From Publishers Weekly
At a young age, Esposito and his family move from Naples, Italy, to Albany, N.Y., where he first falls in love with wine in the basement dining room of his uncle's house. Even as he reflects on the poor quality of those first sips, he understands he was consuming the sense of family and the spirit of his crazy yet adored uncle. After opening a store in Albany, he moves to Manhattan to work as a sommelier in the early 1990s. There he partakes of haute cuisine and affluent wine collections, while learning the hierarchy of international wines. While French wines are considered the pinnacle of the industry and Californian wines are gaining interest, there are very few Italian wines of note. With a fiery passion, he determines to bring appreciation of the wines of his homeland to America and opens Italian Merchant Wines, where he continues today to import highly selected Italian wines. His writing is exuberant, and his wine descriptions evocative. A bottle of Ribolla reminds him of staring at a cracked painting of a beautiful woman from long ago. For lovers of wine, this is a full-bodied read about one man's passion and the many delectable moments along his journeys. (Apr.)
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Esposito’s earliest memories anchor firmly in the smells, tastes, and sounds of the suburban Neapolitan village of his birth. There he first encountered the raw materials from which sprang a gloriously vibrant cuisine. In 1974 Esposito departed Naples for upstate New York. He became decidedly American, but he never abandoned his Italian roots. Esposito appreciates the uniqueness and the unpretentiousness of good Italian food: “simultaneously no big deal and the biggest deal possible.” Summers in Europe gave him an ever-greater appreciation for wine, and business partnership with Joe Bastianich and Mario Batali allowed him to turn his passion into a thriving import enterprise that gave him the opportunity to share with American consumers his appreciation for the full spectrum of Italian wines. In these pages, Esposito recounts adventures and discoveries across the Italian peninsula as he sought out the best vintages to offer in his Manhattan retail shop. --Mark Knoblauch