Finally, Something New in the World of Wine
As far as I can tell, there is only one reason to understand the vocabulary of wine; those words and phrases that attempt to describe the experience of tasting a wine: To be able to communicate with others about the experience.
Of course, that one reason is an important one since the idea of two wine lovers sitting across from each other and explaining why they like a particular wine by saying “because” isn’t really a sustainable conversation.
In his new (and first) book “The Essence of Wine”, wine writer Alder Yarrow reminds us that the processing centers for smell and taste on the one hand and language on the other are located in two distinct centers of the brain. This may be why it is often very difficult for us to translate into words what our senses experiences, and communicating that experience to others is equally difficult.
In “The Essence of Wine” Yarrow attempts to give us another tool for developing a useful understanding of the ideas of taste and flavor that are inherent in wine: Beautiful pictures of flavors sources
“The Essence of Wine” is somewhat deceptive. On the face of it, we have another coffee table book about wine. It’s really beautiful and would serve as a lovely item to place next to the cream and sugar. In beautifully crafted settings, Leigh Beisch’s photography captures the beauty (essence?) of Cherry, Pear, Blackberry, Wet Stone, Tobacco, Mint, Nuts and 40 other common descriptors for what we smell, taste and feel in a a wine. It really is a beautifully crafted and presented book.
But consider this: This is the first wine book you have every encountered that gives you a vivid pictorial representation of the flavors and aromas and textures that your brain associates with wine. Many books, magazines and such will describe Chardonnay as have flavors and aromas of apples, pear, butter, citrus, etc, etc, etc, and the listing of words goes on and on. We are accustomed to reading about what we taste or should taste in a wine. But never have we been so articulately SHOWN what we taste in wine.
Beyond this beautiful trickery, Yarrow delivers brief histories of each item/flavor along with an explanation of how, say, Peach or Graphite is typically experienced in particular wines as well as noting specific wines in which Peach or Graphite can be detected. This aspect of the book is helpful too.
It’s not easy to create something that helps people think about and understand wine differently. There is so much written about this beverage that it seems nearly impossible to offer something unique. Yarrow has done that and done it while wrapping it all up in a visually stunning package.
“The Essence of Wine” is released on October 1st. It is available through Yarrow’s highly acclaimed online website, Vinography, where he has explored the world of wine for more than a decade. We highly recommend it The Essence of Wine and Vinography.