The Scratch and Sniff Guide to Wine

BLOG / November 21, 2013

Join DOWNTOWN Kitchen + Cocktails and former Janos Restaurant sommelier, Richard Betts at a book signing and reception this Friday, November 22, 2013 at Etherton Gallery (upstairs from DOWNTOWN Kitchen + Cocktails) from 6:30-7:30 p.m. Sample Richard’s Essential Red and St. Glinglin Bordeaux, Sombra Mezcal Mule Cocktail and enjoy light hors d’oeuvres. $40.00 per person includes one signed copy of The Essential Scratch and Sniff Guide to Becoming A Wine Expert.

Love wine, but hate wine snobbery? The Essential Scratch and Sniff Guide to Becoming A Wine Expert by master sommelier Richard Betts is a kid-style book on a very adult topic. A wine guide unlike any other, this charming board book takes oenophiles of every level on an irreverent but expertly led tour of the wine world, one aroma at a time. Richard Betts has been featured in the New York Times, Wine Spectator, Food & Wine, Outside, GQ, and Details and speaks frequently on wine throughout the country

By breaking down the famously complex scents of red and white wines into their major groups – the fruits, the woods, the earth, and so on – The Essential Scratch and Sniff Guide to Becoming A Wine Expert helps readers figure out why they love the wines they love, and how to choose an enjoyable glass every time. Armed with 16 distinct scents and dozens of playful illustrations, Betts lays out the differences between black versus red fruit, American versus French oak, a squeaky clean finish versus “a little funk in the trunk,” and more. At the end of the journey, readers can use a “choose your own adventure”-style chart to put the principles they just learned to good use. It’s thoroughly giftable, but this book is no novelty item: Every last tidbit comes directly from one of the world’s top wine experts.

Betts is on a mission to knock wine off its pedestal. He came into the wine business on the strength of a single smell – and a powerful memory. During an extended stay in Florence, he had fully embraced the wine-friendly culture of Italy and then returned to the U.S. to pursue a law degree when an ordinary glass of Chianti revived vivid memories of Italy and reignited his passion for wine. He ditched the J.D. to follow his nose, and he’s never looked back, becoming one of only a handful of people to pass the Court of Master Sommeliers’ rigorous exam on his very first try and one of fewer than 200 in the world. In the intervening decade, he’s launched a number of award-winning wines and adventuresome spirits, but he’s never lost his down-to-earth philosophy or his sense of fun. In Betts’s view, the best wines are the ones that make you smile, and his friendly, accessible guide will do just that.

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