Synopses & Reviews
Mountainous terrain, volcanic soils, innumerable microclimates, and an ancient culture of winemaking influenced by Greeks, Phoenicians, and Romans make Italy the most diverse country in the world of wine. This diversity is reflected in the fact that Italy grows the largest number of native wine grapes known, amounting to more than a quarter of the worldand#8217;s commercial wine grape types. Ian Dand#8217;Agata spent thirteen years interviewing producers, walking vineyards, studying available research, and tasting wines to create this authoritative guide to Italyand#8217;s native grapes and their wines. Writing with great enthusiasm and deep knowledge, Dand#8217;Agata discusses more than five hundred different native Italian grape varieties, from Aglianico to Zibibbo.
Dand#8217;Agata provides details about how wine grapes are identified and classified, what clones are available, which soils are ideal, and what genetic evidence tells us about a varietyand#8217;s parentage. He gives historical and anecdotal accounts of each grape variety and describes the characteristics of wines made from the grape. A regional list of varieties and a list of the best producers provide additional guidance. Comprehensive, thoroughly researched, and engaging, this book is the perfect companion for anyone who wants to know more about the vast enological treasures cultivated in Italy.
"Hours of pleasure for those who are tired of drinking only chardonnay and merlot."
"Wine writers will tell you that they reach for two kinds of books: those for serious research and those for curling up in a favorite chair. When a book inhabits both categories, it is a rare and delightful tome indeed."
"Detailed, interesting and original and I recommend to anyone interested in Italian wines or the topic of native wine grapes generally. It is a seriously fascinating read."
"Intended for fans of Italian wine who want to learn more about all the native grape varieties, region by region. . . . An excellent reference tool for those interested in viticulture who would like to go beyond the science of tasting."
"'Definitive' is the term that comes to mind for this book. It is rare to find a book that seems to cover its subject so thoroughly that it banishes the thought of needing any further resource on the matter, but Native Wine Grapes of Italy by Ian Dand#8217;Agata is such a book."
"Kind of overwhelming, but oh so fascinating. The only thing to do is plunge in. . . . Iand#8217;m hooked."
"This book had to be written, and Ian D'Agata is the only person I know who could have done it. . . . I strongly suspect every wine professional and wine consumer with a serious interest in Italian wine will come to count on the book as an indispensable work of reference for many years to come."
"There's little anyone could possibly want to find out about Italian viticulture and viniculture that isn't here. It is a magnum opus of daunting authority."
"D'Agata didn't just write this book, he lived it, and it's clear that he takes personal responsibility for the fate of Italy's native grape varieties. The frustration, tenderness, and romance that infuse both anecdotes and technical passages alike make this book an unexpected page-turner."
"Italian wine lovers might look for information about certain grapes or simply leaf through this monograph, amused as I was by some of the facts Mr. D'Agata uncovered. Who knew, for example, that Grillo, the white grape of Sicily, is also the word for cricket in Italian? Or that the Pecorino grape was named after sheepherders? (Pecorino is, of course, more famously a cheese made from sheep's milk.)" -Lettie Teague's Six Favorite New Wine Books
"Superbly written, and very detailed . . . .Comprehensive and richly informative. His writing is excellent: his prose is flowing and easy-to-read."
"This is . . . a book for any ardent lover of Italian wine to keep handy. . . . His friendly, open voice and appealing combination of humility and pride are just right for his complex subject."
"This blend of personal recollection and definitive scholarship is an essential reference." - Best Wine Books of 2014
"D'Agata has done superb scholarship on grapes both minor and major. . . . Serious lovers of Italianate wines need this book."
"[Ian Dand#8217;Agata is] a bit like the pied piper of indigenous grapes."
"Dand#8217;Agataand#8217;s book knows no equal. . . . In my mind, what lifts this particular volume above and beyond is the way in which Dand#8217;Agataand#8217;s editor has chosen to preserve the authorand#8217;s inherent wry humour, charm, and wit across all 600+ pages."
and#147;Ian Dand#8217;Agata was born to write this exhaustive, indispensable book on Italian wine grapes. His passion is indefatigable and his writing effortless. His willingness to demolish myths makes this the definitive word on the subject.and#8221;
John Mariani, author of The Dictionary of Italian Food and Drink and How Italian Food Conquered the World
and#147;Ian Dand#8217;Agataand#8217;s amazingly comprehensive new guide enables adventurous wine lovers to investigate Italyand#8217;s vast storehouse of native grapes. Think of this book as a GPS device for finding each varietyand#151;from world-renowned to nearly extinctand#151;in its greatest manifestations.and#8221;
Stephen Tanzer, Editor/Publisher, International Wine Cellar
About the Author
Ian Dand#8217;Agata is a Rome-based wine writer and educator who writes regularly for Stephen Tanzerand#8217;s International Wine Cellar newsletter and for Decanter magazine. He is the Scientific Advisor of Vinitaly International and is now also Scientific Director of the Vinitaly Internationaland#160; Academy, and is the author of The Ecco Guide to the Best Wines of Italy.
Table of Contents
Map of Italyand#8217;s Wine Regions
Introduction: Understanding and#147;Nativeand#8221; and Classifying Grape Varieties
Part I. Grape Varieties: What, Where, When, Why, and How
1. Ampelology: The Art and Science of Grape Variety Identification
2. The Origin of Viticulture and a Brief History of Italyand#8217;s Grape Varieties
Part II. Italyand#8217;s Native and Traditional Grape Varieties and Wines
3. Grape Groups and Families
4. Major Native and Traditional Grape Varieties
5. Little-Known Native and Traditional Grape Varieties
Index of Grape Varieties