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Thursday, July 25, 2013


1. THE WORLD OF SICILIAN WINE (University of California Press, 2013,
307 pages, ISBN 978-0-520-26618-6, $34.95 US hard covers) is by Bill
Nesto, MW, and Frances Di Savino. Nesto is a founder of the Wine
Studies Program at Boston University, and has written for many food and
beverage magazines. This is a basic – but comprehensive – dive into a
regional wine, from ancient times through modern changes. It's a guide
with 5 small sketch maps that are more illustrative than useful.
Nevertheless, there is plenty of textual material covering origins,
varieties, geography, viticulture and winemaking, plus an exploration
of the three valleys (Mazara, Noto, and Demone). The island is
important because it was an early Mediterranean cross-roads, with
impact from Greek and Phoenician traders and settlers beginning in the
eighth century BCE. Many conquests happened over the years, but the
indigenous grape varieties continued to flourish (Nero d'avola, Nerllo
mascalese, Frappato, Grillo, and others). With the internationalization
of the wine business, international grape varieties sprung up along
with modern wine methods. Over the years, wines were blended, but
lately there have been more exports of indigenous varieties braced up
by small amounts of global grapes. There are descriptions of the
leading wineries and the DOC areas, as well as tasting notes. The book
concludes with end notes and bibliographic references for further
reading. This is a major contribution to knowledge about Italian
viticultural history.
Audience and level of use: lovers of Italian wines, libraries, wine
book collectors.
Some interesting or unusual facts: Grillo vineyards occupy about 6000
hectares (5.2 per cent of total vineyards in Sicily), and DNA shows
Zibibbo and Catarratto as parents.
The downside to this book: some detailed (not outlined) maps would have
been useful.
The upside to this book: a nicely written specialized regional wine
Quality/Price Rating: 88.

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