Sunday, July 28, 2019

The 2nd Most Important Book About Italian Wine – Ever

Ian D'Agata's latest book, "Italy's Native Wine Grape Terroirs"
If you are a lover of Italian wine, it is inevitable that you will become enmeshed in the arms of grape-laden vines. And it helps to have a good memory, preferably an encyclopedic one. Most of us aren’t possessed of such attributes, but thankfully there is a doctor in the house.

Ian D’Agata’s latest tome, “Italy’s Native Wine Grape Terroirs,” serves as a worthy companion to his groundbreaking work, “Native Wine Grapes of Italy.” Similarly named, with an additional word, terroir. Which is important to wine aficionados, as terroir is the vital link to understanding the wines from the grapes (a full explanation emanates from the book).

And so “Italy’s Native Wine Grape Terroirs” acts as a virtual Rosetta Stone for those who are confounded by the sheer volume of grapes that pour out from the Italian peninsula, let alone the various (and seemingly) endless and often similarly named wines that can discourage the novice.

With scores of people studying and testing for the various certification programs these days, in order to earn a pin and, hopefully, a decent paying job in the wine trade, D’Agata has made understanding the Italian wine and grape universe that much easier. Not to say it is a simple task. What these two books contribute to the greater understanding in the world of Italian wine are the vinous equivalent of Hercules cleaning the Augean stables. Thankfully, D’Agata didn’t have to do the work in just a day. But he made it a heck of a lot tidier for all of us.

A jocund fellow, D’Agata maintains a whirlwind schedule, circumnavigating the globe several times a year, in service to the greater understanding of Italian wines for the hordes of devotees, who linger on his every utterance. I count myself among those throngs of acolytes, in awe of his extensive knowledge and his ability to clearly elucidate the mysteries and abstruseness of Italian grapes in wine.

D’Agata starts out with an insight into how he got hooked on Italian wine. Enjoying his first career as a doctor, which prepared him for the endless data (real and imagined) surrounding the Italian wine miasma, it was on a hill overlooking Rome where he found his thrill. Joy followed shortly afterwards, and then the scientist and academician proceeded to fall lock, stock, and barrel in love with wine. He is multi-lingual; it can be brain splitting to be (a mere mortal) in his company while he articulates, gesticulates and pivots like a whirling dervish, now in English, then in Italian, wait(!) now in French, wait, was that a German phrase he just uttered? He’s a guru, he’s running faster than anyone else in the room. And he’s burning brighter too. We are all the more fortunate that these two books are now in print, as they represent, to me, two of the greatest and most seminal (and indispensable) books one can have in their wine library. Excerpt HERE

But wait, it’s 2019, people don’t accumulate libraries anymore. Fear not, On August 2, it’s available in Kindle form. And for the Luddites, hardcover is available later in the  month, which will fit beautifully on a book shelf.

Is this a book to read, cover to cover? I once asked myself that question about another great book, “Dionysus,” by Edward Hyams. Yes, is the answer. Read it. All of it. And then spend the rest of your life referring to the book, as it is your master class on Italy’s native wine grape terroirs.

From the University of California Press and  - about the book:

"Italy’s Native Wine Grape Terroirs is the definitive reference book on the myriad crus and the grand cru wine production areas of Italy’s native wine grapes. Ian D’Agata’s approach to discussing wine, both scientific and discursive, provides an easy-to-read, enjoyable guide to Italy’s best terroirs. Descriptions are enriched with geologic data, biotype and clonal information, producer anecdotes and interviews, and facts and figures compiled over fifteen years of research devoted to wine terroirs. In-depth analysis is provided for the terroirs that produce both the well-known wines (Barolo, Chianti Classico, Brunello di Montalcino) and those not as well-known (Grignolino d’Asti, Friuli Colli Orientali Picolit, Ischia). Everyday wine lovers, beginners, and professionals alike will find this new book to be the perfect complement to D’Agata’s previous award-winning Native Wine Grapes of Italy."

(Authors note: "As the subject of Italy’s wine terroirs and its many native grapes is immense, Ian will follow up with another book on Italy’s wine terroirs in 2020, essentially a part 2 to this first opus, one that will discuss more grapes and terroirs)."

The Kindle version will be released on August 2 of 2019 (I received an advance copy from the publisher). Do yourself a huge favor, order it now – do not wait. There are tests coming, seminars to be attending, you might even see Dr. D’Agata at one near you. The man, aside from being a genuinely wonderful person, is a font of knowledge. Tap it, uncork it, decant it and enjoy it as soon as possible. Don’t just collect it – drink it up. There’s more where that came from (with a promised part 2 in 2020). 

Highly Recommended

And if you don’t have the 1st Most Important Book About Italian Wine – Ever, “Native Wine Grapes of Italy,” get it too. Now.

Much thanks to Terroirist and Wine Industry Insight for recommending this article on their sites.

written and photographed by Alfonso Cevola limited rights reserved On the Wine Trail in Italy
wine blog +  Italian wine blog + Italy W

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