Passion on the Vine: A Memoir of Food, Wine, and Family in the Heart of Italy
Reviewed by Wes Marshall, Fri., May 29, 2009
Passion on the Vine: A Memoir of Food, Wine, and Family in the Heart of Italyby Sergio Esposito
Broadway Books, 304 pp., $14.95 (paper)
Sergio Esposito partners with Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich in a high-end Italian wine shop and importer called Italian Wine Merchants. He also publishes a useful and fun-to-read letter that arrives in your e-mail folder irregularly but often (no RSS, Twitter, or any other way as of yet). As with his partners, Esposito is on a mission to tempt and entice everyone possible to see Italy as the cultural center of the food and wine universe. After reading Passion on the Vine, it's hard to disagree with him. This is neither a book about wine nor a cookbook, although food and wine play principal roles. Instead, it's a confessional about abrupt changes in life, about family love, intellectual discovery, and the powerful draw of culture. Esposito takes us along on a trip of discovery, and just as he is living it, there is a surprise around every corner. Anyone who loved Kermit Lynch's Adventures on the Wine Route: A Wine Buyer's Tour of France should be equally rapt over Passion on the Vine, though Esposito's is the more heart-on-the-sleeve of the two, as befitting a good Italian tale. It's highly recommended for armchair travelers and wine lovers alike.
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