Most wine books are so damn serious. Do you want to read a 500 page book on Bordeaux? One that’s hefty, ponderous, and staid? (Full disclosure: I probably would, but it’s what I do for a living. It’s like studying to be an engineer and having loads of non-sexy prerequisite texts. If you want to get to where you hope to be going, it comes with the territory.)
Thankfully, there is a fantastic book with the attention-grabbing title, The Essential Scratch and Sniff Guide to Becoming a Wine Expert. (Yes, you read that right.) Written by Richard Betts, a Master Sommelier, it is the most welcoming and useful book for anyone interested in wine to start to understand a bigger picture of what they like and why–without the intimidation factor. I should also give huge credit to the charming illustrations by Wendy MacNaughton and the friendly art direction and design contributed by Crystal English Sacca.
The only thing more pleasurable than reading this “kid-style book about an adult topic” (seriously, it’s a laminated paper board book that’s only 22 pages long! If you spill your glass of Chateauneuf or juice box on your copy, just wipe it off!) is getting a chance to speak with the author himself. So stoked to let you know I was able to get Richard to be a guest on my Wine Without Worry podcast! So what did we discuss? So many things, starting with the book, naturally. We contemplate these questions:
- Did people think he was insane for proposing a scratch and sniff book about wine? (Spoiler alert: yes.)
- As well as being a Master Sommelier, is Richard now a Master Scratch and Sniffer?
- White wine: underrated when it comes to complexity?
- Richard’s also a winemaker. So what’s he got going on in California as well as Provence and Bordeaux?
- Can we really go from talking about wine to mezcal? (Spoiler alert II: Richard is the Co-Owner and Co-Founder of Sombra Mezcal.)
- Is mezcal, like wine, able to express a sense of place?
- Have you ever drank a margarita on the hill of Hermitage and decided to call your Bordeaux wine, “When Pigs Fly”?
- Did Richard and I both spend a few years as Lumberjacks?
Enjoy the show!nau alumni wine, richard betts winemaker, scratch and sniff wine book, sombra mezcal