Book Review: Cork Dork

Bianca Bosker used to be a technology reporter (hey, like me!) for the Huffington Post. Now she’s gone loopy for vino.

In her book Cork Dork, Bosker waxes poetic about the year she spent evolving from total wine novice to seasoned pro, primarily through learning how to taste en route to taking the Certified Sommelier Exam. As I’m sure Bosker would agree: Drinking wine is easy. Tasting is hard. And by that we’re talking about picking out sensory elements that allow writers like myself to come up with that flowery, descriptive prose that captures the very essence of what makes a wine, or any other beverage, what it is.

It’s a fun book. Bosker weaves seamlessly from raw wine education — relaying what she’s learned in a fun and breezy way — with inside scoop from the restaurant and sommelier world. (In a nutshell: It’s full of gross drunks.) Hers is the first book that gets to the awkwardness one in our business faces at medical appointments, when you are faced with questions about whether you drink alcohol and how much.

There’s a lot of science in the book, all in the service of how Bosker trained her senses, and how those senses actually work — and how you can train yours, as well. She writes about wine manipulation and additives, a subject dear to my heart, and digs at how an expensive price tag on a wine tricks you into thinking it tastes better than it does (and vice versa).

But the most memorable parts of the book have nothing to do with any of that. Rather, they focus on the personal dramas surrounding the somm world, the drunks and the hypocrites and the blowhards who populate the scenery of this unique and bizarre world. I know a lot of great and genuine people in the wine biz, and I know a lot of the creeps, too. Bosker’s book is a fascinating time spent with both of them, but after gobbling up her stories, I can’t help but feel a bit dirty, like I need a palate cleanser.

A- / $10 /  [BUY IT NOW FROM AMAZON]

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