Direct From Rome: We Welcome Natalia Mandelli

Natalia Mandelli

A familiar scene: Natalia on her phone greasing the next stop on the tour.

Join us on 2/26 for a
Very Special Italian Tasting & Pairing

Over the past four years I have organized three international wine tours, indulging my late-in-life quest of traveling the globe to discover all I can about the soul-satsifying power of wine.  For much of my early professional life outside of Carpe Vino, I was perpetually seated on airplanes, traveling abroad on business.  While the work was vastly different, there was one commonality:  wherever I landed, I met wonderful people who helped ease the difficulties of navigating distant, strange places.  Sadly, after returning home, I never saw any of them again. Ever.

Well, that changes this week when Natalia Mandelli comes to Auburn.

Last October I escorted a group of 27 Wine Club members for 10 days visiting wine estates in Tuscany and Umbria, scratching a personal itch to taste Chianti, Brunello, Barolo, Amarone, Sangiovese and more–all at the source.  It was at once inspiring, hedonistic and unforgettable.  But without Natalia, I can’t imagine it would have been as wonderful.

Natalia was our indefatigable guide/mother hen/fixer from the time we hooked up at a hotel in Florence until we said our teary goodbyes at the trip’s terminus in Rome.  The quintessential leader, Natalia has the dual competencies of being an expert in every hidden part of Italy as well as a legitimate sommelier. . .the perfect blend of skills to ensure the successful exploration of vineyards, barrel rooms and restaurants across a wide swath of epicurean delights.

Everyone in our group was genuinely smitten by Natalia; we connected quickly and my fellow travelers were truly saddened when it was time to depart.  For once, however, I vowed this goodbye would not be final.

Natalia will be arriving in Auburn this Saturday, and she’ll spend two weeks seeing what all of the fuss is about in California as well as observing how we do hospitality at Carpe Vino.  Her trip is being underwritten in large part by the folks on the tour who will fete her at a reception early next week.  She’ll have a full dance card because we’ll all take turns escorting her around NorCal. . .from visiting wineries to checking out the dining scene in Sacramento to hiking the American River Canyon.