Yes, I’m reviewing a jigsaw puzzle.
It’s not often that a sample lobs onto the Australian Wine Review desk that will appeal to the whole Graham family, but this brand-new Australian Wine Puzzle from Water & Wines was a winner.
At its core, this is a giant illustrated map of Australian wine regions turned into a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle. What makes it jump from wine nerddom into ‘everyone plays’ territory is that ultimate combination of detail without losing the fun.
I loved the challenge of shoehorning the Vic regions together, while Jac and Miss 3 went hunting for the Chardonnay labels that dotted the continent. It’s like a very colourful wine geography lesson in puzzle form.
The story behind the Water & Wines puzzle starts in the lockdown days of Stockholm in 2020, when recently graduated Swedish sommelier Yamit Viitaoja-Malmberg found herself at a loose end. One thing led to another, and what started as meditative puzzle-making inspired Yamit into what she calls ‘a new way of sharing my passion – wine puzzles’.
Yamit and her team of somms and illustrators now have nine wine countries covered, with this Australian puzzle released just a few weeks ago.
Made in the EU on recycled cardboard, the pack includes a poster of the finished puzzle and some grape notes for context (although I found them to be a bit of an afterthought).
It all works too. From the little clip to hold the box upright, to the fit of the pieces – it’s a worthy idea, well executed.
Not everything is perfect. Limestone Coast & Canberra are sort of forgotten, and the labels are random. That doesn’t hurt what is a quality puzzle that we really liked.
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