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Barolo to Valpolicella: The Wines of Northern Italy (Classic Wine Library) Paperback – 19 Jul 1999


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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Faber and Faber; New edition edition (19 July 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571178529
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571178520
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 13.6 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 381,473 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Amazon Review

Viticulture in Italy has a history of more than 2,000 years, having been severally introduced by the Estruscans and the Greeks. The product of this great weight of tradition was, until recently, a virtually unregulated chaos of hundreds of different grape varieties and wines of wildly and unpredictably varying qualities. As Nicolas Belfrage observes in Barolo to Valpolicella, the first, northern, volume of a two-part geographical study of Italian wines, producers now face the challenge of preserving the vigour and often highly local character of these varieties, while adapting to the modern world of a regulated industry and scientific methods of production. Much Italian wine, moreover, is produced with an eye to bulk rather than quality; and there seems to be a reluctance on the part of many Italians to accept wines with a high degree of character. However, all that is slowly changing. Belfrage remarks that the idea of Italy surpassing the stature of France as a producer of high quality wines is unlikely but no longer preposterous. Barolo to Valpolicella is an exhaustive guide to this formidably complex subject. Dividing the country into very broad geographical regions, the discussion within each is by grape variety (an interesting approach that reflects the importance of this richness), by the wines made from it and by the principal producers of those wines. Belfrage's command of his subject is impressive and detailed: he seems to have been everywhere and talked to everyone. Anyone daunted by the notorious complexity of the Italian wine business will find Barolo to Valpolicella an ideal cicerone. --Robin Davidson

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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By "jan-tore" on 28 Dec. 2000
Format: Paperback
Those who have read the Faber & Faber guides to wine regions such as Burgundy, Alsace and the Rhône valley and expect something similar, may be disappointed, but of course you can't squeeze that much into about 350 pages. What we get instead is a kind of long essay which covers Italy north of Tuscany. Belfrage still manages, almost miraculously, to cover quite a number of producers (including some that are not included in the Slow Food/Gambero Rosso annual guide to Italian wines), and, what's more, he gives you an idea of what's going on. A very useful update almost ten years after Burton Andreson's groundbreaking atlas. If you want to know more, you need to read Italian (and get the regional guides published by Slow Food).
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By Gary White TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 23 Jan. 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Comprehensive and detailed. Part of a series. Buy it now before it goes out of print - then the s/h price jumps to about £50!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 8 reviews
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Excellent guide to the wines of Northern Italy 28 Dec. 2000
By "jan-tore" - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Those who have read the Faber & Faber guides to wine regions such as Burgundy, Alsace and the Rhône valley and expect something similar, may be disappointed, but of course you can't squeeze that much into about 350 pages. What we get instead is a kind of long essay which covers Italy north of Tuscany. Belfrage still manages, almost miraculously, to cover quite a number of producers (including some that are not included in the Slow Food/Gambero Rosso annual guide to Italian wines), and, what's more, he gives you an idea of what's going on. A very useful update ten years after Burton Andreson's groundbreaking atlas. If you want to know more, you need to read Italian (and get the regional guides published by Slow Food).
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Great Book for Wines of Northern Italy 27 Feb. 2001
By "arossibridgewaterwine" - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Nicolas Belfrage has used his extensive wine knowledge and more importantly his excellent understanding of Italy to write a book for the serious wine lover. Belfrage takes you completely across northern Italy and describes the wines of each area. While he doesn't give vintage charts for the wines, he does discuss the recognized better producers which allows the reader to find the wines and make his own decisions. More maps and some color pictures would have made the book more visually appealing, but would have increased the cost and made the book less travel friendly. It's definitely a condensed source of information that will prove very useful to the Italian tourist/wine traveler. I've been fortunate enough to have seen many of the wine areas in northern Italy. I wish I would have had this book with me. On my next trip, Belfrage's book will be packed in my carry-on.
26 of 35 people found the following review helpful
Not good enough ! 9 Mar. 2000
By Kim Nielsen - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book is a disappointment ! Having bought other Faber books (publisher) I had expected a well-written walk-through of Northern Italy with extensive descriptions of many producers, many tasting notes and vintage charts.
Verdict ? There are absolutely no vintage charts, the description of the vineries are superficial, the book is badly organised (no headers to indicate where you are in the book, for quick look-ups) and generally no specifications to the producers individual Wines. To me, this is a 'blah-blah' book... Conclusion: NOT recommendable, neither to the amateur nor the 'pro'
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Trust me it deserves five stars! 23 Mar. 2008
By Christopher Barrett - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Absolutely invaluable in my quest for uncovering order behind Italian wine classifications (there is none by the way). The only other in depth books that cover Italy so well are the Vino Italiano and Italian wine for dummies...trust me even though it is a dummies book it is well done.

This text covers Northern Italy while the companion, Brunello to Zibbibo covers everything from Tuscany south.
Wonderful Resource 11 Mar. 2008
By Carl - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am still working my way through it, but this is an extremely informative book. It contains tons of information about regions of Italian wines that are not often addressed. The lists of quality producers for each grape, region, etc. make it easier to have a safe choice when ordering from a wine list.
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