A New York Times Best Wine Book of 2021 A Washington Post Best Wine Book of 2021 Named one of the Best Wine Books of 2021 by Henry Jeffreys, timatkin.com
South of Somewhere begins and ends in American writer Robert Camuto’s maternal ancestral town of Vico Equense, Italy—a tiny paradise south of Naples on the Sorrento Peninsula. It was here in 1968, at ten years old, that the author first tasted Italian life, spending his own summer of love surrounded by relatives at the family’s seaside pizzeria and restaurant. He fell in love with a way of living and with the rhythms, flavors, and aromas of the Southern Mediterranean.
Fifty years later, Camuto returns to Vico, connecting with family members and a new generation. A lot has changed: the old family restaurant has been razed and the seaside has been developed with hotels and restaurants, including a famous two-Michelin-starred restaurant in a medieval tower now owned by a younger cousin. Though there are more foreign visitors, the essentials of beauty, food, family bonds, and simplicity have not changed. And here Camuto finds hope that this way of life can continue.
Camuto’s fine-grained storytelling in this series of portraits takes us beyond the usual objective views of viniculture nto the elusive and magical world of Italian “South-ness.” While on one level able to create an instructive narrative about Southern Italy’s twenty-first-century wine and cultural renaissance, Camuto’s unswerving eye juxtaposes the good and the bad—immeasurable beauty and persistent blight, anti-mafia forces and corruption, hope for the future and fatalism—in a land that remains an infinite source of fascination and sensory pleasure.
List of Illustrations Acknowledgements Introduction: My Summer of Love Chapter One: Thus Spoke Giuseppe Chapter Two: Three Gentlemen of Abruzzo Chapter Three: The Four Seasons of Tabarrini Chapter Four: Three Musketeers of Campania Chapter Five: Back on the Etna Chapter Six: The Volcanoes of Vulture Chapter Seven: Gioia and Suffering Chapter Eight: In Rome’s Shadow Chapter Nine: Return to Vico Equense
Robert V. Camuto is an award-winning journalist and travel writer. He is a contributor to Wine Spectator and the Washington Post and the author of Corkscrewed: Adventures in the New French Wine Country, available in a Bison Books edition.
"Through three books, the first set in France, the second in Sicily and the latest, in southern Italy, Robert V. Camuto has explored the passions, personalities and convictions that compel idiosyncratic winemakers to push against institutional forces to achieve their visions. His new book, South of Somewhere, is his best yet, a razor-sharp evocation of the people, places and points-of-view that captures both the fatalism so often encountered in southern Italy and the stubborn refusal of its inhabitants to knuckle under. . . . His underlying message is that wine is both cultural expression and self expression. With a culture as singular and personal as depicted by Mr. Camuto, it’s no accident the wines are just as beautiful and distinctive."—Eric Asimov, New York Times
"Robert V. Camuto, a prolific wine and travel writer . . . gives us a delicious pre-pandemic travelogue through southern Italy in South of Somewhere. . . . He gives us an engaging snapshot of a region chafing at its inferior stature compared with northern Italy."—Dave McIntyre, Washington Post
"Camuto has the true gift of a portrait writer. He tells the stories of these eight southern Italian wine regions through his encounters with winemakers in each region, sometimes just one, sometimes a family, sometimes several individuals. His often-hilarious descriptions and minute observations of people and situations not only brought the people to life, but vividly captured each region, its wine, food, culture, strengths and weaknesses. . . . He's also very funny. His humour is dry, subtle, clever. More than once, I laughed out loud. He is exquisitely observant, writes with brilliant insight; occasionally my eyes prickled with emotion. . . . I spent half the book with my mouth watering: baskets of sweet ripe figs just picked; bright green, biting olive oil from those trees just there; fragrant coffee, creamy mozzarella, juicy tomatoes and fatty spicy salumi. . . . The descriptions of flavours jostle with descriptions of wines that run the gamut from volcanic and mineral to powerfully rich and rustic."—JancisRobinson.com
"There’s an affable tone to this intelligently charming wine book, it's a serious account of winemaking in southern Italy, essays that can best be categorized as 'down to earth,' in every sense. . . . This is not the usual account of visits to grand chateaux, with splendid meals and wines we can't afford, it's the reality of wine, vividly and cheerfully conveyed—good stories, worth a listen. Take it from someone who never says no to a glass of Frappato in Sicily: Bravo!"—Wine Conversation
"The range of Camuto's grape and wine knowledge, along with his love of Italy, make South of Somewhere a worthy work about southern Italian wines, food and soul."—Natalia Nebel, New City Lit
"If you want an insider's understanding of some of the most exciting wine revolutions going on in Italy, this is the book."—Felicity Carter, pix.wine
“Robert Camuto’s South of Somewhere is close to my heart. Each chapter is about experiencing the joy and perseverance of incredible iconic winemakers from Italy’s Mezzogiorno who have preserved lesser-known native grapes through heroic efforts. In this book Robert brilliantly brings them to life. We are so fortunate to bear witness to this living history of Italian wine today.”—Shelley Lindgren, owner-wine director of A16 restaurants
“A delicious, thirst-inspiring romp full of remarkable personalities, their wine-soaked cellars, and one delectable meal after another. Camuto does it tastefully!”—Kermit Lynch, wineconoclast, author, and importer
“Robert Camuto’s multifaceted take on Southern Italy’s many allures is unique and fascinating in that he engages not only the gustatory and oenological pleasures of the region but also its more elusive and near-magical ‘southern-ness.’”—Matthew Gavin Frank, author of Flight of the Diamond Smugglers