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Cork Dork: A Wine-Fuelled Journey into the Art of Sommeliers and the Science of Taste

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Our goal is to give each guest a relaxing atmosphere, a dorky education, but mostly a fun and delicious experience. I’m also sure that, were I fortunate enough to ever be in the position of having him as my sommelier for one evening, he’d provide more than excellent service.

Speaking as someone who barely knows a good Bordeaux from a bottle of Boone’s Farm, I was charmed and entertained by this book. You have a point, and Bosker reveals the entire story (although I won't, so not to spoil the surprises). I selected both of these wines because they are unlikely gems in the wine world, just like Bianca Bosker’s Cork Dork.Whether you’re already deep into the wine world or don’t even know Pinot Noir from Pinot Grigio, Cork Dork is as entertaining as it is enlightening. So many of my friends and relatives enjoy it, that I feel like a freak for not getting what’s so nice about it. In the op-ed, Bosker attacked one of the sacred cows of the wine industry – the idea that the fewer chemicals you add to your wine, the better. Between her hilarious exploits and thoughtful meditations on wine and life, you’ll want to stay for just one more.

Bourdain spent his life working his way through the bowels of the restaurant industry and learned to define good food and good chefs along the way. Some of the funniest scenes of Bosker’s book take place during “tasting groups,” where a group of sommelier students get together to taste wine. From NY to Napa Valley to Virginia Beach to South Korea and beyond, she studies what it takes to be one of the world’s experts on wine. Sommeliers are an intriguing group of humans who dedicate their lives to unpacking the nuance of taste and experience for those who can afford to frequent a restaurant which would employ one.It’s a dizzying tale, full of set pieces so vividly rendered you’ll feel like you’re being jostled by a wait staff trying to get around you, like you’re being dressed down by Paul Grieco, owner of Terroir Tribeca, livid that Bosker dared to contradict him in front of a guest. But what really makes this book come alive is Bosker's writing, lively and funny and blessedly masterful—something by no means guaranteed in a young tech reporter, and such a welcome relief. She's the girl at the party I always hate, but have to invite, because she's friends with BlahBlah and we'll never hear the end of it if she's slighted. She starts working as a server in a wine bar, and it's there that she meets the master sommelier, Aldo Sohm, who becomes her mentor.

Author takes it on his- or herself to enter, train, and perhaps even win fiercely-competitive high-stakes championship of the subculture, even though he or she is a newcomer and people normally train for years and/or endure many failed attempts before winning fiercely-competitive etc.

At first, I found the memory-arts subculture a little less off-putting than the wine subculture, mostly because the memory-arts subculture lacks the overlay of conspicuous consumption, fraud, snobbery, and greed that that are sadly present in the wine industry. Despite the populism of the op-ed, Cork Dork’s focus on the most elite sommeliers and their rituals might just make wine more intimidating than ever. I don’t need to provide the answer to this question, because why don’t we have some goddamn mystery left in the world? Not to the extent of the cork dorks and sommeliers within the pages of this book, but nonetheless I love learning about wine so this book was the perfect pairing for me.

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