Wine dictionaries are typically the stuff of nightmares. The only thing worse than making something enjoyable (wine) into homework (reading a goddamn dictionary) is filling said homework with the word “oaky.”
Which is why anyone who has ever had the pleasure of shopping from Les Caves de Pyrene’s legendary 400-ish page wine list has been waiting for this day. The British natural wine importer standard-bearers believe that selecting a wine shouldn’t feel like gnawing on dry toast, and as such, their literature is filled with quotes from the likes of Pablo Neruda and Dolly Parton. It uses the types of words that actual humans use when they speak to one another. And of course the puns. So, so many puns.
Now, Doug Wregg of Les Caves has announced his newest project: The Real Alternative Wine Glossary, a concise, precious thing, aimed at wine-nerds, aspiring wine-nerds, or anyone who wants to “spice up their wine lingo with the latest, greatest and certainly most obscure wine terminology.”
The dictionary reads more like a comic thanks to original cartoons by Michel Tolmer (author and illustrator of Mimi, Fifi and Glouglou: A Short Treatise on Tasting, a short, comical retelling of actual conversations the author has overheard in wine shops.).
In Wregg’s own words, “There are wine dictionaries. And there are wine dictionaries. This is the latter.”
If you’re in the UK, the book can be purchased from the Les Caves de Pyrene shop, though we hear rumor of US distribution revving up soon. And if you need an excuse to buy a few as holiday gifts: £1 from the sale of every book will go towards The World Wildlife Fund.
Laura Jaye Cramer is a freelance writer based in California and has written for SF Weekly, GOOD, and PAPER Magazine. Read more Laura Jaye Cramer for Sprudge Wine.