As Jose and I were leaving the lake in Geyserville from a quiet Friday afternoon sojourn, he said, “Let’s go to where Lady Gaga had lunch.” I laughed. That was code for Diavola Pizzeria in Geyserville, California. Owner | chef Dino Bugica considers himself a transplant from Pisa, Italy, having grown up with the influence of his grandmother, Mary Pagni, and mother, Diane Bugica. They were always cooking.

[Photo was taken at The Vineyard Club, while Dino was knee-deep in carving an entire pig, from his cooking it on a spit.]

Dino, “It was not just that they were cooking, it was how they were cooking that made the largest impression.”

I know his food is delicious without having been to his restaurant, because he’s fed us at The Vineyard Club, where we’re all members.

This was Jose and my first trip to Dino’s restaurant. We tried once before and the place was jammin’ ~ So, now we were returning earlier in the day and it worked really well.

When it came time to be seated we were asked, “Inside or out?” I had just been swimming, and instead of changing back into my dry clothes, I just slipped a dress over my bathing suit. I was still wet, and their air conditioning was working really well. I knew it would only be a minute and I’d be freezing with wet clothes. “Outside,” I said with a smile.

As we walked through an alley from the building to an outside constructed additional dining space, I was delighted to see clothes hanging on lines, just as I’d expect to find in Italy, and just as I hung clothes everyday, when I lived in Maine.

There’s nothing more delicious than just dried sheets that have been brought in from the line, and placed on your bed for the night.

I smiled, liking the Diavola’s ambiance as I looked overhead at what was chosen to be moving in the breezes.

Once seated, Jose and I looked over the wine list. It had great wines listed, and my eyes fell upon a 2010 Colagrossi L’Inizio (Lee-knee-tse-oh) from Paso Robles and a 2010 Copain Chardonnay from Anderson Valley. It’s been a long time since I’ve ordered a Chardonnay in a restaurant, preferring to explore the unseal varieties being offered. (The Wine Century Club has done that to me, and I’ve not been disappointed with this lifestyle choice.)

I couldn’t put my finger on “Copain’s” name, though. It was very familiar, but still so distant. Jose reminded me of their location in Windsor… “Oh, yeah!” My light bulb went on, but still, I was drawn to the Colagrossi, a blend of 50 percent Grenache Blanc, 25 percent Roussanne, and 25 percent Viognier. It just sounded so intriguing, and that’s where I went. With a fresh margarita pizza, I knew I’d be in great shape.

Meanwhile, some killer, very thin and very long bread sticks had been placed on our table. Once taste and I realized that I was hungry. The black pepper spice of the crunchy, almost addictive bread sticks might have encouraged what happened next… maybe not. My wine arrived and I did the nose. So inviting, so floral and aromatic in so many ways. I sipped, then slipped right into wine drinking. I remarked to Jose, “I… could drink… a case of this wine.” He asked me, “Did you say you could drink a case of this wine?” I grinned and said, “Yeah, like Joni Mitchell’s “I could drink a case of you.”

It’s been a really long time since I’ve ordered a glass of wine and become completely enraptured. Before my pizza arrived, I had to order a second glass… also something that’s been a long, long time in doing. One usually does it for me while dining. (I’m very weight conscious, and every calorie counts).

I lost it for the Colagrossi L’Inizio.

By the time I left the restaurant, I was singing out loud… Can’t remember when that’s ever happened. Maybe it was the afternoon swim in a private swimming hole. Maybe it was the laundry hanging, reminding me of things I’ve long forgotten and still miss. Perhaps it’s the Joni Mitchell I’ve been listening to on Pandora lately. Possibly it was being with the man I adore in life who adores me back as much. It might have been the great food and ambiance. Maybe it was the wine. Probably it was all things in combination… the perfect storm on a tranquil Friday afternoon.

I’m also pretty clear on it being my life style choices, and it makes it very evidential that I chose the career I did for that exact moment… that I’m freezing in time in this wine journal.

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