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Palmento: A Sicilian Wine Odyssey (Anglais) Broché – 1 mars 2012

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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 13 commentaires
11 internautes sur 12 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Sicily as Metaphor 30 octobre 2010
Par A. Nelson - Publié sur
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
I am a great admirer of Mr. Camuto's previous book, "Corkscrewed," which focused on the "natural" wine scene in France and changed the way I think about, purchase, and appreciate wine. Palmento isn't necessarily a better book, but it should appeal to an even wider audience, thanks to Mr. Camuto's passion for Sicilian history and culture as well as to its broader insights and exploration of universal themes.

In his odyssey, Mr. Camuto inevitably reaches some dead ends, both literally (not literarily) and metaphorically. (Maps and first impressions of Sicily aren't always accurate, believe it or not!) Although these diversions are entertaining enough in their own right, they are highlighted by the numerous revelations he shares as he travels the island nation in search of wine, food, people, and places that can be not only inspirational but at times even mythic - like Mt. Etna itself, where grapes are being grown and wine is being made by modern-day characters who a few thousand years ago might have inspired Homer as well.

I've chosen several passages to illustrate how this book rises above being just another celebration of wine, although that's not an unworthy endeavor in itself:

"Wasn't it all related? Land, agriculture, exploitation, urbanization, the Mafia, were all part of Siciliy's sad and confounding history."

"To me there is no more important distinction in the wine world than between those who view land as a possession or a factory and those who care for it intimately."

"Biondi made no money from wine and seemed not to care. He was driven by other things: the footprints of his ancestors, the land that made him not want to build buildings, the black eruption carved into a phallus of a talisman, and the scent of a goddess of the night."

"I was thinking of how much more fragile existence was for most of us Westerners--dependent not on the soil and its seasons, but on money and sophisticated systems created to keep it circulating."

"I was beginning to see that passito is, as the name suggests, all about the passage of time: the lateness of the harvest, the weeks the grapes spent baking in the sun, and its years of aging. Unlike most wines that absorbed time haltingly and unevenly, passito seemed time's perfect reflection. If you knew it well enough, I figured, you could set your watch to it."

"The route we took was an all-too-typical Sicilian juxtaposition of beauty and squalor: the desolateness of Santo Stefano was followed by a spontaneous trash dump, a shepherd grazing his flock on weeds and trash, and the open wound of a cement plant just before we got to the road along the sea."

"There it was again: the sweeping verbal gesture magnified in the prism of Sicily, the pronouncement so poetic it nullified any arguments before they could take their first breath. The vines, the amphorae, the thousands of years of history, the palmenti, the volcano--the beauty and power of it all. In Italy, of course, beauty is next to holiness. Sicily was long the most treasured daughter of the Mediterranean. So who can teach Sicily anything about beauty?"

"'It is like a village or a city here,' Foti said. `Some of the vines are young, some are old, some are more intelligent, and others more stupid.'"

Some reviewers have said that reading Palmento has moved them to include Sicily in their immediate travel plans. I feel the same motivation; but even if I never go, I will still be searching for what is "Sicilian" in the rest of the world.
8 internautes sur 9 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Robert's gift to Sicily or Sicily's gift to Robert 2 août 2010
Par BRANDON TOKASH - Publié sur
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
When I first met Robert up high on Etna in a little obscure town (Solicchiata) at a even more obscure bar, Sandro's, I thought that here's another American wine/travel writer who would spend a couple days with us and then just go away forever. He didn't. Robert kept coming back and with each time he was more inquisitive and passionate about Etna and the people who lived and worked on "Mongibello".

There have been a lot of books written about Sicily, wine, and her people lately but if you're looking to get an upfront and personal insight into the people and traditions of this island then this is a must read. I can't think of a better writer today that fully captures the essence of his subject than Robert Camuto. He doesn't compile tons of technical data to overwhelm us by how much he knows, Robert tells stories about the people he meets and places he visits. He shares his life's journeys with us and in this case, in this book the people and many friends he's made along the way. The wonder of his latest writing is in the intimacy and sharing of the stories just like if we were there with him. On a few occasions I was which is why I can say that Robert has captured the heart and soul of everyone he writes about in this book.

Oh, I almost forgot to say something about Robert's take on Sicilian wine. By the time you close the last page of the book there's no doubt in my mind that you'll be able to walk into a wine shop and know more than anyone else in the store about Sicilian wines and some of her producers.

If you've never been to Sicily then after reading this book you'll probably want to come. If you've already been here then Robert's stories will trigger fond memories that will probably bring you back.

