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May marks the 57th installment of Wine Blogging Wednesday – a monthly online tasting/gathering of wine bloggers started by Len of Lenndevours.  This month’s Wine Blogging Wednesday is hosted by Jeff at Good Grape and the theme for this month’s WBW is California Inspiration.

Rather than grabbing one of the bottles I picked up in Sonoma during my trip in January, I dug thru the old stash at the bottom of the pantry and found one of two remaining bottles from the first trip my wife and I took together to Napa back in January 2006.

As I learn more about the seemingly infinite topic of wine, I’m amazed how a certain bottle of wine can take me back to a place or summon a memory.  Every time we enjoy a bottle of wine from that first wine trip together, I can remember nearly every moment from those few days.  Aside from a great experience with my wife, it was this trip in early 2006 that I actually started to ‘get’ wine and definitely created a memorable chapter in my life.

Sadly, of all the bottles we purchased during the trip, we only have two remaining – tonight’s Rose and one other white from Casa Nuestra.

Paoletti was our second stop of our first morning in Napa.  Paoletti is located in Calistoga and currently has 36 acres under vine which are planted to Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Sangiovese.  As we arrived, we were greeted by the owner, Gianni Paoletti (who is also the proprietor of Peppone Italian Restaurant in Los Angeles).   We found him to be one of the friendliest and most interesting winery owners we met during our trip.  

Wife and I at Paoletti Winery, Napa.

Wife and I at Paoletti Winery, Napa.

The grounds of Paoletti are beautiful – from the Italian villa feel to the cave filled with custom sculptures ranging from family members to Einstein to Plato.

PaolettiOur choice for this month’s WBW, Paoletti Bella Novello 2004 Rosa D’Amore – Made from Sangiovese.  I believe this particular wine was made in honor of Gianni’s mother.  Color of bright cranberry juice with a nose of tart cherry, raspberry and hints of orange spritz.  The mouth had a syrup feel with tastes of watermelon and strawberry candy complemented by a lingering raspberry finish.  I may have opened this one a bit too late, but tasty none the less.

In the spirit of full compliance with Jeff’s mandate…

Nostalgia, recent experience, poignant, triumphant, all stories are welcome, just make sure that it has a beginning, middle and an end with a specific wine.

Beginning:  Early 2006 wife and I travel to Napa for the first time together.

Middle:   We visit Paoletti, indulge in many of his wines and purchase several bottles including this Bella Novello.

End:   We opened our last bottle of Paoletti this evening to remember that trip and to commemorate the 57th WBW.

A couple of photos of our trip to Paoletti…

Me and Paoletti

Me and Paoletti



Paoletti Cave

Paoletti Cave

 Wine to me is passion.  It’s family and friends.  It’s warmth of heart and generosity of spirit.  Wine is art.  It’s culture.  It’s the essence of civilization and the art of living.   ~ Robert Mondavi