Palmento: A Sicilian Wine Odyssey

Overview


Inspired by a deep passion for wine, an Italian heritage, and a desire for a land somewhat wilder than his home in southern France, Robert V. Camuto set out to explore Sicily?s emerging wine scene. What he discovered during more than a year of traveling the region, however, was far more than a fascinating wine frontier. 

Chronicling his journey through Palermo to Marsala, and across the rugged interior of Sicily to the heights of Mount Etna, Camuto captures the ...

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Overview


Inspired by a deep passion for wine, an Italian heritage, and a desire for a land somewhat wilder than his home in southern France, Robert V. Camuto set out to explore Sicily’s emerging wine scene. What he discovered during more than a year of traveling the region, however, was far more than a fascinating wine frontier. 

Chronicling his journey through Palermo to Marsala, and across the rugged interior of Sicily to the heights of Mount Etna, Camuto captures the personalities and flavors and the traditions and natural riches that have made Italy’s largest and oldest wine region the world traveler’s newest discovery. In the island’s vastly different wines he finds an expression of humanity and nature—and the space where the two merge into something more.

Here, amid the wild landscapes, lavish markets, dramatic religious rituals, deliciously contrasting flavors, and astonishing natural warmth of its people, Camuto portrays Sicily at a shining moment in history. He takes readers into the anti-Mafia movement growing in the former mob vineyards around infamous Corleone; tells the stories of some of the island’s most prominent landowning families; and introduces us to film and music celebrities and other foreigners drawn to Sicily’s vineyards. His book takes wine as a powerful metaphor for the independent identity of this mythic land, which has thrown off its legacies of violence, corruption, and poverty to emerge, finally free, with its great soul intact.

Watch the Palmento book trailer on YouTube.

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Editorial Reviews

Eric Asimov
From the craggy vineyards of Mount Etna to the tiny moscato-producing island of Pantelleria, and from every angle of its wine hierarchy, Mr. Camuto extracts fascinating and illuminating details about Sicily, bringing to life the characters, conflicts and family dynamics that define a culture and its wines. It's a beautiful, enthralling work, eternally wistful and hopeful, much like Sicily itself.
—The New York Times
The Daily Sip

"[Camuto] tells the story of Sicilian culture through wine and winemakers. I think it''s brilliant, it puts wine in perspective and it captures or epitomizes the way I would like to think of wine: as part of a cultural spectrum rather than something to be analyzed and scored."—Eric Asimov, The Daily Sip, bottlenotes.com

— Eric Asimov

Shelley Lindgren

“Robert is brilliant, witty, and thorough in describing the true characters of Sicilian wine today, uncovering the very human and heartwarming side to making wine in a wine paradise. . . Bravo!!”—Shelley Lindgren, partner/wine director of A16 and SPQR restaurants and coauthor of A16: Food + Wine

Kermit Lynch

“Thank goodness the publisher sent me an advance copy so I can get to Camuto’s Sicily before everyone else. Here are the sights and sounds, the smells and tastes, and plenty of hopes and fears from what sounds like an island paradise.”—Kermit Lynch, wine importer and author of Adventures on the Wine Route: a Wine Buyer’s Tour of France

New York Times

"From the craggy vineyards of Mount Etna to the tiny moscato-producing island of Pantelleria, and from every angle of its wine hierarchy, Mr. Camuto extracts fascinating and illuminating details about Sicily, bringing to life the characters, conflicts and family dynamics that define a culture and its wines. It’s a beautiful, enthralling work, eternally wistful and hopeful, much like Sicily itself."—Eric Asimov, New York Times

— Eric Asimov

Powell's Books

"You’d better be ready to open a good bottle of wine and prepare some appetizers before you start reading—the author’s tantalizing writing will drive you to snacking."—Tracey, Powell’s Books

— Tracey

Wine Spectator

"[Robert Camuto’s] affection for Sicily and its citizens is heartfelt, and his skill and enthusiasm combine to create a captivating portrait of a singular culture."—Thomas Matthews, Wine Spectator

— Thomas Matthews

chow.com

"[Robert Camuto’s] book—half wine book, half travelogue—is entertaining and enlightening and will certainly pique your interest in visiting Sicily and drinking Sicilian wines."—Jordan Mackay, chow.com

— Jordan Mackay

Shelley Lindgren
"Robert is brilliant, witty, and thorough in describing the true characters of Sicilian wine today, uncovering the very human and heartwarming side to making wine in a wine paradise. . . . Bravo!!"

-Shelley Lindgren, partner/wine director of A16 and SPQR restaurants and coauthor of A16: Food + Wine

Kermit Lynch
"Thank goodness the publisher sent me an advance copy so I can get to Camuto's Sicily before everyone else. Here are the sights and sounds, the smells and tastes, and plenty of hopes and fears from what sounds like an island paradise."