Bravo Robert, Mongibello awaits you, come back soon!.....Brandon
7 internautes sur 8 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Finally... 24 août 2010
Par A reader - Publié sur
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
At long last someone has written a book to match the quality of "Adventures on the Wine Route." This oeno-centric travelogue, though, focuses more of its attention on people--individuals and families, along with the culture of a specific place. Neither a guide nor a collection of tasting notes: Camuto writes about tradition and innovation, old and young, even good and evil (without the commercial angle that sometimes pops up in the earlier title). Remarkably evocative of the local landscape and climate, some special meals, and the change that appears to be coming to Sicily. I didn't need to know very much at all about the island or its wines to become engrossed in this book, which I found hard to put down. Like "Adventures," I'm confident I'll be returning to certain passages again in order to reacquaint myself with some of the winemakers Camuto met.
3 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Sicily's Wines, Sicily's Redemption 31 octobre 2010
Par Ronald Holden - Publié sur
Format: Relié
Ringed by rich waters and covered with dense forests, amazingly fertile hillsides and ancient vineyards, Sicily is southern Italy's gastronomic paradise. "When it comes to bounty from land and sea, modern Sicilians are the most spoiled people on the planet," writes Robert Camuto in his new book about Sicily, "Palmento."

Camuto;s first book, Corkscrewed, was a love-letter to the small, independent wine growers of France. The feistiness of the French is intellectual; the passion of the Italians is different, rooted in a fierce loyalty to family and respect for the land.

Sicily is dominated by an active volcano on its eastern shore, Mount Etna, and the island is both a crucible of original recipes and a melting pot of culinary traditions. Etna, growling and regularly oozing glowing lava from its flanks, shares its slopes with vineyards, olive groves and citrus orchards: red nerello mascalese, white cataratto, carricante and malvasia di Lipari. (The world being what it is, one also finds the ubiquitous cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay.) Wines were once made right in the vineyards, using ancient stone presses called palmenti; it's in tribute to this tradition that Camuto titled his "Palmento." He calls it a Sicilian wine odyssey, but it's more. Camuto has written a cultural history of the island by telling the stories of a dozen wine growing families; he's not, he points out, a wine writer but a writer with a particular interest in the stories of wine makers. His profiles of the Occhipinti and Planeta families, come to life on the page, but the most fascinating part of the book, for me, was the chapter he devoted to the island's ancient capital city of Palermo.

Here is both historic grandeur and inexplicable rubble. "I thought about dinner and I thought about wine. What do the Palermitani drink with their diet of beauty and decay, divinity and chaos? I wondered."

In the city's historic center he finds the locally famous Antica Focacceria San Francisco, where a police car has been parked out front ever since the restaurant's owner, Vincenzo Conticello, refused to pay the Mafia's pizzo (protection money). That was five years ago. Others had refused similar demands and were gunned down on streetcorners. Two prosecutors investigating the Mafia were killed, their cars blown up by bombs. Conticello has had armed guards since 2005, and doesn't sleep in the same bed two nights in a row.

But there is hope. Libera Terra is a coop that now makes wine on land seized from the Mafia, outside the town of Corleone, no less. (On its own, Sicily produces more wine than New Zealand and Austria combined.) Fifty years ago, Il Gattopardo ("The Leopard") chronicled the slow demise of the island's aristocracy, like a Sicilian "Gone With the WInd." Camuto suggests that it is wine, in the end that may provide the unifying metaphor for the island's new identity.
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
An endearing letter to Sicily 22 octobre 2010
Par Quebecois at Heart - Publié sur
Format: Relié
There are some writers who have a gift for capturing place - and Robert Camuto, in his most recent book Palmento, elegantly does just that.

Picking up in Sicily where he left off in the French countryside in Corkscrewed (his first book dealing with up-and-coming French winemakers), Camuto delves, ever so delicately, into present-day Sicily through its viticultural personalities (both lesser and well-known), as well as its geography and food. From the first chapter, in which he describes an unbelievable dinner, through his many visits with grape growers, the reader is given a front-row seat to wine, food, and place that are each a unique mix of tradition and modernity.

Rest assured you need know nothing about wine to become hooked - Camuto is, first and foremost, a writer. With his perceptive yet compassionate pen, Camuto brings to life Sicily's past and present through the toils of the characters that are Sicily's current wine growers. He masterfully weaves in grape and wine category information. Not only will you look at wine labels differently the next time you are at the wine store, but you will want to travel to Camuto's Sicily. I know I do.

Va bene.

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