More Americans are drinking wine than ever before, yet the rituals, customs, and language around it are as rarefied and opaque as ever, leaving many of us wondering what all the fuss is about. What makes the bottle I bought for last week’s dinner party “bad”? Are sommeliers just pretentious, glorified salespeople, or can they actually taste things like pyrazine and honeysuckle in wine? And why do so many people devote their lives (or life savings) to experiencing minute differences in flavor that most of us can’t even perceive, let alone appreciate?
Bianca Bosker gave up her job as executive tech editor at the Huffington Post in favor of tasting wines at 8 a.m., lifting and sorting heavy bottles as a “cellar rat” in one of Manhattan’s top restaurants; she sacrificed coffee, spicy foods, and sometimes even toothpaste, so as not to blunt her taste buds.
CORK DORK: A Wine-Fueled Adventure Among the Obsessive Sommeliers, Big Bottle Hunters, and Rogue Scientists Who Taught Me to Live for Taste takes the reader inside an elite tasting group, a Burgundy bacchanal, a Michelin-starred restaurant, an fMRI machine, and more as Bosker strives to make sense, once and for all, of our complicated relationship with fermented grape juice.
Bianca Bosker is an award-winning journalist who has written about food, wine, architecture, and technology for The New Yorker online, The Atlantic, T: The New York Times Style Magazine, Food & Wine, The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, and The New Republic. She's is the author of the critically acclaimed book Original Copies: Architectural Mimicry in Contemporary China. She lives in New York City.