What comes to mind when you think of castles? For me, castles conjure up ideas of damsels in distress, evil queens, dragons and handsome princes. Ok, so maybe I have seen to many Disney movies or read too many Brothers Grimm stories. Castles are actually fortified structures built by nobility during the medieval period. Castles were both offensive and defensive structures, built to control the area immediately surrounding them. Europe and the Middle East are filled with castles. Some of these ancient structures have been re-purposed, others are refurbished and remain private residence today. We certainly expect to see castles in Europe, but what about Napa Valley?
Castello di Amorosa is a “winery fit for a king.” Dario Sattui has a passion for medieval architecture and knowledge of Italian design. More than 20 years ago he purchased the land in Napa Valley where the castle rests today. His original plan was simply to replant historic vineyards on the 170 acre property, but the property came with a building permit to build a large structure winery and his inspiration was born. In 1994, Sattui planted Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot on the property, while beginning his plans for a 8,500ft structure without a cellar. Today Castello di Amorosa, a 13th century Tuscan style castle, spans 121,000 sq ft with 107 rooms and 4 separate levels underground and above ground! It is an authentic castle made as true to the techniques of its time as possible. Years were spent sourcing material to authenticate the inside as much as the outside.
A fireplace predating Christopher Columbus adorns the Great Hall, and Iron Maiden from the late Renaissance dominates the torture chamber. A wrought iron dragon from the times of Napoleon hovers over the massive main door. More than 8,000 tons of stone were chiseled, not sawed, by hand to be absolutely authentic. Nearly 200 containers of old, handmade materials were shipped from Europe to lend authenticity.
Sadly I have yet to visit Castello di Amoroso, but I can promise you it is definitely on my list for my next trip to Napa Valley. They were kind enough to send me three media samples, here are my thoughts:
Castello di Amorosa Gioia 2015 Rosato di Sangiovese: This wine was 100% Sangiovese; it poured the color of a deep fuchsia hibiscus into the glass; an inviting sweet bouquet of red cherries, strawberries and watermelon are met with some nice lime zest on the palate making this an ideal summer sipper; round acidity and a zesty long finish are sure to please. 14.2% ABV, $26 direct from Castello di Amorosa. Perfect as an aperitif or with grilled burgers, hot dogs, chicken, bbq, cheese, or steak salad.
Castello di Amorosa 2012 Napa Valley Sangiovese: This wine was 95% Sangiovese and 5% Merlot; soft garnet in the glass; aromas of red cherries, blackberries, cranberries and plums are met with earthy spice notes, white pepper, dried rose petals, and a touch of dusty earth; nice on the palate with rich layers of flavors, elegant yet rustic, well-balanced acidity with integrated tannins and a long, spicy finish; I drink a lot of Italian wine and a lot of Sangiovese, I must admit I went into this wine as a skeptic; however, it was a very nice, highly enjoyable wine. 14.8% ABV, SRP $30 direct from Castello di Amorosa.
Recipe suggestions from Castello di Amorosa:
Castello di Amorosa 2012 La Castellana: This is the “Super Tuscan,” crafted from 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Sangiovese, and 9% Merlot; it poured an inky ruby with violet highlights in the glass; brooding aromas of black cherries, plums, currants and pomegranate were met with Chinese Five Spice, black pepper, milk chocolate, a touch of dried violets, and rich leather; on the palate this wine does not disappoint, silky texture offers a crushed velvet mouth-feel with round acidity and refined tannins, a full palate experience and still so young, drink now for early enjoyment or age for it to come into its full self; full body, long sensual finish; 14.8% ABV, $98 direct from Castello di Amorosa. This is your big red meat wine: grilled fillet, rib eye, lamb, prime rib, buffalo, don’t be shy.
Castello di Amorosa wants you! They have numerous tasting options and tours. They would love to host your private party or wedding. They offer guided and non-guided tours of the castle. Castello di Amorosa is the ultimate Napa Valley wine experience. If you have never been to Italy or simply miss Italy Castello di Amorosa offers a Tuscan experience without having to speak Italian. Furthermore, they are perennially awarded the Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence.
I encourage you to visit the web page of Castello di Amorosa to learn more about this unique Napa Valley winery, view their upcoming events to plan your trip, view their entire portfolio of wines and order these wines for yourself.
My Song Selection: What better song to select than a beautiful performance at the castle itself!
Get your own bottles of Castello di Amorosa wines and let me know what song you pair with them. Cheers!