VINO ITALIANO: Discovering the Regional Wines of Italy
With nearly 400 authorized wine grape varieties scattered over the 21 regions of its boot-shaped peninsula, Italy has long proved difficult for wine writers to cover comprehensively and accurately. This collaborative effort by Bastianich (co-owner with Mario Batali of Babbo, Esca and Lupa in New York City) and Lynch (senior editor at Wine & Spirits magazine), a restaurant wine director and writer, is clearly up to the challenge, and the result is a lively and informative primer on Italian wines for the neophyte consumer and connoisseur collector alike. The heart of the book lies in its insightful regional narratives (beginning with Friuli, in the northeast down through Calabria to Sicily in the Mediterranean), which spring to life through interviews with local restaurateurs and vintners. For those of a quantitative bent, each region has a "Fast Facts" section that offers relevant statistics on wine production, grape varieties and vintages. Five appendices cover Italian wine terms, grapes by region, key producers by region and importers. Designed to incite the reader to travel as well as taste, there are also tips about where to go for wine tourism and what cuisine to sample. Food and wine are inextricably linked in Italian culture, and the book makes this point by including local recipes from Bastianich's chef and cookbook author mother, Lidia, and Mario Batali, who also writes the foreword. Dishes such as Risotto al Barolo and Abbachio al Diavolo are designed to showcase regional wines, and honesty and professionalism dictate the authors' wine assessments. Illus. not seen by PW. (Mar.)
Forecast:This fine volume, one of very few on Italian wine, should sell well, especially with such heavy-hitting names behind the book.