The booklikes version of my book blog, so if you only want to read about the stuff I post on books, here it is!
*I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review through NetGalley.*
My husband and I started learning more about wine when we first read The Judgment of Paris by George M. Taber. Once we started earning money from having jobs (rather than being rather poor full-time students), wine became a favorite drink of ours to start off and end our weekends. We were fascinated with the history of winemaking and the culture that surrounds it. We’ve lately taken our drinking a step further and joined a wine club where we very rarely drink the same bottle twice — we love trying new wines, seeing what they pair with, and comparing them to other wines we’ve had. So, when I saw Cork Dork available on Netgalley, it seemed like the perfect fit.
Bosker’s experience as a journalist shines through her ability to bring the reader exactly where she is and fully delve into the context of the situation. She not only covers the basics of what it means to be a sommelier, but explains at length the science behind tasting and smelling, ways to improve those senses, the aspects of serving wine in fine-dining restaurants, the sommelier exams, the tastings, etc. Everything is explained in detail and I both learned a lot and was thoroughly entertained. She goes through these experiences while also describing the people she meets along the way, their lifestyle and interests, and how they came to be a part of the community they’re involved in.
My favorite part of this book, however, is how much I learned about wine. Bosker offers great tips for ordering wine at restaurants (ASK THE SOMMELIER!), and also shares what she learns about improving your taste and smell capabilities. I admit, I’m also incredibly interested in the subject itself, so I’m a bit biased, but I totally bought in to a lot of the things she offered as advice. I told my husband that the book explains that we’re not often explicitly taught how to identify smells the way we can identify color and sights, so Bosker recommends smelling different things over and over again so that you develop a memory for it — and now we both are working on improving our sense of smell by smelling spices and foods and trying to imprint them on our memories. And you know what — being more conscious of smells and tastes truly does heighten the experience of drinking a beverage or eating a food. Who knew?
Despite the fact that this book holds A LOT of information about wine and dining, it’s still a fun, entertaining read. It’s part memoir, part informational book, interweaving it all together so that it flows as a cohesive story. Bosker makes it super easy to get into — she starts with the basics and builds her way up. It’s great that she started as a person who knew almost nothing about this subject before starting, because she’s able to reach out to people who know basically nothing themselves. I admit, I didn’t know much about wine before this besides the fact that it’s grown in different places and can be paired with meals and is sometimes fruity or earthy. Now, I feel like I have such a better handle on the idea of wine and food pairings, and how wine is made and served, etc. And I was able to laugh and enjoy a good story while learning more about it. It’s really the perfect book.
If you’re at all interested in wine or even just the history and community surrounding wine, I would highly recommend this book. It’s one of my favorite non-fictions I’ve read in a while, and I will most definitely buying copies of this to gift it to friends and family. So worth it!