–by Averill Shepps–
I have come across a new book on wine that is full of information on sipping, smelling, tasting wine, our favorite drink if not our favorite subject. It is “Cork Dork” written by Bianca Bosker. No, I had never heard of her either, but she is a professional journalist who has taken a journey deep into the world of wine and especially that of sommeliers, so deep in that particular world she became one!
The book is about her discoveries. She writes of going through the various taste and knowledge tests that are needed to become a somm, of working in restaurants, and only the best, to study what the sommelier must learn about how to treat customers (who are rated according to how much they spend), practicing the art of presenting the wine properly, as well as how to present oneself in dress and manner. She speaks to scientists who have studied the brain, particularly the senses of taste and smell. She undergoes an fMRI examination so that a neuroscientist can note her brain’s reactions. She gets advice on how to improve her sense of smell by training her brain, and undergoes her own regimen at home to do so.
She visits a sensory scientist who analyzes what regular humans enjoy about wine. The information is used by such labels as Sutter Home, Woodbridge and Yellow Tail. Randall Graham is quoted as having called Yellow Tail ”raspberry motor oil”. It is fascinating reading as she endeavors to answer the question, “What’s the big deal about wine anyway?” Another reviewer calls it “A marvelous journey through the MAD, MANIC, SEDUCTIVE subculture of wine and wine lovers.” Use your Christmas money, your stock market profits, or even cut your utility bills to buy this book. You’ll enjoy her journey, and you will learn a lot!!