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I met Tim Hanni, Master of Wine, at a wine event in The Woodlands earlier this summer. Tim and I got to talk about the importance of matching peoples’ personal tastes to wines. Tim has a program called New Wine Fundamentals that sets out to challenge a lot of the wine rules that have developed over the past few decades. Part of his New Wine Fundamentals is My Vinotype, which helps classify peoples’ taste preferences. Wine drinkers and those serving them can use this classification to make it easier to find enjoyable wines. Tim has written a book called Why You Like The Wines You Like: Changing the way the world thinks about wine which covers My Vinotype and other aspects of his New Wine Fundamentals program.
Tim Hanni is not only a Master of Wine, but also a trained professional chef and wine and food historian. Over the course of Tim’s career, he began to see how different individuals’ tastes held a higher importance for most folks than what was quickly becoming overly strict food and wine pairings. This led Tim to develop his My Vinotype program which categorizes people in to Sweet, Hypersensitive, Sensitive, and Tolerant VinoTypes. Tim provides detailed explanations on the physiological influences, especially around one’s taste buds, and environmental influences, such as life experiences over time. The book does feature a simplified version of the VinoType quiz. After my wife and I took the quiz, it was interesting to see how our VinoTypes aligned pretty well with the kind of wines we individually like as well as styles that aren’t our favorites.
Hanni makes a lot of good points about how people that like certain types of wine, particularly sweet wines, have been dismissed by many in the wine and food industry. Tim gives the example of the common pairing of a big Cabernet Sauvignon with steak. What if someone has an aversion to highly tannic wines? If a service professional pushes something a customer won’t enjoy, the wine industry is likely going to lose a customer in the long run. It might take a little more work to find the right pairing for a guest, either at a restaurant or in one’s home, but in the end, it will lead to a happier guest.
There are many well-made off-dry, sweet, and lighter bodied wines that get passed over because they aren’t part of the go-to pairings that have been accepted by many in the current world of wine. Tim does a great job of encouraging experimentation with non-traditional wine and food pairings. This reminds me of an event I attended that paired Texas BBQ with high quality Italian Lambrusco wines, and it was a hit.
Hanni also gives lots of good information about something he calls Flavor Balancing. This is the practice of adjusting a food’s flavor profile, typically with the addition of salt or acidity, to bring a food and wine pairing into balance. Tim provides the classic example of Bistecca alla Fiorentina, a delicious grilled steak dish that originated in Tuscany. The steak is typically served with salt and lemon so the dish can be brought into a customized balance with the Chianti wine that is typical of the region.
Tim Hanni has taught his New Wine Fundamentals program to many professional groups. The enjoyable and easy to read Why You Like The Wines You Like provides a more accessible means to learn about Tim’s thoughts and experiences. It provides a great way for wine professionals as well as enthusiasts to learn how to better share their enthusiasm about wine in an open and helpful way. There are several Texas wineries and tasting rooms that offer a variety of tasting flights that will cover the spectrum of VinoTypes. Both Bingham Family Vineyards and 4.0 Cellars come to mind as offering tasting flights focused on lighter and off-dry/sweet wines among their flight options.
Title: Why You Like the Wines You Like: Changing the way the world thinks about wine
Author: Tim Hanni
Release Date: January 10th, 2013
Suggested Retail Price: $25.00
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