Thursday, October 21, 2010

A Sicilian Slice

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.

I should note that I read his first book, Corkscrewed, while doing some wine studying. The book (as well as Camuto personally) directly led to my 2009 vendage participation at Domaine Rouge-Bleu. (Note: I also did a little writing while at the farm in Provence, and you can read that here.) I am indebted to Camuto not only for the introduction, but for what can only be described as an unexpected, incredibly soulful, French experience.

Given the above, what sticks with me most about Palmento is my identification of, what I suspect, is Camuto’s own soulful experience. The book is written from the perspective of someone returning to a vaguely familiar, yet unexplored, place.

Va bene, Robert. Va bene.   

1 comment:

  1. Oh, it is ages since I have been to Sicily, it is a beautiful place. Sounds like an author I need to investigate...