I’ll Drink to That: Authors Bill Nesto and Frances Di Savino

Episode 402 of I’ll Drink to That! was released recently, and it features a duo, Bill Nesto and Frances Di Savino. They co-authored The World of Sicilian Wine as well as the more recently published Chianti Classico: In Search of Tuscany’s Noblest Wine.

Bill Nesto and Frances Di Savino value primary sources. Their books contain a wealth of detail collected from pouring over old and forgotten documents tucked away in archives, often finding surprising revelations that are sometimes more at home in our time than in the one they were written in. Several of the historical figures they refer to in their books didn’t find a welcome reception for what they were saying at the time. Now, their words seem all too apt, as in the case of the priest who recognized several centuries ago that there was a great potential for wines from the volcanic soils on Etna. By bringing these characters to the fore, Nesto and Di Savino paint a richer narrative and one that is more historically grounded. Curious why the terroir of the Chianti Classico hill zones hasn’t been as fully explored as those of some other classic regions? It turns out there is a long history there, a kind of infighting among wineries that has kept that sort of exploration in check. And that this tug of war goes back hundreds of years. These kinds of insights push Nesto and Di Savino’s books into a more scholarly realm than is typical for wine writing, and make for some fascinating reveals. This interview catches them in the midst of redefining and even thwarting the conventional narratives of the regions they have written about.

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I’ll Drink to That is the world’s most listened-to wine podcast, hosted by Levi Dalton. Levi has had a long career working as a sommelier in some of the most distinguished and acclaimed dining rooms in America. He has served wine to guests of Restaurant Daniel, Masa, and Alto, all in Manhattan. Levi has also contributed articles on wine themes to publications such as The Art of Eating, Wine & Spirits magazine, Bon Appetit online, and Eater NY. Check out his pictures on Instagram and follow him on Twitter: @leviopenswine