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Vino Italiano: Regional Wines of Italy Paperback – 15 Aug 2005
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A comprehensive, authoritative survey of the wines of Italy explores the country's various wine-producing regions; identifies different wine styles, producers, and vintages; and presents a variety of delicious regional recipes, along with helpful tips for wine enthusiasts. Reprint. 15,000 first printing.
From the Inside Flap
At one time, Italian wines conjured images of cheap Chianti in straw-wrapped bottles. More recently, expensive "Super Tuscans" have been the rage. But between these extremes lay a bounty of delicious, moderately priced wines that belong in every wine drinker's repertoire.
Vino Italiano is the only comprehensive and authoritative American guide to the wines of Italy. It surveys the country's wine-producing regions; identifies key wine styles, producers, and vintages; and offers delicious regional recipes. Extensive reference materials--on Italy's 300 growing zones, 361 authorized grape varieties, and 200 of the top producers-- provide essential information for restaurateurs and wine merchants, as well as for wine enthusiasts.
Beautifully illustrated as well as informative, Vino Italiano is the perfect invitation to the Italian wine experience.
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What jumped out at me though was the book's accessibility. It doesn't assume you know anything about Italian wines or grape varieties. Each chapter begins with an anecdote about the region of interest, talking about the people, climate, and history, so you really get a taste for the region, rather than just a list of facts. For each region, there are designed tastings, so that you can go through some wines with guidance if you want, and a section on food with the wine, with recipes for local cuisine. There is serious discussion on wine-making and viticulture too, with a discussion on a few producers thrown in if you want to go deeper.
If one thing disappointed, it was that this book is clearly written for an American audience. Often there was discussion about what was or wasn't imported in the US, or current US wine trends. All of the guided tastings are designed to be wines you can get in the US, and the recipes for the local cuisine are measured in cups. Obviously the content about the wine and grapes is country independent, but if you are looking to access some of the tasting material, this is worth considering.
Overall though, I was very pleased with the book, and at the price I paid for it (around £8), it represents excellent value for money. I learnt a lot about Italian wine, and, rare for a long wine book, was able to read it cover to cover. If you are looking to learn something about Italian wine, it is difficult to see a better place to start.
1. Italian wine history, law and labelling (15 pages)
2. The different wine regions of Italy and the various wines made there (360 pages)
3. Reference material (130 pages)
The meat of the book is section 2, and it is fantastic. Each of Italy's wine regions are covered in their own chapter. As well as covering all the important wines made in the region, each chapter opens with a story about the region to illustrate the regional character. Whilst reading these one can't help but daydream about lazy summer afternoons spent sipping wine in the Italian countryside... which definitely puts you in the mood for a drink! At the end of each chapter there is a "Fast Facts" section revising the main info from the chapter. Finally, each regional chapter concludes with a "food for the wine" section. This is not pretentious navel-gazing; Italian wines are made to be enjoyed with food.
In summary - I'm a bit of a wine-geek and own lots of books about wine. This is definitely one of my favourites