Cork Dork manages to completely peel back the layers surrounding the wine world and it's mystique. I have to admit, I love wine. And have spent a copious amount of time trying to educate myself about it. Despite studying all the written material that I could find, and tasting many, many wines, I still could not detect the smells and tastes that sommeliers said were present. I suspect many of you find yourselves in a similar situation.
Bosker, with no real experience, endeavors to become a sommelier, in only 18 months. Through her experiences, I absorbed more information than I have in any other wine book. Right in the beginning, she states, "if you've ever wondered what all the fuss is about a wine, whether there's really a discernible difference between a $20 and $200 bottle, or what would happen if you pushed your senses to their limits, well then, I have some people I'd like you to meet". And, if you read the book, she will introduce to you a crazy cast of characters. Sommeliers who completely give up any semblance of a normal life to just taste wine, scientists who study smells and tastes, and many other just plain odd folks.
If you have ever listened to someone describing the smells, or tastes of a wine, and thought to yourself, they have to be pulling my leg, than this is the book for you. The descriptors get wackier and wackier, not just things like green apples or blackberries, but "wet asphalt", "surgical glove", asparagus pee", "dried cardboard", and "salami farts". Think that it's a scam? You have a point, and Bosker reveals the entire story (although I won't, so not to spoil the surprises).
Ever wondered what people were talking about when discussing the "legs" of a wine, the acidity, the tannins, or the alcohol content? Bosker explains not only what they are, but what they mean. In very simple to understand language.
I've watched television programs about people attempting to become sommeliers (Uncorked, for example), and found them fascinating. Bosker graphically describes what they are like. From the knowledge tests, to the blind tastings, to the service portion. And goes through them herself.
Ever wonder about how the so-called "experts" rate the top wines? The author covers this in depth, and the controversies resulting (not to spill the beans, but some of the ratings are dubious, at best).
Throughout the book, Bosker is not only drinking wine and having a good time, but veers off into exploring many wine-related areas. The science of smell, and of taste. The type of people who are avid wine collectors. The new controversial practice of creating whatever type of wine you want in a factory, including being able to replicate some very expensive wines. The terminology of sommeliers and wine merchants (necrophiliacs, hand sells, trigger wines, and cougar juice, for a few). And what to watch for when dealing with a sommelier.
I won't divulge the ending, suffice it to say that it was very satisfying.
This is one of the most informative books that I have read this year, as well as one of the best written. I plan on keeping it handy to refer to for a long time. I highly, highly recommend it!