Italy in a Wine Glass by Marc Millon, an IWR Book Review

This is a unique and fascinating book on Italian wine. My bookcase is stacked with wine books covering every possible topic, including the history of wine.  Some books are histories of a specific wine region (Mark Gudgel’s The Rise of Napa Valley Wineries), country (Thomas Pinney’s The Makers of American Wine), grape variety (Zinfandel by Charles L. Sullivan), people (John Hallman’s Thomas Jefferson on Wine), or ancient times (Joel Butler and Randall Heskett’s Divine Vintage).  Marc Millon’s book introduces a new wine history category, today’s wine in historical context.

The publisher is Melville House.

The subtitle of Millon’s book is “The Story of Italy Through its Wines,” and that is a good description of the book, which is organized chronologically and includes a discussion of the political and economic history and wines of each period along with detailed examples of modern wines and wineries that pay homage to the past.

As much as anything, this book is Marc Millon’s Italian wine memoire.  He has forty years’ experience traveling, tasting, and writing about Italian wine.  Furthermore, it’s obvious from the book that he has a deep interest in history and in the historical context in which wines have developed.  In addition to his personal insights, this is the unique character of this book.  For each historical period, he discusses the major events, the role and development of wine, and how specific wines and wineries of today are linked to the past.   This is not a quick read, at least if one doesn’t have a degree in Italian history, but the writing is cogent and stimulating, so I found myself repeatedly going online to learn more about specific events or wines or wine regions.  And, while I didn’t major in history or Italian, I have traveled and tasted around Italy for almost as long as Marc.

In short, if you know Italy and Italian wines and have at least a scintilla of curiosity about the role of wine in history, this book is compulsory reading.  And if you participate in a wine tasting group, you might think of using this book to organize tastings and discussions of Italian wine.

Reviewed by Donald Winkler

Source : https://i-winereview.com/blog/index.php/2024/05/19/italy-in-a-wine-glass-by-marc-millon-an-iwr-book-review/