BEST THING ABOUT THIS BOOK: She says: If you’re traveling to Italy and you don’t like to schlep a lot of books with you, this MAY be the only travel book you need to take along. It’s excellent for wine tasting — and yet excellent for just traveling to Italy in a general way with just a few tastings of wine along the way. The brief descriptions of the region are just the right size for me – I like to figure a lot of stuff out on my own once I get to a town. And if you want full wine itineraries — this book has full wine itineraries, too.
She says: Every time I open a travel guide. I am amazed and deeply appreciative at how much human labor and work goes in to producing a book full of SO MANY details! (Thanks, Editorial Director Cynthia Clayton Ochterbeck!) Wine Trails of Italy tops the list of details, details, details. Even if you didn’t want to go to any wineries in Italy, you can use this book to understand all the different regions of Italy and a little of their history.
First on my list is always – look at the maps! I’m a map freak. Since Wine Trails of Italy covers the whole country, the first map I’m looking for is a map of the entire region. Rut-ro… there isn’t one. I can’t read a travel book without a map. To understand a country as a whole, I always need to see the map and get my bearings. Otherwise it’s just “too much information” and I can’t organize it properly in my head. I get lost. I get lost in real life… I get lost in a book… that’s my life. What to do? I searched for and printed two maps of the wine region of Italy. Thanks, Google! Here is a great map of the Italian wine regions for you, from Nick’s Wine Merchants in Australia! http://www.nicks.com.au/upload/file/file_200892012211515371.pdf THANKS, NICK!!
THE PRIMER: At the front of the book, you’ll find a great primer on “The World of WIne” Describing viticulture, an amazing cross-section drawing of a grape and it’s various parts (I had no idea!), tips on tasting wine, where to buy it, how to conserve it, how to serve it and a primer on the language of wine – with the words in Italian and English.
Let’s not forget the regulations… a nice description of IGT, DOC, DOCG and VQPRD is also included so when you read an Italian wine label, you’ll know what you are getting. Cheat sheet: DOCG means the most stringent regulations have been followed regarding production of the wine.
THE REGIONS: The book follows the 21 wine regions from North to South / and from West to East. Most regions in the book have a map of the region, showing you landmarks, which city the wine region is centered around, the highways and main roads. Only drawback on these maps is they show the region in purple. Cool, I get it, it’s the color of wine, but it’s very difficult to read black print on purple. Difficult to see the green roads and the red roads shown. And nearly impossible to notice the yellow roads.
He says: I have no trouble with the purple and the other colors.
She says: For me, it’s a waste of a map. I wish they had called us to review the book BEFORE it was published.
She continues: Each regions describes the terroir, the history of the area, which grape varieties are grown in the area – what the DOC designation is and a list of the “sub-zones” the smaller regions nearby so in case you are the “don’t want to miss a thing” group – you can visit the sub-zones, too.
The ITINERARIES: Michelin has possible itineraries for you for the region, marking historic sites (as well as their addresses, phone #s and website addresses. Wine interest places are indicated with a little wine glass. Sweet.
The ADDRESSES OF THE WINERIES: Just past the itineraries, you’ll find a list of the cellars and wineries with addresses, phone numbers, website address, whether they have accommodations, a brief history of the winery and then which wines you will find at the winery.
Way too much to cover in just a blog post – so if you like Italy, think you might like Italian wine, think you’d like to know a little more about it before you head off on a Do-It-Yourself wine trip or even on an organized tour — take along this book. You’ll be fully briefed and ready to roll.
Full disclosure stuff: She says: We heard about Wine Trails of Italy from Michelin Guides. I was ready to purchase my own, but a complimentary copy came in the mail. Poof! As usual, we appreciate any gifts we receive, but we are “bribe-less” and we will always write from our genuine reaction.