Grape press: The ‘antisnob’, the ‘budometer’ and food-wine pairing

- By Jim Boyce

Those fascinated, frustrated or befuddled by pairing wine and Chinese food might be interested in The Wine Antisnob by Katy McLaughlin in the Wall Street Journal. The article looks at Tim Hanni – entrepreneur, recovering alcoholic, one of the first two Americans to become a Master of Wine, and someone who once “‘completely looked down on people’ who drank wine he considered inferior”:

He argues that no one has a palate superior to anyone else’s, and that there’s nothing wrong with liking wines many experts consider tacky, like White Zinfandel. He also thinks traditional tasting notes comparing wine to berries or chocolate are useless in helping most consumers find wines they enjoy.

Instead, he has developed new systems that help customers choose wines based on factors like how they take their coffee and cocktails — and how many taste buds they have.

His maverick approach is transforming the way that many Americans drink wine. Mr. Hanni’s most widely used innovation is the “progressive wine list,” a menu format that organizes wine from lightest to heaviest, rather than grouping Loire Bordeaux and Tuscan Brunellos together.

The article includes a link to the Budometer, a questionnaire on preferences for tea, coffee, beer and so on that aims to determine what wines a particular consumer will like. It’s well worth a click.

Whether or not you end up agreeing with Hanni’s perspectives or not, this is a fantastic read that beautifully ties together his love of food and wine, struggle with alcohol abuse, and efforts to further popularize a beverage often tied to snobbery.

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