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I have to say, I was incredibly excited when Tim Hanni announced he was releasing a book on his work related to wine preferences and out-dated “trends” in the wine industry. Ever since I met Tim over a year ago at a seminar held in the Monticello AVA region of Virginia, I was convinced that the traditional wine and food pairing “rules” were not, in reality, appropriate for who we actually taste and how each individual perceives and enjoys particular flavors and characteristics of wines. In fact, I’ve been preaching this message quite frequently in the tasting room when I’m pouring, and I have to say people are very receptive and thrilled with the new ideas.
Why You Like The Wines You Like: Changing the way the world thinks about wines; by Tim Hanni, MW, is a highly educational and eye-opening book that allows to enjoy the wines you like without feeling “embarrassed” and that stresses the importance of matching wine “to the diner, not the dinner”. Hanni uses scientific evidence to support his views, and provides many “try at home” exercises to further help you in understanding why you like the wines you like, and why any wine can go with any dish (nearly).
The first part of the book focuses on determining what are you favorite types of wine. Using what Tim has cleverly named “My Vinotype” (based on the biological term “phenotype”), Tim has used decades of scientific research to identify several different Vinotypes which are definite as the “sum of the physiological and psychological factors that determine your unique wine preferences and values”. Are you a tolerant taster? Or perhaps a hypersensitive? Maybe you are a lover of sweet wines? This book gives you “permission” to embrace your Vinotype which could help guide you in your wine purchases at home or out at a wine bar or restaurant.
Want to know which Vinotype you are? Go to www.myvinotype.com to find out! **Please note**: this program is still being tweaked and added to in order to get a more accurate representation of your wine preferences. The results may be oversimplified right now (and thus may not completely reflect your exact preferences), but they are adding new questions and complexity over time.
The rest of the book focuses on dismantling the current view of tradition wine pairing (i.e. red wine with steak; white wine with fish; etc) and to focus on the“diner” and not the “dinner”. The basic idea is one shouldn’t be asking someone what they plan on eating in order to choose the appropriate wine, but instead one should be asking “what types of wine do you like?” or “what’s your Vinotype”?
What if someone simply can’t stand the taste of red wine, since it’s too bitter for their palate (which, by the way, someone who loves sweet wines and can’t tolerate big red wines has significantly more taste buds than their red wine drinking counterparts)? Are you going to force them to drink a big and bold red wine anyway because they ordered steak? As Tim points out in the book, the consumer will only become frustrated and give up on wine altogether, instead going to a mixed drink or perhaps beer as an alternative.
What if, instead, there wasn’t this stigma against people who don’t like big red wines and who enjoy sweeter or slightly sweet wines? These sweet wine drinkers, who make up a huge proportion of the total wine drinkers out there, would not feel embarrassed or otherwise looked down upon, and would order the wines that they love with confidence. By intimidating or embarrassing these sweet wine drinkers, we are only driving them further away from wine, and thus alienating a huge portion of potential consumers (who will now be spending their hard earned money on liquor or beer instead of wine).
The point Hanni drives across in this book is that wine preference is not an intellectual characteristic, nor is it necessarily something that changes with more wine education. In fact, there are many wine professionals who know a lot more about wine that the Average Joe who are Sweet Vinotypes and who love a good Riesling with their big, fat, juicy T-bone steak. Are these people less “advanced” in the ways of wine? Of course not! They simply have a particular physiology and biological make-up which results in them loving sweeter wines and preferring to steer clear of red wines.
I could go on and on about the different points and topics in Why You Like The Wines You Like by Tim Hanni, but then I’d pretty much be re-writing the book and that’d be silly (and well, kind of illegal). Instead, you should read the book for yourself! Why You Like The Wines You Like should be REQUIRED reading for everyone who loves wine, or who thinks they might love wine if only they didn’t feel pressured or embarrassed to steer clear of their favorites. This book has several fun do-it-yourself exercises that will help further convince you that wine and food pairing shouldn’t be about certain rules per se, but should be all about the individual consumer and what types of wines they actually like and would prefer to drink.
If you are a critic of this school of thought, you definitely need to buy the book.You really should listen to the science behind Tim’s findings, and certainly perform that do-it-yourself exercises. If you’re still not convinced, that’s totally fine, too. Tim just wants to have the opportunity to share this new ideology with us all, in hopes that we can create a new way of thinking in the wine world (and thus increase the number of people actually drinking and buying wine instead of making them feel alienated and driving them to a different drink).
Long story short: I HIGHLY recommend Why You Like The Wines You Like by Tim Hanni. The book is chock full of great science, great information, many laughable moments, and fun exercises for you to do at home in order to further understand these principles.
Drink the wines you like, don’t be embarrassed, and enjoy that white wine with steak or that red wine with fish! Salud!