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Book review: The Finest Wines of Tuscany and Central Italy

>> Monday, January 10, 2011

The Finest Wines of Tuscany and Central Italy
By: Nicolas Belfrage
Photo: Jon Wyand
Fine Wine Editions

This is the personal selection of the best producers in primarily Tuscany (and a bit more) by a great Italian wine expert, Nicolas Belfrage. He has previously written several books on Italian wines. The book is nicely put together by the same people who make The World of Fine Wine Magazine. An excellent book for the Italian wine enthusiast. The bulk of the book is dedicated to Belfrage’s selection of what he considers the best producers in the region. A selection of the “best” can always be debated but Belfrage is certainly better placed than most to find the most interesting producers. There are almost a hundred producer profiles. Each producer profile goes into quite some detail and is illustrated with very nice photos by Jon Wyand. The districts that are covered are mainly Chianti and the Tuscan coast, Montalcino, Montepulciano, San Gimignano, and in lesser detail Umbria, Romagna and the Marche. It is certainly very commendable to have extended the book to include some of the lesser-known (but not necessarily less interesting) wine regions. Each area gets a few pages of introduction and a (not very detailed) map. Detailed tasting notes are happily absent and the focus is on the persons and the estates. The introductory chapters cover things like grape varieties (an interesting thing in Italy!), winemaking techniques and traditions, history etc. It is a biggish soft-cover book (320 pages) but small enough to bring with you when going there. A very valuable addition to the Italian wine library!

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