Uncorked: My Journey Through the Crazy World of Wine by Marco Pasanella (New York: Clarkson Potter, 2012. 224 pp).
Marco Pasanella is the proprietor of Pasanella and Son Vintners, which opened in south Manhattan in 2005. The shop has been included in top-ten lists in New York Magazine, Food & Wine, and Elle. He has written for Esquire, GQ, Vogue, and The New York Times.
Pretentious or Accessible?
|Photo by Derek Gavey|
Most often, wine is viewed as the beverage of choice for the snobby and elite. You can picture an Italian scoffing at lesser folk while he sips a nice chianti. Or worse, a Frenchman who fails to admit that any other country could possibly produce a good wine. However, as of late, wine represents the beverage of the everyman.
“Wine, I also realized early on, appeals to people who like secrets. Whether it’s hedge funders determined to be more inside than their peers or the people who like The Da Vinci Code, wine aficionados tend to like mystery. And whine seems to demand a special knowledge. But the truly devoted seek more: the want to be clued into the stories behind the labels…Think Thomas Pynchon with a little Umberto Eco thrown in. It’s a seductive brew of fact, legend, and gossip” (8).
The Mystery and Setup
|Photo by Angela Rutherford|
Realizing the mystery of wine, and the vast gamete of people it attracts, Marco and his wife brutally labored over the operation of their shop. Should they do something traditional, or different? The couple tried a wine library, a wine “museum”, and a handmade/homemade feel.
“I didn’t want the store to feel like a museum lesson or an elegant warehouse. I wanted it to evoke the part of my life that I remember from my summers at Villa Cannizzaro, our family’s seventeenth-century stone house in Camaiore, a small town outside of Lucca in Tuscany” (31).
Why It’s Good
|Photo by Andreas Levers|
But, it isn’t the frantic, fast-paced evolution of his shop that makes for a good read, though the risks he and his family took financially do compel. Marco tells of the various people that came to work with them in the throes of wine-selling battle. He tells of dinner parties with ample amounts of wine.
Verdict: 4 out of 5
Posted by: Andrew Jacobson
Powell’s Books Shop Indie Bookstores Amazon.com