-Kermit Lynch, wine importer and author of Adventures on the Wine Route: a Wine Buyer's Tour of France

Los Angeles Times

"Camuto does a good job of evoking the beauty and mystery of the island, and captures some dozen winemakers in profiles that range from the very brief to the very detailed. . . . Through his eyes, I enjoyed meeting Giusto Occhipinti of COS, Diego Planeta, Frank Cornelissen, Marco de Bartoli and others."—S. Irene Virbila, Los Angeles Times

— S. Irene Virbila

New York Times - Eric Asimov

"From the craggy vineyards of Mount Etna to the tiny moscato-producing island of Pantelleria, and from every angle of its wine hierarchy, Mr. Camuto extracts fascinating and illuminating details about Sicily, bringing to life the characters, conflicts and family dynamics that define a culture and its wines. It’s a beautiful, enthralling work, eternally wistful and hopeful, much like Sicily itself."—Eric Asimov, New York Times
Wine Spectator - Thomas Matthews

"[Robert Camuto's] affection for Sicily and its citizens is heartfelt, and his skill and enthusiasm combine to create a captivating portrait of a singular culture."—Thomas Matthews, Wine Spectator
Los Angeles Times - S. Irene Virbila

"Camuto does a good job of evoking the beauty and mystery of the island, and captures some dozen winemakers in profiles that range from the very brief to the very detailed. . . . Through his eyes, I enjoyed meeting Giusto Occhipinti of COS, Diego Planeta, Frank Cornelissen, Marco de Bartoli and others."—S. Irene Virbila, Los Angeles Times
chow.com - Jordan Mackay

"[Robert Camuto's] book—half wine book, half travelogue—is entertaining and enlightening and will certainly pique your interest in visiting Sicily and drinking Sicilian wines."—Jordan Mackay, chow.com
Powell's Books - Tracey

"You'd better be ready to open a good bottle of wine and prepare some appetizers before you start reading—the author's tantalizing writing will drive you to snacking."—Tracey, Powell's Books
Library Journal
Like the best of life's adventures, what began as Camuto's (Corkscrewed: Adventures in the New French Wine Country) exploration of Sicily's up-and-coming wine scene became something else entirely. Discussions of food, wine, culture, politics, tradition, history, and community interweave and unfold with an easy but never lackadaisical pace. Though the structure is that of a year-in-the-life immersive travelog, there is a lot of wine talk; but even as Camuto breaks down methodologies, the story never dries. Fans of Peter Mayle will feel right at home.
Kirkus Reviews

An Italian-American writer embeds himself in the Sicilian wine trade for a year.

Wine Spectator contributor Camuto (Corkscrewed: Adventures in the New French Wine Country, 2008) takes an intimate journey through vineyards from Marsala to Corleone and up the slopes of Mt. Etna on the island that is said to boast as many as 4,000 grape varieties. Sleeping in rustic agriturismo lodgings and enjoying foods from the nearby farms—bright green pistachios, plump olives, cassata cake filled with sheep's-milk ricotta—the author extracts illuminating insights from both seasoned and novice winemakers, whose methodologies range from staunchly traditional to trail-blazingly controversial, revealing vivid familial lore, historical tragedies and triumphs, technical challenges in the present and innovative plans for the future of their enterprises. Whether chatting in cavernous vat rooms filled with massive clay amphorae, the back booth of a 19th-century focacceria now under anti-mafia protection or amid craggy branches on terraced vineyards, Camuto gleans illuminating nuggets of wisdom, as when third-generation winemaker Giuseppe Tasca sums up his family's ethos: "My grandfather understood that you make wine in the vineyard...not in the winery." Though other books offer in-depth portraits of Sicilian winemakers and their product—including Kate Singleton's Wines of Sicily (2004) and Carlo Gambi's photographicJourney Among the Great Wines of Sicily (2008)—by coexisting with his subject through four contiguous seasons, Camuto captures an intimate family album that eloquently details the idiosyncrasies, charisma and drive of Sicilian winemakers today.

The author digs deep into the rich artisanal soil of Sicily's wine culture, unearthing centuries-old lineage and lore while closely studying villages, vintages, vintners, vats and a few intriguing vendettas.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780803239951
  • Publisher: University of Nebraska Press
  • Publication date: 3/1/2012
  • Series: At Table
  • Pages: 312
  • Sales rank: 952,487
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author


Robert V. Camuto is an award-winning journalist and travel writer. He is a contributor to Wine Spectator and the Washington Post and the author of Corkscrewed: Adventures in the New French Wine Country, available in a Bison Books edition.
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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2011

    Highly Recommended

    Enjoy

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    Posted April 27, 2012

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