By Courtney Cochran
When American journalist Robert Camuto
moved to the south of France with his family several years ago (I know, I know, cue the Peter Mayle comparisons), it was in search of adventure unlike any the seasoned writer had experienced thus far. Indeed, it wasn’t long before the New York native found himself squarely in the land of the vine, where – surprise!
– the erstwhile political reporter began an adventure decidedly different from anything he’d known before.
Rebel With a Château
And though this vinous adventure does
involve an enchanted-foreigner-in-France theme à la
Mayle, wine lovers will be happy to hear that Camuto’s tale lingers far longer on his visits with other vignerons
than it does on gratuitous descriptions of his own Gallic nest building. Though he does indeed tell of renovating a centuries-old olive mill to serve as his family’s new abode (cue oohs and ahhs from envious readership overwrought by travel lust), and cultivate his own vines, the real story where Camuto’s tale is concerned is in his quest to discover the best local wines in France – the kind of wines shepherded by kindly and philosophical vignerons
who reject the one-size-fits-all mantra of new world winemaking in favor of a far more finely-hewn vision of wine.
As such, Camuto’s discoveries are wines that enchant on the palate and pair effortlessly with locale cuisine but don’t make their makers a ton of money (because, after all, that’s far from the point chez eux)
. Instead, these are the real
country wines of France, wines made without a commercial agenda and described with care, candor and humor in a book that’s often as entertaining as anything written by that other
French import, and far more wine-centric to boot.
And anyway, who wouldn’t
want to pick up a book with a first chapter called “Rebel With a Château”?
Find Corkscrewed: Adventures In the New French Wine Country