My bromance Paolo Cantele is celebrating a special birthday today. In any other year, he and I would be together on this day, as we have been on many of his birthdays over the years.
That’s a video I made for a song I wrote about him a few years ago, above. He’s a rocker and so it had to be heavy.
Paolo has been my friend and client for more than 10 years now. Together, we have achieved some of the highest highs in our line of work. We’ve also shared some of the best meals and wines of my life together, in part thanks to his wonderful generosity.
But the thing I cherish the most — and I believe he does, too — is our long road trips across the U.S.: the conversations, the music, the on-the-road camaraderie. That’s Paolo during our very last road trip (alone or together) in February of 2020 in Boulder, Colorado. On that trip, we left from Houston, where we had done an event the night before. We then did an event in Dallas. Got trolled by a Trumper during lunch on our way to do an event in Tulsa. Did an amazing dinner at Tavernetta in Denver the next night. And ended up at Boulder Wine Merchant and then later that night at our favorite restaurant in the U.S., Frasca.
That’s me and Paolo from a couple of years ago when we did an epic wine dinner in Houston for more than 100 people. That was an incredible night.
Paolo is the king of Instagram and Instagram filters. I love this photo of him. Check it out in the video above, too.
One of our greatest moments of working together was this story by Ray Isle in Food & Wine where Ray recounts his visit to Salento and a cooking class at the Cantele winery. What a great memory!
That’s Paolo with his brother Gianni. Paolo’s the “rock ‘n’ roll kid” in the family, Gianni is Salento’s Captain America. They’re both wonderful, lovely men with whom I’ve spent many unforgettable evenings tasting and talking and trading notes on what’s important in life. Both of them put so much soul into their family’s wines.
That’s Paolo holding a baby Georgia in his arms! Before Lila Jane was born, we took her on a tour of Italy, including a fantastic stay in Lecce, one of our favorite cities in Italy, where Paolo lives. It was Georgia’s first time in Europe.
Is there any question that Paolo should be played by Gary Oldman in the movie, “The Cantele Story”? I took that Photo back in Austin in a distant 2008 when I had just moved to Texas and Paolo and I first met on a “work with,” as we call them in the trade.
That’s Paolo and Tracie on this day 10 years ago when he celebrated is birthday with us at our home in Austin.
It must have been around that same time that I first took Paolo to experience Chicken Shit Bingo at Ginny’s Little Long Horn Saloon in Austin where we lived when I first got to the state.
Paolo, my Italian brother by another mother! I love you and I miss you. Happy birthday man. I miss our road trips, our conversations about books, movies, music, philosophy, politics… I miss you man. I wish I were there celebrating with you. We’ll make up for lost time once I can get back to you and you to us.
Rock on, brother. Our world is a better place because you’re in it. Un abbraccio forte.
Happy (special) Birthday to Paolo!
I had the pleasure to meet Paolo in Genoa, many moons ago (thanks to the great Filippo Ronco and his then famous Wine Convention & Unconference).
There and then, I was also introduced to the Cantele’s wonderful wines. Fortunately i have been able to find them quite regularly even here in the Taconics boondocks (Chatham, NY).
Please convey my best wishes and regards to Paolo, as soon as you have an opportunity.
Salute e cento di questi giorni!
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