Thursday, May 07, 2009

Travel to Italy with the Wine Book Club This Month

Sergio Esposito's life began in Naples, but he moved to New York when still a child. As a grown up, he found his feet--and his tastebuds--returning to Italy, first as an imbiber of Italian wine, then as a retailer, a sommelier, and finally an importer.

This month the Wine Book Club is reading Sergio Esposito's memoir of his experiences with the wine, food, and people of Italy in his Passion on the Vine: A Memoir of Food, Wine, and Family in the Heart of Italy. ($24.95; available through Amazon for $16.47; paperback edition available May 19)

May's selection was picked by Kori from Wine Peeps, and as I leaf through the book I have to say I am glad she picked it. It looks like the perfect late spring read, a book to not only make you want to know more about Italian wine but to give you the experience of a summer vacation right from your own armchair.

If you have any other great "armchair travel" books with a wine slant, please leave your suggestions below. Now that the weather is turning warmer, it will be nice to turn to some evocative books that will take us away from it all without leaving our own house. Other summer wine reads? Suggest them, too.

As always, post your review or leave your comments in this post before 5 pm on Wednesday, May 27, 2009 so that I can include them in the roundup on Thursday, May 28.


Richard Auffrey said...

This book is very compelling, and it led me to visit Sergio's wine store, Italian Wine Merchants, in NYC. I highly recommend the book.

I previously reviewed this book and here is the link to it.

Vera said...

A great armchair read along these lines is Ferenc Mate's "A Vineyard in Tuscany." Think Peter Mayle in Italy. Good humor, great images, leaves you wanting to share a glass.

Sonadora said...

Does it count if I already read and reviewed this one?? Yay, one I can participate in!

Anonymous said...

His ghostwriter did a nice job.

Romes said...

This was a great read - made me want to jump a flight to Italy immediately! I'm new to the book review, what do I need to do to provide you my review?

Dr. Debs said...

Richard and Sonadora, I'll include your posts in the wrapup. Vera--I think that title would be GREAT. Thanks for the suggestion. And Jessica, all you need to do is email a link to the review (if you have a blog), or post the review here in the comments. I'll include snippets in the wrap-up, either way.

Evan Dawson said...

Sergio Esposito has discovered the most important virtue of wine: It is not a beverage but a story of the men and women who make it. And that virtue just happens to be a wonderful marketing tool, which Esposito wields masterfully in his day job at Italian Wine Merchants.

The reader will struggle to find wines under $20, but the reward comes from an intimate understanding of Italy and its wines. From the old man of Piedmont to the eccentric old-school legend of Montalcino, Esposito captures memorable portraits. The stories are so rich that the reader will seek out the featured producers' wines and feel like they know the story of what is in the bottle.

The only leak comes in the fabulous (and fabulist?) story of The Prince. No doubt those wines exist, but Esposito pumps up the aged Malvasia wines to such a degree that they seem impossible to cherish fully. And consider: If a wine lover like Esposito obtained such a collection, would he sell it openly to the public? That is difficult to swallow.

But no matter. His relationships are credible, his writing is effective, and his taste in wines impeccable. This is one of the easiest and most enjoyable reads I've found in quite some time.

Evan Dawson