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Robin Garr

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Have any of you read "Cork Dork"?

by Robin Garr » Tue Jul 10, 2018 11:22 am

I saw a reference to this book about the somm phenom the other day and grabbed a Kindle copy from the public library. I'm having a hard time getting into it, though. Have any of you read it, in full or in part? What did you think?

(It's only $1.99 on Kindle right now, by the way - https://amzn.to/2L8q7RB - but I'm just as glad I got to read it for free. ;) )

Cork Dork
By Bianca Bosker
This entertaining New York Times bestseller delves into the elite and mystifying world of sommeliers. “A funny, thought-provoking, and at times frightening look at… a profession that is both insanely rigorous and occasionally ridiculous”
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TomHill

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Sorta...

by TomHill » Tue Jul 10, 2018 11:34 am

Robin Garr wrote:I saw a reference to this book about the somm phenom the other day and grabbed a Kindle copy from the public library. I'm having a hard time getting into it, though. Have any of you read it, in full or in part? What did you think?

(It's only $1.99 on Kindle right now, by the way - https://amzn.to/2L8q7RB - but I'm just as glad I got to read it for free. ;) )

Cork Dork
By Bianca Bosker
This entertaining New York Times bestseller delves into the elite and mystifying world of sommeliers. “A funny, thought-provoking, and at times frightening look at… a profession that is both insanely rigorous and occasionally ridiculous”


I started reading it and lost interest in it after a few chapters. Not a very compelling book and she's not
a particularly good story-teller.
Tom
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Peter May

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Re: Have any of you read "Cork Dork"?

by Peter May » Tue Jul 10, 2018 12:44 pm

Nope.Not even aware of it, and never heard of author (is that her real name?)

But willing to give a punt if a cheap Kindle edition. However it's not currently available on Kindle in UK..

Well, blow me down.

Seems I was taken to the large print versions of the paper books.

The normal version Kindle edition is on offer this month at 99p ($1.31) which is unusually even cheaper than the US Kindle, esp considering that includes 20% VAT.

So I have downloaded it and will let you know.
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Re: Have any of you read "Cork Dork"?

by Jenise » Tue Jul 10, 2018 5:36 pm

Read it and loved it. Thought it was a very entertaining account of an all-out pursuit of learning something new, even though the extent to which she successfully broke into certain inner circles seemed a little suspicious.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Steve Slatcher

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Re: Have any of you read "Cork Dork"?

by Steve Slatcher » Tue Jul 10, 2018 7:19 pm

Yeah, I enjoyed it, and thought it read well. It provided interesting insights into NY somm types. Though I must say most characters were unsympathetic, and had very different views of wine from my own.

For more detais about what I thought:
http://www.winenous.co.uk/wp/archives/11251
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Re: Have any of you read "Cork Dork"?

by Peter May » Thu Jul 12, 2018 8:25 am

I'm still reading and haven't finished, so the answer may come up later..

At this point she's wangled her way into two groups doing intense blind tastings, and going through the indicators of alcohol strengh, tannins, acidity and residual sugar. The sommeliers have given up anything that might affect their palates - this includes hot drinks, hot soups, hot food (having lukewarm or preferably cold only), coffee, added salt, etc etc

Working out the identity - variety, vintage, region, abv etc of a wine tasted blind is impressive....

but what has it to do with being a sommelier? All these details are on the label of wines they buy and serve.

Diners will not abstain from soups or hot foods, or coffee and will want recommendations of wines to match their food - to which they may add salt....

So I am puzzled as to what the sommeliers' abstentions in order to improve their blind tasting skills, and what those blind tasting skills add to the diners experience. What is the point?
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Re: Have any of you read "Cork Dork"?

by Mike_F » Thu Jul 12, 2018 1:12 pm

So I am puzzled as to what the sommeliers' abstentions in order to improve their blind tasting skills, and what those blind tasting skills add to the diners experience. What is the point?


Any society of higher primates will invent dominance rituals and displays, the logic of which escapes an objective observer...
Of course we must be open-minded, but not so open-minded that our brains drop out.”
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Re: Have any of you read "Cork Dork"?

by Jenise » Thu Jul 12, 2018 2:09 pm

Peter May wrote:So I am puzzled as to what the sommeliers' abstentions in order to improve their blind tasting skills, and what those blind tasting skills add to the diners experience. What is the point?


I don't think it's about the diner's experience except to the point where far above average palate memory assists in recommending pairings from a vast coterie of wines. It's just about honing a skill and being among the best in those little get-togethers with other somms.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: Have any of you read "Cork Dork"?

by Jon Leifer » Thu Jul 12, 2018 11:35 pm

read it a while ago, my reaction probably closer to Steve than to Jenise tho I wd agree with Jenise's suspicions
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Dan Smothergill

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Re: Have any of you read "Cork Dork"?

by Dan Smothergill » Sat Jul 14, 2018 12:09 am

Enjoyed it. A one person report on the journey to becoming a somm; entertaining and personal. Bosker's social skills provide the thread. She wangled herself into events and tastings where she didn't belong and befriended a diverse group of people to help her along the way. Completely dedicated to the task of passing the test, her success was as much a product of hard work as interpersonal skills.
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Re: Have any of you read "Cork Dork"?

by ChaimShraga » Sat Jul 14, 2018 3:37 am

Enjoyed it as a book, was put off by some of the subjects. But a good book.
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Re: Have any of you read "Cork Dork"?

by Jenise » Sat Jul 14, 2018 12:10 pm

Dan Smothergill wrote:Enjoyed it. A one person report on the journey to becoming a somm; entertaining and personal. Bosker's social skills provide the thread. She wangled herself into events and tastings where she didn't belong and befriended a diverse group of people to help her along the way. Completely dedicated to the task of passing the test, her success was as much a product of hard work as interpersonal skills.


A perfect blurb--they should put yours on the book!

But yeah, all of that. And self-deprecatingly funny. Lots of moments where I laughed out loud. Even books meant to be funny rarely get laughs out of me like that.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Steve Slatcher

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Re: Have any of you read "Cork Dork"?

by Steve Slatcher » Sun Jul 15, 2018 7:14 am

Hasn't been mentioned yet, but the book is also quite reflective in places, and quite a lot of issues about taste and wine rituals are covered very well, but with a light touch
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Re: Have any of you read "Cork Dork"?

by Peter May » Wed Jul 25, 2018 8:49 am

Steve Slatcher wrote: the book is also quite reflective in places, and quite a lot of issues about taste and wine rituals are covered very well, but with a light touch


I'm enjoying the book now I've gone past the blind tasting groups. She speaks to, and quotes, many experts with different opinions and the book is a lot deeper - and reflective as you note - than it appeared at the start
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Robin Garr

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Re: Have any of you read "Cork Dork"?

by Robin Garr » Wed Jul 25, 2018 8:53 am

Peter May wrote:I'm enjoying the book now I've gone past the blind tasting groups. She speaks to, and quotes, many experts with different opinions and the book is a lot deeper - and reflective as you note - than it appeared at the start

Exactly the same here. My first reaction to the intro was that it felt sophomoric, and I almost gave it up. But the book developed as her interest, passion and knowledge of wine developed.

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