Book review of “Cork Dork”

Book review of “Cork Dork”

Wendy Blake has lots of great things going for her. Smart, pretty, a WineClub member and employee of the Country Bookshelf-- she is a treasure in our community. About six weeks ago she dropped off a copy of Bianca Bosker’s Cork Dork with a recommendation that I read it. It has been steadily working its wayto the top of the pile of books to read and this last rainy Saturday, I started in on it.

The plot of Cork Dork is the journey Bosker makes from being a total wine
novice to a becoming a Master Sommelier in New York City. I won’t give out all
the details but here are a few of the high points:


• Wine tasting happens in the brain not in the mouth (see Neuroenology by
Gordon Spencer I wrote about a few months ago).
• Enjoyment of wine is not only physical but mental and spiritual.
• The best wine you will ever have is on vacation or when you are surrounded
by people you love.
• There is no “best” wine.
• There is a slight correlation between price and quality. However, the
difference in quality between a $75 bottle and a $750 bottle may be only
2%.
• Our brain is hard-wired to enjoy wines we perceive to be more expensive.
• The French Sauternes, Chateau d’Yquem, is mystical and life changing from
the first sip. There is no other wine like it.
• The sense of taste is 70% derived from the sense of smell.
• Spitting wine does not let you taste the wine completely.
• It requires a LOT of practice tasting to become a Master Sommelier. I
would fear for my liver if I ever attempted it.
• Wealthy New Yorkers don’t mind spending $1,500 per bottle of great wine
for dinner. A $15,000 tab at a Michelin two star restaurant is OK.
• Burgundy as a region is like a bad boyfriend: he treats you like dirt and then
shows up with chocolates and flowers at the right time.
• Mastering Burgundy is a passion for masochism. It makes you wonder what
trauma a Burgundy fanatic went through—were they not hugged enough as
a child?
• Bosker is an entertaining writer but there are more than a few profane
passages. In one instance she describes a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc
“asparagus fart water with too much grapefruit juice.”
• A Sommelier’s ability to name the grape, the region and the vintage in a
blind tasting is a not parlor trick (or is it?)
• As sublime as wine can be, it is subjective and therefore victim to an
inordinate amount of BS.

Ok, there is a lot of wine geek stuff in the book so I shouldn’t give it all away. I should just say it is amusing and well written. Ask Wendy at the Country Bookshelf to put aside a copy for you.