I hope you love wine at least half as much as I do because we’re all about the exciting world of wine in this blog post! From a brief review of a fabulous wine book about the journey of a woman in pursuit of becoming a sommelier to reviewing two spectacular wine bars in NYC that the author had mentioned numerous times, it’s time for wine! (Anytime is a good time for wine, let’s be honest here!)
Whether you simply enjoy a glass of Pinot Grigio once and awhile or you’re a certified sommelier, you must admit, wine is truly amazing. (Maybe not so much after a heavy night of drinking, but that’s another story). There are however, a ton of moving parts involved in wine and it can be difficult to navigate. Hell, there’s even a museum in Bordeaux, France that’s just about wine, it’s that in-depth! Okay, maybe you’d rather just sip your $9.99 bottle of Italian Pinot Grigio and not think about grapes, soil, the terroir or frankly anything at all, and that’s okay. If you’re drinking any wines other than White Zinfandel, we won’t place judgement on you. If White Zinfandel is your drink of choice, please don’t tell me or anyone else but your cat (or cats) about it and whatever you do, please please please don’t tell a sommelier you drink that stuff. Moving on…
The book, Cork Dork: A Wine-Fueled Adventure among the Obsessive Sommeliers, Big Bottle Hunters, and Rogue Scientists Who Taught Me to Live by Taste by Bianca Bosker is an excellent read for anyone, especially if you enjoy wine, fine dining, and/or culture. It’s also perfect if you’ve seen the documentary Somm and have become completely intrigued by sommeliers, really don’t get what the fuss is about, but you would like to know more. The author starts off as a typical ‘ignorant’ wine consumer. She knows very little and doesn’t care all that much before she undergoes her intense year and a half training into becoming a sommelier. The book is described as such “it traces the year she [Bosker] spent among flavor freaks, sensory scientists, big-bottle hunters, smell masterminds, tipsy hedonists, rule-breaking winemakers and the world’s most ambitious sommeliers. It explains the way the industry is and what Bianca learned from attempting to be in it, to being part of it”. It’s a book that shows you the inside ‘unique’ life of a sommelier and some of the intricate ins and outs of the wine industry. It also gives you an insight into why people pay thousands of dollars at Sotheby’s auctions just for a single bottle of exceptional wine.
As someone who loves wine, subscribes to Wine Enthusiast, and will only take vacations to areas of the world where they have vineyards, because sitting on a vineyard all day with multiple glass in hand seems like utter paradise, I will say, this book is excellent. The writer is engaging, enthusiastic, informative, and quite humorous at times. You will have a new-found appreciation for both wine and sommeliers after reading this book. (Note: if you like the documentary Somm, you will love this book). As a reader you will also get glimpses into the world of upscale dining in New York City at restaurants like Marea, get an insight into what industry only wine events look like, and understand how some people give up everything in pursuit of becoming a ‘wine pro’. The book does get technical at times, as Bosker describes the scientific research to better understanding how to hone into one’s senses like a professional. It concludes on a technical note as the author describes her visit to a neuroscientist who uses a fMRI machine to determine if her brain really has changed since the training. As you might imagine, the reports prove that yes, she had in fact rewired her brain. It’s very interesting.
Throughout the book she mentions a variety of excellent places in NYC, including Marea, Aureole, Terroir bar and Cork buzz in New York City. Marea is a spectacular Italian seafood restaurant near Central Park with an extravagant wine list and a list of regulars that includes everyone from Sharon Stone to the CEO of JP Morgan. It’s NYC fine dining at its best and their wine menu is outstanding. She also discusses Charlie Parker’s Aureole in midtown Manhattan and the influence this restaurant had on her now career in wine.
Throughout the book Bianca mentions two wine bars in NYC that are well worth the trip if you’re into wine (and not looking to dine at a three Michelin restaurant). Tribecca Terroir, which was originally on the Lower East Side has since moved to Tribecca and Cork Buzz. Tribecca Terroir has an extensive wine by the glass menu and a food menu that offers a variety of delicious snacks. The main thing that makes ‘TT’ so unique is that they offer many eclectic wines you wouldn’t find anywhere else and the staff is incredible. You could ‘wine talk’ them all night long. Outside of Cork Buzz, mentioned below, ‘TT’ probably has a larger by the glass selection than anywhere else in NYC. They also do wine flights and wine classes, what a fun little spot this place is!
Cork Buzz is another incredible wine bar. Check out either of their two locations in NYC or the one in Charlotte. At any given point you go there, there will someone sitting at the bar doing an intense blind tasting, and you will be intrigued, trust me! Cork Buzz offers a variety of unique wines BTG (by the glass), along with extremely intelligent and passionate bartenders who are also certified sommeliers, as well as wine classes, wine dinners, special events and private events. The food here is so outstanding, you’ll never want to leave!