I can think of no greater treat than traveling throughout Italy with Joseph Bastianich, the author of Grandi Vini: An Opinionated Tour of Italy's 89 Finest Winesand having not only a food lover guide me but a world expert on Italian wines.
Joseph is co-owner, along with his mother Lydia Bastianich and Mario Batali, of twenty restaurants. He brought my favorite foodie haven, Eataly, to New York---and he owns three vineyards in Italy.
Don't you agree he would be the perfect guide to all things Italian? Much as I hate to admit it, this will probably never happen. So with that firmly sinking in, I was happy to receive his new book!
Rather than a grand overview and overgloss, Joseph chose to hand pick 89 wines that he thinks you should try and then literally takes you by the hand to the vineyards to meet the owners and their terroir.
I almost wish it had been a bigger book, with luscious photographs to go along with the prose. Although being the size that it is makes it easy to tuck into your bag when you're traveling. And being the way it is organized, by region and then by the wines he recommends in that region, it becomes a veritable driving guide to the wines of Italy. This is the book I would pop in the glove compartment while whizzing around on a culinary voyage.
It's a fascinating read.
"Kurni may be the first example of a wine whose popularity was directly propelled by new social media. In the last decade, Kurni has become an underground favorite able to excite---but also divide---wine lovers like no other."
I had never heard of Kurni. Even the name didn't sound Italian. And where was it from? It is from Marche, where montepulciano grapes grow. Ahhhhh. Now I see.
"When the first bottles of Kurni were released, people thought a miracle had occurred. The wine had a dark, deep color; it had an intense nose and an explosive, powerful, almost chewable structure."
Now I want pasta. I want pasta and a bottle of Kurni. This is what Joseph's writing does to you. He takes you into the unknown and intrigues you. Can I find this wine in America? Yes! Joseph made sure to only recommend wines we can find here. Thank you! The next time I am in New York I'm going to stop into the wine store at Eataly, where I am sure they stock the wines featured in this book. I already go there to buy the Proseco from his vineyard outside of Venice, now there is another reason to go.
And I'm always going to keep a copy of this book in my car. It's the one guide to Italian wines I have found that has truly fascinated me and makes me want to search out the 89 stars in Joseph's personal heaven.
Grandi Vini: An Opinionated Tour of Italy's 89 Finest Wines by Joseph Bastianich