Acclaimed author Ben Downing joins Mark to talk about his new book, The Queen Bee of Tuscany: The Redoubtable Janet Ross (Farrar Straus & Giroux), chronicling the life of a formidable 19th-century doyenne and expatriate (as well as cookbook author and winemaker). We learn about Ross’ remarkable time in the Anglo-Florentine colony, hosting at her estates a never-ending stream of artists, scholars, diplomats, and even Mark Twain, whom, Downing discovered, had once shaved his head to better absorb the Italian language. In celebration of Ross and the book, they open a double magnum of Le Pergole Torte, the Sangiovese-based red that is also considered a Tuscan legend.
Montevertine Le Pergole Torte 2006
The Queen Bee of Tuscany: The Redoubtable Janet Ross by Ben Downing (FSG, 2013), available wherever books are sold
Essential Italian expression to learn:
Non si può avere la botte piena, e la moglie ubriaca.