Book number one of 2018 was Cork Dork: A Wine-Fueled Adventure Among the Obsessive Sommeliers, Big Bottle Hunters, and Rogue Scientists Who Taught Me to Live for Taste by Bianca Bosker. I love me some wine books, and the premise here (author gives up job in tech journalism to immerse herself in the world of wine) is the sort of obsessive-immersive-ridiculous-challenge type of book I often enjoy.
Bosker’s goal is to go from regular old wine drinker to certified sommelier in a year (and some change). She makes pals with some truly obsessive (and some, not me, but some, might say obnoxious) New York City sommeliers, giving the reader a fun behind-the-scenes glimpse at New York City’s fine dining world (which is about as much as I want to see of it because good god the money people are spending there). Bosker’s attempts (and frequent failures) at entering the world of fine wine and dining was reminiscent of Bill Buford’s Heat and were probably my favorite sections of the book. She also does an excellent “intro to wine” in which she explains the ins and outs of wine tasting and provides an excellent primer on the weird ways oenophiles talk about wine.
Less successful for me were the journalistic forays into the the wine industry. She talks to scientists studying the brains of sommeliers, visits mega wineries in California who are reverse-engineering wines for consumer palates using chemicals, and attends a truly ridiculous rich person wine bacchanalia. These interludes were all…fine, I guess, but they felt a bit like magazine articles slipped in to pad the story.
I listened to the audiobook read by the author, and Bosker’s narration was charming and engaging.
Title: Cork Dork: A Wine-Fueled Adventure Among the Obsessive Sommeliers, Big Bottle Hunters, and Rogue Scientists Who Taught Me to Live for Taste
Author: Bianca Bosker
Publisher: Penguin Books
Genre: Non-fiction, Food and Wine, Memoir
Rating: 3/5 stars