Check out these two new wine books!
The first – Cork Dork – is an utterly engaging read that is very spot-on in describing the long, winding path to becoming a sommelier. The first chapters took me right back to my early training days, and other sections served as an “Ah, right!” for remembering why I never actually worked a somm.
Writer Bianca Bosker immerses herself in this world, from taking classes to shadowing the wine pros at several of New York City’s most upscale restaurants to attending a very exclusive Burgundy wine tasting that turns into a bacchanalian free for all…this book draws the curtain back on the intimidating world of wine.
But it isn’t all about studying and drinking: The book takes time from blind tasting and nose to the grindstone learning to analyze, well, our noses.
Bosker seeks out everyone from a master perfumer to research scientists to professors of smell to understand how our noses work – and ultimately assess if all that wine jargon (“The wine offers hints of blackberry bramble with just an undercurrent of slightly overcooked mushrooms.”) is legit or total BS.
Despite the title, this is by no means a geeky tome. From the back rooms of top wine restaurants to the world of high-rolling drinkers, it’s a corking read from start to finish.
On the other end of the spectrum is W(h)ine 50 Perfect Wine to Pair with Your Child’s Rotten Behavior by Jennifer Todryk.
The perfect gift for the harried parent, this whimsical book digs deep to offer a wine pairing for coping with recalcitrant, misbehaving or generally obnoxious children, from the middle schooler in need of an attitude adjustment to the clingy three year old attached to your leg. (Chardonnay and Rioja, respectively.)
Have a new driver in the house? There’s a lagerin for that. All three of your kids go bonkers at the same time? Merlot to the rescue! Your toddler drew on the walls? It’s okay with viognier!
My main quibble is that, though many wines are recommended by grape, others are named by region, and unless you know which is which, the book doesn’t help sort it out.
So this book isn’t for in-depth learning. But if you choose to use it as a guide to explore new grapes and wine regions, you are in for some really awesome drinking. And that’s a pretty good education on its own.