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Unreserved Wine Talk

237 EpisodesProduced by Natalie MacLeanWebsite

The Unreserved Wine Talk podcast features candid conversations with the most fascinating people in the wine world. Your host, award-winning journalist Natalie MacLean, dives into how it feels to compete in the nerve-wracking World's Best Sommelier Competition, the shadowy underground of wine forgery… read more


165: Volcanic Soils, Old Vines and Italian Wine Diversity with Wine Spectator Columnist Robert Camuto

What does drinking Italian mean today? How has globalization impacted the Italian wine you drink? Do volcanic soils really make a wine taste different?


In this episode of the Unreserved Wine Talk podcast, I'm chatting with author and journalist, Robert Camuto.


You can find the wines we discussed at




How does Emidio Pepe bring the past of southern Italy into the future?

How is the way of life different in the Mezzogiorno?

Why is lunch such an important part of the day in Italy?

Which fascinating winemakers did Robert dine with at one of his most memorable Italian meals?

Why does Robert love ​​Aglianico wine?

How was star winemaker Elena Fucci inspired to become a first-generation winemaker?

Do volcanic wines live up to the hype?

What impact does volcanic activity have on terroir and ultimately wine?

Are there distinct tasting notes common among volcanic wines?

What makes Fiano wine special?

What was it like to meet the renowned winemaker, Sabino Loffredo?

What does drinking Italian mean today?


Key Takeaways


Robert’s insights into how globalization impacted the Italian wine we drink were fascinating, including his example of how the granddaughter of sharecroppers is able to communicate with other wine lovers around the globe to sell her traditional wines and she no longer has to sell just to the local cooperative. That ability to go global while you’re still a small producer adds to the diversity of the Italian wines we drink today.

I loved his example of drinking a different Italian wine every night of the year without repeating yourself, such is the range of grapes and styles in the country.

I agree with his take on how volcanic soils influence the taste of wine: it’s more about drainage than anything else, although a new eruption every century or so certainly changes the landscape and the soils, literally. Old vines have a more profound impact on a wine’s taste, wherever they grow, in volcanic or other soils around the world.


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Join the live-stream video of this conversation on Wednesday at 7 pm eastern on Instagram Live Video, Facebook Live Video or YouTube Live Video.


I’ll be jumping into the comments as we watch it together so that I can answer your questions in real-time.


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About Robert Camuto

Robert Camuto is an award-winning American journalist who has lived and worked in Europe for more than twenty years. He has authored three highly acclaimed books that focused on wine as a cultural and individual expression in the 21st century. His latest book, South of Somewhere: Wine, Food and the Soul of Italy is both a personal memoir of his Italian family ties and delicious travels to Italy over 50 years, as well as a portrait of Italy’s southern wine and food renaissance today. It was named among the best wine books of the year by The New York Times, The Washington Post,, and others. His previous books were Corkscrewed: Adventures in the New French Wine Country (2008) followed by Palmento: A Sicilian Wine Odyssey (2010).

As an American in Europe, Camuto has written for some of the world’s best-known publications on food and wine culture and since 2008 he has worked as a contributing editor for Wine Spectator. In addition to serving as a key features writer responsible for many WS cover stories, Camuto writes a twice-monthly column for, called Robert Camuto Meets….which, like all his work, focuses on the human and cultural sides of wine.

A graduate of the Columbia University School of Journalism, Camuto worked as a news reporter, features editor and founding weekly newspaper publisher in Texas before moving to France in 2001. In 2015, he and his wife moved to their current home in Verona, Italy. In the Old World, he gravitated to wine as a way of exploring more than flavours—as a way to understand local histories, politics, agriculture, traditions and tastes told through colourful characters.



To learn more about the resources mentioned in this episode, visit

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