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Uncorked: My Journey Through the Crazy World of Wine Hardcover – May 22, 2012

4.0 out of 5 stars 59 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


“Who would have guessed it? The wine world is just as crazy and full of intrigue as the restaurant scene. Uncorked knocks wine off its pedestal and yet elevates it at the same time. I’m more of a beer guy, but after reading Marco Pasanella’s book I suddenly have the urge to build a serious wine cellar. He takes wine out of the hands of oenological snobs—and pulls back the curtain of mystery surrounding the grape’s sublime elixir—and places it into the hands of the common man. This is a surprising, heartfelt, and entertaining book.”
—Steven Dublanica, author of the bestselling Waiter Rant
“Facing the East River, not far from the amazing Brooklyn Bridge, is one of New York’s most unique wine stores. Pasanella & Son is the charming and evocative brainchild of Marco Pasanella. Marco is extremely knowledgeable about wines: how they taste, how they are made, and how they are bottled. The story he tells in Uncorked is much more than what wine to pair with what, and everyone interested in enjoying an excellent glass of wine should read his book.”
—Martha Stewart

“In this memoir about family, love, wine, and Italy, Marco shares how he reinvented his life—from designer to wineshop owner—and discovered what’s really important. The book is filled with portraits of the wild and crazy characters you find in the food and wine business. It’s also filled with real wisdom. If you’ve ever thought about changing course and taking a big leap to follow your passion, then Uncorked is a must-read.”
—Rocco DiSpirito, author of Now Eat This!

This is a book that any wine lover should read. The stories of dealing with growers, winemakers, salespeople, employees, customers, bureaucrats and family are insightful, occasionally hilarious, and often heartfelt.” – WINE LINES ONLINE

About the Author

MARCO PASANELLA is the proprietor of Pasanella and Son Vintners, which opened in the South Street Seaport area of Manhattan in 2005. The shop has been included in top-ten lists in New York magazine and The Village Voice, and has received praise in Food & Wine, Elle, and Blueprint.

Previously, Pasanella designed hotels, including the Maritime in New York, and his furniture and houseware designs are on display at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum.

A graduate of Yale, he taught for 13 years at the Parsons School of Design. He has been featured in and has written for numerous publications, including Esquire, GQ, Vogue, Vanity Fair, and the New York Times.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Clarkson Potter; 1 edition (May 22, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307719847
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307719843
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.9 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,235,270 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Chambolle VINE VOICE on May 18, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is certainly a breezy, easy read, but not particularly enlightening. Yes, here's yet another heartwarming story of yet another fellow 'living the dream,' but I found it very hard to connect the dots, or to connect with the author. Mr. Pasanella speaks often about going out on a financial limb to open his little wine shop, but here is a gent with the wherewithal to buy a five story building in Manhattan, for gosh sakes. Out of nowhere, he's parking his priceless, vintage Ferrari in the middle of the shop as a prop. Say what? A variety of marquee names just happen to drop by - Martha Stewart, Jamie Oliver, Nigella Lawson, et al. Sure thing, that happens in every little retail wine shop around the corner. No, not in my experience in the retail wine trade as it is plied by small proprietorships.

There are also occasional bouts of outright misinformation - Joh. Jos. Prum Wehlener Sonnenuhr Auslese definitely is not a wine from "a mythic Austrian producer," but so the author says. Mr. Pasanella also states at one point that taking the time and making the effort to travel from cellar to cellar to taste and buy in Burgundy, the Loire, the Rhone or elsewhere is pretty useless, because the "three tier system" precludes retailers from sourcing wine for resale from anyone but local distributors, and heck, all the good stuff is already taken anyway. Well, it ain't so - and his own book contradicts that view, as Pasanella later recounts his successful effort to create and import his own inexpensive 'store brand' wines from Italy. The ground is certainly well trodden and it is increasingly difficult to find growers who are not already represented - but there are always surprises to be found, diamonds in the rough.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
"Uncorked" is an excellent memoir of one man's quest to become involved in the wine business. Marco Paasanella is a wildly successful builder, writer and teacher-a graduate of Yale, his furniture and houseware pieces are on display at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum. Pasanella taught at the Parsons school of Design for years and published articles in Vogue, GQ, Vanity Fair, and the New York Times. The author had a dream, and decided to fulfill his lifelong adult dream of opening a wine shop in Manhatten, as well as starting his own wine label. Deeply in debt, and in worry, he opens his restaurant/wine business/wine shop called Passanella and Son Vinters; which grew to become a big hit. This five story shop/restaurant has been regularly featured on cooking channels and has had newspaper and magazine coverage.

Pasanella writes with humor of his decision to start a business at age 43. This book includes recipes too-I have not had an opportunity to try them, but some of them look tasty. If you enjoy wine, particularly Italian wines (although most wines are discussed) you will enjoy reminiscing about certain wines and enjoy learning about ones you may not have tasted yet.

My favorite part of the book was the appendix. In the appendix the author lists the five biggest misconceptions about wine, the ten strangest words in wine (love that cat's piss one!), five tips on tasting wine, ten ways to taste without feeling like a snob, ten of my favorite wine and food pairings, and toasts for weddings, graduations, birthdays, etc. I plan to use this book as a reference for special occasions for some time!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This review was originally published on 205Food.com

The wine world may be crazy, but Marco Pasanella is not.

Sure, abandoning a successful career in design to start a new wine shop may seem foolish, even nutty, to some. But Pasanella is too humane, too forgetful, too much in love with la dolce vita to to be unhinged by the shenanigans swirling about him. He is calm, the eye of the wine shop hurricane, moving peaceably along as careers and businesses (his own included) splinter around him.

So the title of this book is a bit misleading. There is little suspense, drama, or spicy intrigue in Uncorked. One does not really feel the craziness of the wine world or that Marco is in any way unhinged by it. This may be due in part to Pasanella's inexperience as a writer, but his forgetfulness seems like a factor too (a meal in La Morra was "a haze," after a conversation with Neal Rosenthal "I couldn't tell you a thing Neal said.") Intrigue and suspense need details.

In many ways, this book is less about the inception of a wine shop than about Marco Pasanella himself, and he is a very appealing character. Modest and self-deprecating, he admits that before opening the wine shop he had been drinking wine "all [his] life but never really tasted it..." He depends on the experience of others for wine selection and business tactics, and admits as much. As a reader, you admire his playful and adventurous spirit. He designs his store around a 1967 Ferrari. He organizes card playing and grappa tasting evenings at his enotecha. One Christmas there is even a live camel outside the store to accompany the manger.

The low-key charm the book radiates is enhanced by Marco's descriptions of summer trips back home, to father, family and Italy.
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