Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Castello di Amorosa winery

Since it's a blog about an engineer (me) living in the wine country, there has to be some articles about wine and winery. Today I'm going to share with you one of the latest attractions in the Napa Valley, Castello di Amorosa.

It's a fairly short drive from Santa Rosa, just go north along Calistoga Road and go over a hill on a winding road. Within half hour you will see a blue sign with italic Castello di Amorosa. The sign is not too obvious so I went over the first time. The castle is built on top of the hill so you won't be able to see it from the entrance.

The castle was built by Dario Sutti, great grandson of California pioneer vintner Vittorio Sattui. During his travel in an old VW van around Europe after his graduation from UC Berkeley MBA school, he developed a strong fascination about medieval architecture. And after resurrecting his great grandfather's dormant wine business (V. Sattui Winery), he purchased a 171 acre vineyard property in Calistoga in 1993 and began contructing Castello di Amorosa Winery in 1994. He built the 121,000 square foot, 12th century style, authentic Tuscan castle winery with reportedly authentic Tuscan bricks and 30 million USD!

The tour of the castle costs $25 per person (with reserved wine tasting). Tasting only costs $15. Engineer didn't go for the tour because his wife and kids fell asleep when they arrived. But he did go wine tasting.

The wine produced by the Castello di Amorosa can only be purchased in the winery or online at www.castellodiamorosa.com. Frankly speaking, the whites (Gewurztraminer, pinot bianco, and dessert wines) of the winery are a little too sweet in my taste. For reds I tasted the 2004 Il Barone Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon and it was too harsh for me, but surprisingly I found the 2005 La Castellana Reserve "Super Tuscan" blend smooth, elegant, complex, and fruity. The hand sealed wax on the closure surely looks interesting! This Super Tuscan blends 74% of Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Merlot, and 12% Sangiovese. It is an elegant, complex wine, with good depth, volume and balanced with very velvety tannins providing length and a smooth, lingering texture.

Engineer's taste is more inclined to blended reds: Bordeaux or Super Tuscan. Maybe we are supposed to blend different grapes into a god given beverage!

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