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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
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A Look Inside Essential Scratch and Sniff
"Smart, fun, enlightening, and refreshingly free of snobbery."
"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
—Food & Wine
Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
I don't mind that it looks like a child's pop-up book because the information is very good. For example, I didn't realize that only certain red-color fruits are found in red wines, that is, the author explains that you won't find lemon or pineapple in red wines. This is news to me because I thought any fruit aroma was game to appear in any wines. Narrowing the field for me helps, but this is where the author stops short! On the page where he talks about red wine, there is an illustration of the fruits and then the scratch and sniff thing, but not one mention of the fruits! There are illustrations of cherries and what looks like strawberries, but not one fruit is mentioned by name, even though the title of this section is "What fruit do you smell in red wine?" It would have been nice to be able to name some of the fruits.
By far the most disappointing part is the scratch and sniff. They were just too faint to get any sense of what I should be smelling. If the picture weren't there, you'd have little idea what you were smelling. With many of the illustrations in the book there are quarter-size, clear stickers on top that supposedly carries the aroma. At first I thought I was supposed to remove the stickers and the smell would be underneath, but I think there would have been instructions if that were true. Not every illustration has a sniffer. In all, these are the aromas that are available in this book: pear, mixed fruit, red fruit, black fruit, stone fruit, another pear, vanilla, dill, dirt, leather, bacon, butter, and grass. Towards the end Mr.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Fun idea but lost a little in the execution. The "scratch and sniff" items don't really smell like they say they should.Published 26 days ago by Becca
My fiancé and I used this book to really grow our knowledge of wine. It's a simple and no BS way of really understanding what you drink.Published 1 month ago by ZubSed
This book is AWESOME! Good for the connoisseur and beginner or as a joke! Everyone who has seen this has loved it! Five cork's up!Published 1 month ago by nancy cummings
DISAPPOINTED THAT THERE WERE FEW ACTUAL PLACES TO EXPERIENCE THE SRATCH AND SNIFF EXPERIENCE! AND TO SAY THAT THEY ARE VERY WEAK EXAMPLES IS AN UNDERSTATEMENT. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Wickendon
Got as a gift from a true wine lover. Very well received, after a bit of figuring out where to scratch. Read morePublished 1 month ago by AzDayton
This is cute. There were not as many scratch and sniff circles as I hoped, and they all sort of smelled the same, but it is cute and kitschy. Read morePublished 2 months ago by AMM