Customer Reviews


64 Reviews
5 star:
 (50)
4 star:
 (6)
3 star:
 (3)
2 star:
 (5)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favorable review
The most helpful critical review


24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book to be savored and enjoyed, just like a fine Chianti
There is something both exhilarating and heartwarming reading the exploits of an author who lives and ultimately accomplishes his dream. The story becomes even more uplifting when his or her aspirations can be shared by readers who have experienced the joys described in the adventure. Ferenc Máté had a dream to move to Tuscany, own a vineyard and produce...
Published on November 30, 2007 by Bookreporter

versus
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Depends on your expectation
Based on the other reviews, I had high hopes for this book; I expected a more thorough story of his experience starting his own vineyard, people he had interacted with and the "terrior" of his vineyard embedded with light-hearted anecdotes. Instead, I found the details lacking. Little time is spent on the characters who appeared in the book, the restoration of the...
Published on June 19, 2008 by Just Another Reader


‹ Previous | 1 27 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book to be savored and enjoyed, just like a fine Chianti, November 30, 2007
By 
Bookreporter (New York, New York) - See all my reviews
This review is from: A Vineyard in Tuscany: A Wine Lover's Dream (Hardcover)
There is something both exhilarating and heartwarming reading the exploits of an author who lives and ultimately accomplishes his dream. The story becomes even more uplifting when his or her aspirations can be shared by readers who have experienced the joys described in the adventure. Ferenc Máté had a dream to move to Tuscany, own a vineyard and produce award-winning wine. A VINEYARD IN TUSCANY is the story of how he and his wife accomplished that goal. For anyone who has visited the beautiful province described in his glorious prose and partaken of the wines produced in its vineyards, this book is to be savored and enjoyed, just like a fine Chianti or other exquisite wine of the region.

Of course one does not just decide on a whim that a Tuscan vineyard is their life ambition. Máté sets the scene for readers by describing in beautiful detail his family life in Italy. He and his wife Candace, a painter, had purchased and restored a small villa in Tuscany called La Marinaia (an apt name for property owned by Máté, who has written several books with nautical themes). While he loved the property, the two acres of land were far too small to allow him to fulfill his dream: the production of a world-class wine with his name on the label. An undertaking such as this requires far more than growing grapes. Italian winemakers toil on the land where their grapes are produced and attend to each and every aspect of the wine production. The end product is the result of personal blood, sweat and tears.

A VINEYARD IN TUSCANY details Máté's search for precisely the right piece of property on which to produce his wine. But the property is but one of many required pieces of the dream. After finding what seemed to be a glorious vineyard of 15 acres, Máté meets his vintner neighbor, Angelo Gaja, and learns the story behind the production of the world-renowned Gaja wines. It would serve as a roadmap and inspiration for Máté. Shortly after their first meeting, Gaja presents him with a $400 housewarming gift: a bottle of Sori San Lorenzo wine. Máté's dinner guests treat the gift as though it is the Holy Grail.

The new vineyard requires several laborious tasks before wine can be produced. The property includes a 13th century friary that will be converted into a home and winery. As the author details the rebuilding and construction effort, readers can almost see the dollar bills (or perhaps, more appropriately, the Euros) hemorrhaging from his accounts. One thing is clear from this book: producing a world-class wine is neither a simple task nor an effort where one cuts financial corners. For Máté the end result is the achievement of his dream. His wines receive international acclaim; in fact, his Máté Syrah is voted the 2007 Italian Wine of the Year. The book's last pages contain information and comments on the various products of the vineyard. Italian food lovers will also find some classic Tuscan recipes to please the palate while enjoying any fine wine.

A VINEYARD IN TUSCANY is a delightful and humorous tale that combines elements of travelogue and wine drinking for readers interested in either subject. Anyone who has traveled to Tuscany or Italy will find pleasure in the detail of the Italian countryside as recreated by Máté. Any lover of wine will understand why the Italians take meticulous effort to produce wines that have no equal in the world. Like the wines he creates, Máté has written a book that readers can consume with pleasure and delight.

