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The Essential Scratch and Sniff Guide to Becoming a Wine Expert: Take a Whiff of That Board book – October 15, 2013

3.9 out of 5 stars 297 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

A Look Inside Essential Scratch and Sniff

Review

"Smart, fun, enlightening, and refreshingly free of snobbery."
Real Simple

"The master sommelier Richard Betts’s clever new scratch-and-sniff book is likely to broaden the novice’s appreciation of wine, explaining how aromas relate to different varietals.... A useful chart that ties bouquets to wines is tucked inside."
—Florence Fabricant for The New York Times

"Fiendishly clever."
Food & Wine

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Product Details

  • Board book: 22 pages
  • Publisher: Rux Martin/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; Mus Brdbk/ edition (October 15, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0544005031
  • ISBN-13: 978-0544005037
  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (297 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,528 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Board book Verified Purchase
A scratch and sniff guide to wine? Really? It seemed like a silly concept at first. Then I thought about how many times I have heard other drinkers talking about what they smell in their glasses while I felt a little left out.

This book instantly made me smarter about wine. From identifying the range of fruits in the nose to understanding more about how the wood barrels and the dirt affect the scent, I learned so much.

In the back is a fold out map to the understand the smells of the entire wine world. You start in the middle and "sniff" your way out to the edge learning how to identify the types of wine you like most.

I love this book. Keeping it close by as I open more bottles and definitely picking up copies for friends. Highly recommend.
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Format: Board book Verified Purchase
I've had other wine books before but frankly, they were so complicated I needed to pour myself a glass of wine just to keep reading. This funny, engaging and quick scratch and sniff book was fantastic. Who knew a Master Sommelier could (or would) use such a humorous format to share his passion to the masses of us who enjoy wine. This book is enjoyable even after a few drinks. It would be great at a get together with a few good bottles uncorked to educate yourselves with while your reading. Thanks Richard Betts!
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Format: Board book
I'm not much of a wine person. I have found one or two bottles that I really like, but almost never seek wine out for any particular reason. I don't even remember the last time I actually bought a bottle of wine, much less a glass of wine at a restaurant.

That said, I knew I had to have this book when I saw it. I love the idea of taking complex subjects and breaking them down to their component parts, and this book certainly does that. The author, Richard Betts, has taken the 80/20 rule even further and condensed this subject down even further.

The book focuses on identifying the component smells in bottle of wine, where wine comes from, and what kind of wine you should seek out depending on your mood. In the 20 minutes it takes to read the book, I learned much more about wine than I ever knew I wanted to know.

The scratch and sniff stickers are hit and miss, mostly miss, but that's fine. It doesn't take away from the book at all in my opinion, and when they work its a nice touch. The poster that comes with the book is small, but very informative.

In short, get this book. Even if you don't drink wine, it will make you want to pick up a bottle or two and try again. Highly, highly recommended.
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Format: Board book Verified Purchase
I've been tasting--and drinking!--wine for decades. My friends tend to think of me as something of a connoisseur. But when I read descriptions like "undertones of rose petals beneath burnt shoe leather" I roll my eyes.

This book, on the other hand, oversimplifies, decomposing wine into a handful of aromas. I think that's a good starting point, and I applaud the author for cutting through the crap of wine puffery. But there is another level or two of subtlety beyond this book, and it won't make you an "expert".

In format it's a 22 page board book, much like you'd give a small child. But the text, as well as the subject, is grown up. It walks you through the basic categories of wine smells--the biggest components of taste--and lets you "scratch & sniff". As such, it's a great starting point for understanding wine.

What's peculiar is that while the author does noble service in cutting through the pretense that surrounds--and inflicts--wine tasting and wine descriptions, he feels the need to posture his brief, otherwise excellent, introduction as a guide that will make readers experts. In that, he's actually pretentious in attacking pretension.

If you are a beginner trying to understand what wine people are talking about, this book is a good starting point, as well as a good corrective to snobbery. But it's not an expert guide.
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Format: Board book Verified Purchase
I found out about this book through friends associated with the folks responsible for the book coming into existence. I started out doing the normal thing that friends do in supporting their creative projects and immediately realized that the book is of incredible value and exceptionally fun to boot. The idea of taking something as complex as wine and simplifying it into the format of a children's book for adults is amazing and the execution outstanding. A 21-page book teaches everyone how to understand the most important things about wine, where all of it comes from, and the nuances that train your palate to favor one kind over another (and what it means). This is a whole new generation of "for dummies" that really makes everyone into a knowledgeable wine expert in their own right in short order. Bravo!
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Format: Board book Verified Purchase
Simply the finest "guide" I have ever read. Incredibly readable and educational which is difficult to attain. You will find this book to be delightful, and then you will find that you have actually learned that "wine is a grocery, not a luxury." My Holiday gift conundrums are no longer an issue.
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Format: Board book Verified Purchase
The Scratch and Sniff just smell like the coating on the pages- chemically. The book is cute and I am still glad I got it- but as far as a scratch and sniff book, I'd give this an F.
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