My mother-in-law gave me a scratch-and-sniff book for Christmas. Joy to the world! As a child of the 80s, I have a nostalgic soft-spot for scratch-and-sniff. Remember those scratch-and-sniff stickers the teachers used to put on our papers when we did a “berry good” job on something? I used to do my homework just for a shot at earning the root beer sticker.
But this isn’t just any scratch-and-sniff book . . . it’s a scratch-and-sniff book about wine! Oh, and just to make me feel even more mawkish, it’s a board book.
I looked up the reviews on Amazon, and they are mostly (but not overwhelmingly) positive.
You have to take this book for what it is: cute, fun and a little bit funny. To those who called the book childish, simplistic and condescending — lighten up, Francis! It’s not supposed to be an academic treatise on wine. The market is flooded with those. The author, Richard Betts, is a master sommelier (that means he knows more about wine than you do). Roll with it. Betts is just having some fun — pour yourself a glass of wine and join him!
That said, the scratch-and-sniff stickers are pretty weak and mostly a fail (apparently, they don’t make scratch-and-sniff stickers like they used to). But it wasn’t a deal-breaker for me, because I already know what a pear, a peach, and bacon smell like. Noticeably absent: a scratch & sniff cat pee sticker. 😉
Betts distills wine down to three big ideas:
- We all have a nose. Use it.
- Tasting = smelling. And only your nose gets to decide what a “good” wine is. (Hear, hear).
- The wine universe consists of: fruit, wood, earth, and other. (Cat pee is other, in case you’re wondering).
But the best words from the whole book are right on the cover:
Betts goes on to say, “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 — heck, pour it out of a pitcher, pull it our of a box, drink it out of a tumbler — just as long as it makes you smile.”
Amen to that.
Thanks to my mother-in-law for this book . . . and the smile that goes with it.