Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The Budometer?

Over the past weekend I read an interesting article in the January 19 edition of the Wall Street Journal, entitled, “The Wine Antisnob.” It featured the efforts of Tim Hanni, whom the writer referred to as “..one of the wine industry’s top-tier experts.”

Mr. Hanni’s goal, as stated in the title, is to raise the consumption level of wine in the U.S. by taking the snob aspect out of it and encouraging people to drink a style of wine they like, not what is dictated to them.

It’s a fairly long article and I suggest clicking the link and reading it since there’s too much to cover here. There were a couple of things I wanted to mention here, though.

First, Mr. Hanni believes that rather than looking at wine reviews that focus on what a wine tastes like, such as “berries or chocolate” (like my own reviews), a more effective way to help people choose a wine they like is to ask what sort of coffee they prefer, how much salt they like in their food, etc. He’s more interested in the physiological, biological and psychological reasons why people prefer some wines over others. Another salient factor affecting wine preference is the number of taste buds a person has.

To this end, he has developed the Budometer, a questionnaire designed to flesh out what sort of wine a person prefers. Would you like to take this short test and see what it recommends for you? Click here.

The second item in the article that piqued my interest was “Vignon,” a seasoning developed by Mr. Hanni that supposedly balances out the flavors of foods and makes them wine-friendly, or friendly to a wider range of wines. Even such hostile foods as asparagus and artichokes. And it makes steak more friendly to lighter wines.

I checked out the product on his company’s website, Napa Seasoning Co., but found that it isn’t available locally. It sells for $5-$6 for a 2.75 ounce jar but the shipping for the two web stores that carry this is too high for me to take a gander ($4.75 on one site and $6.00 on the other). Still, I thought I would mention it here in case anyone is interested. Or, if anyone has tried this product please leave a comment of your impressions.

I wound up scoring just over a “6” on the Budometer, being placed in the “sensitive” category. Among other things, it told me that “intensity and balance” are the keys for my choosing wine; see the picture at the top for the entire chart.


Tim Hanni MW said...

Hi and thanks for forwarding the info from the WSJ! A slightly more comprehensive and acurate BUDOMETER is available at www.budometer.com. The cost if Vignon is relatively high due to the ingredients: a high-quality sea salt, shiitake mushroom powder, Parmesan cheese, tomatoes, etc. Info at www.napaseasoning.com and anyone wishing to stay apprised of developments can join our e-mail list there. Working on local availability everywhere but we just launched the product. THANKS!

MonkuWino said...

Thanks for your comments, Tim! I really would like to give Vignon a try so I hope it becomes available in Southern California in the near future.