What’s your vinalogy? It’s a wine Blind Date!
“If you had to describe yourself so that I would select you off the shelf [audience laughter], what would you say?“
Contestant number 1: “Well, I’m bright crimson rimmed, clean and fresh. I guess you’d say I was garnet going on brick. I’m medium bodied, with a medium-plus acidity, aromas of cedar and tobacco, with a long finish.” [awkward silence in the studio]
Contestant number 2: “Ooh, well I’m all rich and lush, and I’m all about chocolate, berries and pepper and just lip-smacking gorgeous with oodles of personality, like.” [audience giggles]
Contestant number 3: “I’m the mysterious cowboy. Each town has a different name for me, but that’s OK, my friends know me. I’m told I exude affable masculinity in my faded leather boots and I ‘d have to admit I have a fragrance of wood smoke, and vanilla tobacco. I’m not a muscular type, but I’d like to think I’ve aged pretty well.” [clapping and knowing winks from the audience – Cilla fetches her hat]
How would you rather learn about wine? With technical ratings and jargon? With random adjectives? Or how about well-crafted characters and stories that bring out the characteristic aspects of individual grapes and wines to help create a meaningful mental image of the wine?
What’s your Vinalogy
What most of us are looking for are shortcuts that we can use, share and most importantly, recall when required (often under stress, such as making an expensive decision from the wine list in a restaurant). That’s what’s impressive about “Vinalogy: wine basics with a Twist“, the creative solution devised by Helena Nicklin, aka WineBird.
Vinalogy is a book and YouTube channel dedicated to bringing wines to life through images and stories such as the Cowboy above (gratuitously ripped off and mangled by me) for Tempranillo. In her book, Helena expands on the idea of Wine Analogies (Vin-Alogies) to describe some of the most common grape varieties you will find in the shops, but I have to recommend the video versions starring Helena (and her dog) as well.
Some other vinalogies:
Riesling: A German supermodel in rubber boots
Chenin Blanc: The beekeeper
Merlot: the easy-listening crooner of the wine world
Fun, unpretentious, memorable and no snobs within spitting distance.
At the recent book launch, Helena and friends brought these images to life with models dressed as Mermaids (Albariño), Dancers (Pinot Noir), Rugby Players (Cabernet Sauvignon) and even a Polo Player (Malbec). We need more dress-up parties to have fun with wine in my opinion.
The book also includes simple instructions on learning to taste wine and read wine lists, so is a handy guide for many of us.
If you are looking for a fun introduction to wine, or just a relaxing and amusing reference guide about wine, check out Vinaology. It would make a fun Father’s Day present (hint hint) and is also small enough to fit into a pocket, handbag or satchel for reading on the go … just don’t get too thirsty for wine on your morning commute!
Here’s an example, one of my favourites (Nebbiolo)