--- Reviewed by Stuart Shiffman
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Depends on your expectation, June 19, 2008
This review is from: A Vineyard in Tuscany: A Wine Lover's Dream (Hardcover)
Based on the other reviews, I had high hopes for this book; I expected a more thorough story of his experience starting his own vineyard, people he had interacted with and the "terrior" of his vineyard embedded with light-hearted anecdotes. Instead, I found the details lacking. Little time is spent on the characters who appeared in the book, the restoration of the estate, planting and cultivating of the vineyard, wine-making decisions, and his (and his family's) tie to the place. The fact that this book is written in many short chapters averaging less than 10 pages each should have been the first sign. I do not doubt that Mr. Mate will be an interesting guy to have a drink with, and I am sure that he has many interesting stories to tell. But after reading this book, I get a feeling that this is a tale of a wealthy individual (despite his repetitive mentioning of being/getting poor as a result of this endeavor) who spent his way to have people make great wines from a land he has purchased. While this statement may not do him justice, and perhaps that is what this book is meant to be, but more on the people, more on the place, more on his (or the wine maker/consultant's) philosophy of how to cultivate the land and make a great wine will greatly improve the book.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not the real essence of life in Toscana, December 14, 2008
By 
Elisa (Adine-in- Chianti) - See all my reviews
After enjoying Sig. Mate's first book , I was quite delighted to see the new one. However I must say it was disappointing, to say the least. He has become the Frances Mayes of Montalcino! Although he did recognize the many people who came to his aid for the house and vineyard, I really grew bored hearing about the Banfi and Gaja and all the people who really aren't the norm in Toscana.
And everything so perfect. From the porcini in the forest to the century old resources for his home. Che noioso!
I am happy for the success of the wine but with his circumstances including location and wealth, who couldn't have done it!
Perhaps someday he will find the real essence of Tuscany and see how we really enjoy our lives and our friends and family.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well-written, hilarious story!, November 29, 2007
By 
This review is from: A Vineyard in Tuscany: A Wine Lover's Dream (Hardcover)
This book is really a journal describing a personal quest rather than a manual on how to build a vineyard, although that is what happens. The author's self-deprecating sense of humor is key as he describes the sometimes absurd challenges he and his family faced renovating an ancient "ruin" into a functioning home complete with a world-class vineyard. His love of Tuscany is demonstrated throughout by the charming descriptions of the people he encounters. The evident quality of the wine they ultimately produced (I haven't tried it yet, but hope to) makes me wish there was even more detail about how they did it, but this story is more about the journey than the final, bottled result. Great book.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring!, February 7, 2008
This review is from: A Vineyard in Tuscany: A Wine Lover's Dream (Hardcover)
This book is inspiring. It makes you want to go out and chase that elusive and audacious dream--the dream the rationale part of your brain says will never fly. What Ferenc and his wife Candace did (creating a winery from scratch in the heart of Italian wine country!) was incredibly gutsy...and just plain crazy! But they made it work, producing highly rated wines, and had a hell of a good time while they were at it. I loved the book so much I ordered some bottles directly from the Mate's web site. I received lovely replies from both Mates. These are real people, working a real vineyard (and not some factory-run mockery of a winery). I'd love to shake their grape and soil stained hands. And now I'm going to go tell my wife about that dream I have of...
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Educational and funny, December 2, 2007
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: A Vineyard in Tuscany: A Wine Lover's Dream (Hardcover)
One of the best books on the struggles of establishing a great vineyard and the hard work that goes into wine making. As a fellow Hungarian I am even more impressed by the crafting of this book. Great writing! It is obvious the author had fun with it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "INSIDER INFO BY KNOWLEDGEABLE OUTSIDER REGARDING: A VINEYARD IN TUSCANY", January 6, 2008
This review is from: A Vineyard in Tuscany: A Wine Lover's Dream (Hardcover)
To all those who yearn to live in Tuscany, own a vineyard and become wine-makers in Tuscany, or simply bona fide wine lovers, who enjoy the finished product: don't miss reading A VINEYARD IN TUSCANY by Ferenc Màté. This is the rollicking and sometimes poignant story, which shoves romanticism aside and gets down to the nitty-gritty = HOW TO DO IT! Candace and Ferenc Màté are the new kids on the block by Tuscan vintner standards; but the age-old makers of Brunello di Montalcino can only smile at their neighbours while welcoming them to the brotherhood.

Just to set the record straight: Candace is the brain and Ferenc is the brawn behind the Màté Vineyards...(va bene, let's give Ferenc credit for spawning the original dream of wanting to own a vineyard.) Màté describes their adventures, which include the search for the perfect land for planting vines; restoration of an ancient friary, "IL COLOMBAIO" which becomes their home, installation of the vineyard, and finally making their own wine.

WOMEN WINE-MAKERS REJOICE!! Candace Màté is your patron saint! Interestingly enough, it is F. Màté's wife Candace, who has always been the steady hand at the helm and the one who gives birth to the dream. Candace Màté did the wine-making R & D, finished a 2 year course in Rome, and is now a certified sommelier. She tended, nursed, pampered, soothed their wine and finally MARKETED the Màté label! And if excellent chef, and fantastic Mom to their son Peter don't suffice, she is also a talented artist! When you buy your first bottles of Mantus, Banditone, Albatro, or Màté Brunello di Montalcino, please note her sensuous paintings which became the labels. You almost want to enlarge them to poster size and frame them!

