I tasted and researched the history of over 300 Italian grape varieties for this book. I wrote it for wine lovers and those who work with Italian wines. I also include recipes, which can enhance the pleasure offered by wines made by these unusual varieties. You will find all the old favorites – such as Nebbiolo, Sangiovese, Pinot Grigio, Primitivo and Nero d’Avola – as well as varieties with potential – such as Garganega, Timoraso and Uva di Troia.
How this book came to be:
I have worked with Italian wines for some twenty-five years, often taking trips to various parts of the country to visit producers and taste their wines. Invariably in the late 1990s and early years of the new century producers would present me with wines made from Cabernet and Chardonnay grapes. This disturbed me deeply as I knew of Italy’s patrimony of unique varieties. I would always ask the producers if they had anything else to show me and slyly they would pull out other bottles of wines made from local grapes. When I asked why they had not presented these first, producers replied that American, English and European wine buyers had told the producers that “international” consumers would not be able to understand the flavors and fragrances of these varieties and therefore would not buy them. This, made my blood boil. My feeling was that consumers would appreciate these wines if information about them was presented properly. So I decided to write a book about indigenous grape varieties that would help sommeliers, wine buyers and consumers make informed decisions.