There is an extensive range of beverages from non-alcoholic to alcoholic of which one can enjoy and become a connoisseur. Perhaps the one expert and authority most have a vague familiarity with is the sommelier, who is knowledgeable about the world of wines, spirits, wine service and tasting. While many of us display our appreciation of wines as “red vs white” or “good vs bad,” there is a fascinating world of potential refinement and enhancement of that appreciation. Bianca Bosker’s book, Cork Dork, is a beautifully written book detailing her eighteen month journey from a simple binary appreciation of wine to completing the Certified Sommelier Examination at the Court of Master Sommeliers. She was a writer for an online-only news site when her “then-boyfriend-now-husband” took her to dinner with a client at a upscale restaurant employing a sommelier. When she heard that the sommelier was preparing for the World’s Best Sommelier Competition, her interest was ignited.
Initially Bianca’s interest drove her to videos online, finding literature and studies; essentially locating anything she could about the subject. Before long she realized to develop some skill she needed to actively participate in the life of the sommelier. With this she located individuals to participate in tasting sessions, worked as a “cellar rat,” trailed sommeliers and interviewed experts on wine, studied the science of smell, taste, the brain, and met producers of wine. She relentlessly practiced tasting (hangovers too) to refine her nose and palate. Through extensive travels here and abroad, she had the opportunity to sample wines most of us will never taste.
This book is very interesting, informative, humorous, entertaining, and easy to read. Bianca is uncensored and self-deprecating in the presentations of her experiences, often bordering on the hilarious. The material she presents is clear and can be of use for improving one’s skills. Anyone with limited knowledge of the field and with an interest in learning will find this a very enjoyable and pleasant way to learn. You may even find yourself, after completing the book, voyaging to winefolly.com or the mastersommeliers.org to consider testing out some of the skills you may have learned.
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