Skip to main content

A Scratch and Sniff Wine Guide #FoodieReads


When a friend posted a photos of a cookbook sale, I spotted this book - The Essential Scratch and Sniff Guide to Becoming a Wine Expert: Take a Whiff of That by Richard Betts.* And I half-joked that I needed that book in my life.

So, as best friends often do, she picked it up for me and gave it to me on a day when I really needed a chuckle. Love that. Love her!

I'll admit: when I saw the title, I thought it was going to be a joke. Turns out Betts is a master sommelier and his humorous approach will certainly make wine more fun for all. Betts gives the reader a tasting road map, explaining how tasting is actually really smelling. "We actually taste only sweet, sour, salt, bitter, and a savory thing that Japanese call umami. All the rest of the stuff are actually just aromas or smells."



He explains the difference between "red" and "black" fruit in red wines. He examines the fruit you might taste in white wines.

He details why all oak barrels are not created equal. But, at the end of the day, I think I loved his big idea best. Betts writes, " When my work is done, we'll all have wine like civilized people do the world over - at lunch, at dinner, with food, family, and friends. Doesn't matter what it is...just as long as it makes you smile."

And this book certainly made me smile. 
It's fun, engaging, and definitely a conversation starter. I found the smelly stickers were pretty weak, but the information was still relevant. A reader asked what the stickers smell like. There's a cherry sticker on the fruit about red fruit. There's a pear sticker on the white wine page. There are also stickers that smell like vanilla, roses, and dirt. So, the stickers don't smell like wine. They are the aromas or notes you would find in wine.

I will have this book on my table for a wine tasting I'm hosting next week. Should be fun for all.

*This blog currently has a partnership with Amazon.com in their affiliate program, which gives me a small percentage of sales if you buy a product through a link on my blog. It doesn't cost you anything more. If you are uncomfortable with this, feel free to go directly to Amazon.com and search for the item of your choice.

Here's what everyone else read in July 2018: here.

Comments

  1. You did not make it clear if the scratchable patches actually smell like wine, so that you can learn to distinguish between different varieties? That would be really interesting!

    best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  2. Well you have to give the author credit for finding a niche to intrigue readers who have had their fill of books about wine.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Quick Pickled Red Onions and Radishes

If you've been reading my blog for even a short amount of time, you probably know how much I love to pickle things. I was just telling a friend you can pickle - with vinegar - or you can ferment - with salt - for similar delicious effect. The latter has digestive benefits and I love to do that, but when I need that pop of sour flavor quickly, I whip up quick pickles that are ready in as little as a day or two. I've Pickled Blueberries , Pickled Asparagus , Pickled Cranberries , Pickled Pumpkin , and even Pickled Chard Stems ! This I did last night for an upcoming recipe challenge that requires I include radishes. Ummmm...of course I'm pickling them! Ingredients  makes 1 quart jar radishes, trimmed and sliced organic red onions, peeled and thinly sliced (I used a mandolin slicer) 3/4 C vinegar (I used white distilled vinegar) 3/4 C water 3 T organic granulated sugar 1 T salt (I used some grey sea salt) 6 to 8 grinds of black pepper Proce

Hot Chocolate Agasajo-Style {Spice It Up!}

photo by D For my Spice It Up! kiddos this week, I was looking for an exotic drink to serve while we learned about saffron. I found a recipe from food historian Maricel Presilla that mimicked traditional Spanish hot chocolate from the 17th century where it was served at lavish receptions called agasajos . When I teach, I don't always get to shoot photos. Thankfully, D grabbed my camera and snapped a few. Ingredients serves 14-16 1 gallon organic whole milk 3 T dried rosebuds - or 2 t rosewater 2 t saffron threads, lightly crushed 3 T ground cinnamon 3 whole tepin chiles, crushed 2 vanilla beans, split lengthwise 1 C organic granulated sugar 1 lb. bittersweet chocolate Procedure In a large soup pot that can hold a gallon plus, combine milk, dried rosebuds (or rosewater, if you are using that), saffron threads, ground cinnamon, chiles, vanilla beans, and sugar and warm over medium heat till it steams. Whisk to dissolve sugar, then lower heat an

Aloo Tiki {Pakistan}

To start off our Pakistani culinary adventure, I started us off with aloo tiki - potato cutlets. I'm always game for tasty street food. I found a couple of different recipes and incorporated those together for this version. Ingredients 6-8 small red potatoes, scrubbed 1 T cumin seeds 1 T fresh chopped parsley 1/2 t ground coriander 1 t minced garlic Procedure Boil the potatoes until they are tender. Drain and let cool. Mash the potatoes. Traditionally they are mashed without their skins. I left the skins on. In a small pan, toast the cumin seeds on high heat until the begin to give off an aroma and begin to darken. Remove from heat and transfer to a plate to keep them from cooking any more. Blend all of the spices into the mashed potatoes, then shape into small patties. If you wet your hands, the potato mixture won't stick to them. Heat a splash of oil in a large, flat-bottom pan. Dip each patty into beaten egg and carefully place in the oil. P