Guest Blogger: Chris Manganaro
For some people, wine factors quite a bit into their daily lives, whether they sell it or drink it. It can be part of the daily routine or simply an accompaniment with dinner. Depending on how important it is to the person drinking it, their knowledge varies. With how many types of wine there are in the world, it can be difficult to know what is best or worst. Many people no doubt just drink what they think tastes best. Of course, there is a lot more to it than meets the tongue.
Sergio Esposito is a wine aficionado. His passion for wine is explained in his book Passion on the Vine: A Memoir of Food, Wine, and Family in the Heart of Italy. From his humble Italian origins to where he and wine more or less stand today, we are taken along on his trips through Italy to discover everything there is to find about wine.
While the book tries to describe things in order, it tends to wander about quite a bit. Before discussing his childhood, he describes a time with his brother which is never really placed on the timeline of the book. This is not that important because it is more of a lead-in to the rest of the book, but it does seem odd that he never returns to finish the scene up a bit. Aside from this, the book is as chronological as possible, aside from the many, many times that Esposito goes into the back story of a newly met character. These times can be rather convoluted and hard to follow as they lack some necessary transition. Thankfully it does not affect things too much.
Since the book is about Esposito’s passion, one can easily feel the man’s love for the subject matter radiating off the page. His ardor is likely to exceed many readers of the book. This being the case, some people may find the book hard to get through. While he tries to keep things interesting, the book does have times where it feels like it is droning on. If you do not care much about wine, there is only so much of this book you will be able to enjoy.
The title and subtitle both mention wine, but they also mention food and family. This may lead readers to pick up the book expecting a bit more about something other than wine. Due to Esposito’s obsession with vino, the majority of the book is about wine and wine people. While his family does play a part, it is a rather small amount. The moments about his family and when he is with them are very tender and well-written. They are often the most charming parts, but they are a bit neglected because of Esposito’s work. At one point, he tries to put them first yet fails to do so.
Food is more easily integrated into the book as it naturally goes with wine; however, it is never truly in the spotlight. While the descriptions are dripping with sensory words, it does not make the book one for foodies.
This is a book for wine lovers, by a wine lover. For everyone else, there is a little something at least, but it is up to the reader if they want to wade through a sea of wine for whatever else they might find entertaining in this read.
For more on food ,wine and great recipes get your copy of the Gourmand World Award Winning Book: The Basic Art of Italian Cooking: Holidays and Special Occasions-2nd edition