I’ve had too much wine after reading the kids their bedtime stories, so this gives me a great excuse to scratch ‘n sniff like the mature adult my mother thinks I am.
I enjoy attending wine tastings. My preferences usually gravitate toward heavy-bodied reds while turning my nose up at the sweet white wines. But what if your palate is inconsistent and unpredictable, or you wouldn’t know a granache from a syrah? Would you be interested in learning how to refine what it is you like? Many times your wine tasting attendant doesn’t have the time or training to tell you why your preferences are what they are, so maybe a whimsical board book would be a fun addition to your next wine tasting party!
“Break down the smells, isolate them, show people what they smell like, reassemble them to help people say “Okay, I like x y and z” and then it points you directly at what wine you’ll like.”
Betts (and his collaborators) have broken down the different categories of aromas we smell in our wine glasses, and with scents such as popcorn, vanilla, strawberry, pepper, tarragon, gardenia, butter, and even bacon, his promise is that he’ll help us follow our noses to the wine varietals we will love. (Bacon wine–and it’s Canadian counterpart, Back Bacon wine–should be on tap at Burger King, amiright?) This hardcopy book is available from Amazon and B&N, and you can learn more about the author here. I can’t wait to compare nose smudges above the sniffy parts with my fellow party guests!
“Wine is a grocery, not a luxury.”
Richard is determined to remove the barriers to our enjoyment of wine and being knowledgeable about what we like. I enjoyed listening to his interview on The Wine Crush from February 2016 and am convinced he is committed to taking the snobbery out of wine and educating even those of us who think we know a thing or two about grapes. Check it out!