Now, you ask yourself, where is Ferenc, in the meantime? Like a man, off on one of his "mis-adventures": wrestling with the sand-blasting machine which becomes an uncontrollable cobra, or initiation day on the new FIAT caterpillar-track tractor, where he successfully destroys garden, chicken coop and a portion of the woods. Cool, calm and minute Candace is always there on the sidelines to rescue Ferenc with a piece of her amazing crostata, or a good dose of alcohol to keep his blood-sugar level up. Need I mention that she single-handedly held down the fort & ran the estate while Ferenc has spent the last 3 years between NYC finishing A VINEYARD IN TUSCANY, and Tahiti writing another sailing adventure book.

But, God bless his heart; Ferenc Màté's bumbling, playfully-mad, Hungarian spirit carries us through a delightful & humorous romp...and I don't just mean crushing grapes! I do chide his swashbuckling, Madonna-invoking swearing, (a big NO-NO even among hardened Italian criminals).Yet, he is so candid and ready to acknowledge his shortcomings, that he is loveable, and thus forgiven as he tickles you from chapter 1-38.

I was honoured to see that, Sandro & I make a cameo appearance. Grazie caro Ferenc, but loquacious-soul that I am, please give me longer lines next time!!
Signore e Signori, enjoy reading A VINEYARD IN TUSCANY, the ethereal dream to plant a vineyard in Tuscany and make your own wine. A dream that didn't elude Candace and Ferenc Màté.

JOYCE MARIE DITTEMORE; "VILLA LA TORRE"; 86 CECILIANO DI AREZZO, ITALY
2005girasole@libero.it
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Literary Plonk, April 14, 2010
By 
D. Siegal (Lowell, MA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This is one trite and self-indulgent (alas, not of you, dear reader!) book. I really wanted to like it: I love visiting Italy, I love wine, and I love Italian food. However. First off, every last character in the book is a complete stereotype. Not one person has any nuance to their personality. Mate takes pains to point out how clever and ingenious he himself is, in what comes off as a remarkably smug "self-deprecating" way. His wife is tolerant of his foibles and loves him, but seems to have no other personality besides alternately basking in his reflected brilliance and treating him like a 10 year old. Despite what comes off as TRULY skeevy behavior from him (at some point when they are in the company of a beautiful real estate agent and he basically makes a pass at the agent, his wife just grabs his hand hard and says "let's GO, dear" or some such. That totally grossed me out).

And where the heck are they getting the money to buy castles in the Italian countryside while simultaneously cruising off the coast of New Brunswick and sending their kid to private school? He mentions in the beginning that he's an "unemployed writer". Last I checked, "unemployed writer" meant "living in his parents' basement", but they have an awful lot of cash to throw around. You begin to wonder if he was involved in some sort of nefarious but lucrative activities and is now hiding out from his former associates. Okay, that's an exaggeration, partially because the idea of this guy grasping anything nuanced and subtle is beyond me, but so many details are left unexplained.

If you like family sitcoms like "Family Ties", where everyone fits into a nice little stereotyped box, families may quarrel but deep down love each other, there are endless wry chuckles, and every 1/2 hour wraps up into a nice happy ending, this is the book for you.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magnifico!!, December 16, 2007
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: A Vineyard in Tuscany: A Wine Lover's Dream (Hardcover)
I LOVED this book! I've read over 20 books about Italy, Tuscany, Wine, etc. and this was clearly one of the best and most enjoyable to read. Ferenc is a master storyteller with a great sense of humor; his descriptions of daily life will make you salivate at the thought of living in Italy and making good wine. So, pour yourself a nice glass of Brunello or Chianti and settle in for a wonderful afternoon with this book! Salute!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Wine Lover's Dream Fulfilled!, November 23, 2007
By 
Tom K (Louisville, KY USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: A Vineyard in Tuscany: A Wine Lover's Dream (Hardcover)
I LOVED this book!! Ferenc Mate has brilliantly captured not only the allure of Tuscany, but more importantly, the detailed passion of pursuing the life-long dream of creating his own, superb wines. I repeatedly found myself bursting into laughter at his brutally honest assessments of his attempts, experiments, and trials in the pursuit of his dream. I also found myself transported to Tuscany as he vividly paints magnificent word pictures of the people of Tuscany, their food, their wine, their olio nuovo, and their marvelous (and often eccentric) customs! I could not stop reading this book and in fact often read passages aloud to my spouse! My wife and I have enjoyed several visits to Tuscany so we were able to revisit the powerful memories we have of the time, place and people of Tuscany through Ferenc's writing. I have always believed that words are the flesh of our thoughts and that being the case, few authors are more gifted in expressing their thoughts than Ferenc - so much so in fact, that I have booked a return visit to Tuscany! Anyone with even a remote interest in reading about a family's journey from success to significance MUST NOT MISS THIS SUPERB BOOK!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 27 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

Details

A Vineyard in Tuscany: A Wine Lover's Dream
A Vineyard in Tuscany: A Wine Lover's Dream by Ferenc Maté (Hardcover - November 5, 2007)
$24.95 $20.52
In Stock
Add to cart Add to wishlist
Search these reviews only
Rate and Discover Movies
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.