December 1, 2010
YOU CAN WIN THIS BOOK!
I knew I was going to love Robert Camuto’s Palmento: A Sicilian Wine Odyssey the moment I flipped it open. One of the dedication pages reads:
To the hope that
Amen! I wanted to reach through the pages and hug the author. (See my post on the dreaded Berlusconi bridge.)
But I digress. Here’s what you need to know:
:)Sicily is in the midst of a wine renaissance;
🙂Palmento–an entertaining romp through Sicily’s vineyards–will teach you all you need to know about her wines (and a lot about the new face of Sicily);
:)To be eligible to win Palmento all you have to do is add a comment on ANY of my blog posts between now and December 8, when the random drawing will take place. The winner needs to have an address either in Italy or North America. Thanks to the University of Nebraska Press for donating this book!
If you’re a fan of Sicily or a fan of wine, you’ll enjoy Palmento. The title refers to the tall old buildings that house rustic winepresses and are scattered around the island (now illegal to use because of those pesky EU regulations.) The author tools around in a Fiat Panda, bumping into old palmenti, hobnobbing with vintners and oenologists (pronounced eenologist, I just learned), swigging vino, and tucking into luscious meals. He writes beautifully of wine, food, and the characters in the Sicilian wine business.
One of whom is Arianna Occhipinti, the young woman below in white, whom I met two summers ago in the seaside village of Porto Paolo. (The woman in pink is Roberta Corradin, one of Italy’s top food writers.) Palemento devotes a chapter to Arianna, “a reed of a woman with dark hair that flowed to the middle of her back, black Byzantine eyes, and the intense concentrated look of a girl who has been up at night experimenting with alchemy.” She cultivates Frappato and Nero d’Avola grapes in the Southeast Sicilian town of Vittoria, in a completely organic way, never irrigating her vines, and, “is on the verge of becoming something of a winemaking star among the alternative wine set in New York and San Francisco…a young woman who chose to stay on the land of her ancestors and challenge the thinking of the contadini of her grandparents’ generation.” Here’s a link to Arianna’s blog.
Sicily’s vibrant new wine culture includes anti-Mafia winemakers (Libera Terra), new wines from Marsala, and, of course, the special wines of Mount Etna. Writes Camuto, “I went to Sicily in the winter of 2008 to explore and write about an emerging wine scene. What I discovered in more than a year of travels to the island was more than a fascinating, teeming wine frontier; I found something close to my own heartbeat.”
For a quick mini-lesson about Sicily’s wine renaissance, see this article from Best of Sicily Magazine.