2012 Paoletti Estates Winery, Nero d’Avola

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The Winery

(Photo from Paoletti website)

Paoletti Estates Winery is located in Calistoga on the Silverado Trail. They have 36 acres planted featuring wines to make premium Bordeaux blends, Italian varieties and Super Tuscan blends. Their first release was in 1994.  Their varietal wines include Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese and Nero d’Avola. All their wines are made in small lots by winemaker Gabriella Gazzarno. They have consistently won Gold and Double Gold medals from the SF Chronicle Wine Competition.

(Photo from Paoletti website)

To visit their caves is a fascinating experience with statues of many great people in history. They are unique and made from Carrara marble. It is both a functional cave for barrel ageing and a museum. I can’t recall the exact year I visited them, but many years ago and definitely need to put them back on my list of wineries to visit.

The Wine

(Photo ©Michael Kelly)

Their Nero d’Avola is “almost black” in color and considered one of the most important grapes grown in Sicily. The name comes from the town of Avola in the far south of Sicily. It is also known in Italy as Calabrese. This is a blend mostly of Nero d’Avola varietal with 15% being Cabernet Sauvignon. The vines were brought in from Sicily almost 18 years ago and planted in Calistoga. On the eyes, this is a dark almost black sea of delight with medium heavy viscosity. On the nose and palate, it parlays one back to old world Italy/Sicily with a dusty and rustic taste with blackberries, plum, cherries and dark chocolate. The finish is long lasting with the tannins and acidity in perfect balance with a semi-sweet vanilla. The wine was aged for 18 months with 40% new French oak and 60% neutral French oak barrels. Only 112 cases were produced. This wine was so “realistic old world” and the taste fabulous, it will make my Annual Best Wines Tasted in 2023 which is published in December yearly. BTW, the picture on the bottle label is Giuseppe Garibaldi, (1807-1882) who was an Italian General and patriot. He contributed to the unification of Italy and the Kingdom of Italy. Known as one of the “fathers of the fatherland”.

The Food & Wine Pairing

(Photo ©Michael Kelly)

Pulled from the cellar last night to have with dinner as the bold, acidic flavor of the wine allows it to cut through the fats, oils and richness of the Bolognese sauce. The sauce is a recipe from our friend Darlene Besst and started at 10 am and left simmering all day on the stove. Ingredients included chopped celery, chopped carrot, minced garlic cloves, olive oil, chopped onions, chopped fresh thyme, ground veal, ground pork, red wine, bay leaves, beef broth and tomato puree.  Served with whole wheat penne pasta and topped with fresh Parmesan cheese. The good news, it was an exquisite meal combining both Sicily and Italy!!  The bad news is I only have one bottle of it left is the cellar.






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