What comes to your mind when you hear the phrase “Napa Valley”? Someone will probably think of Mr. Big, who left Cary and went to California. And some will imagine vast expanses and vineyards in rows…and I wouldn’t be surprised if some even taste the wine on their tongue…
The Napa Valley is an absolutely wonderful place, surrounded by two rocky ridges from the coast, thanks to which the valley has a dry and hot climate. It is this climate is conducive to winemaking. Now Napa has about 300 vineyards on 140,000 hectares of land.
We went to Napa last Saturday, May 31, and today I want to tell you about one castle located in Napa where we spent a wonderful day.
#1 A Tuscan-style castle can not be easily found south of the town of Calistoga in Napa Valley. It was discovered in 2007 by Daryl Sattui, a fourth-generation winemaker.
#2 The castle is called Castello di Amarosa, which means “castle of love” in Italian. It is not only an interestingly equipped room, but also a full-fledged winery.
#3 The esteemed Daryl Sattui has a soft spot for Italian architecture and decided to recreate an example of a classic Tuscan castle in his homeland. According to legend, the bricks for this castle was brought to him from Europe and they are not just any bricks, but very, very old
#4 In the end, it took almost all of Mr. Sattui’s savings and 12 years of his life to build the castle. But from what I’ve seen – the place is very, very popular and for sure, since 2007, when it was opened, it has already paid for itself
#5 Everything around the castle is real – a moat, a drawbridge, heavy iron gates, and towers in all five corners.
You can walk around the castle on your own. But we decided to take a tour that involves a two-hour tour of the grounds and cellars, as well as a tasting.
#6 Tour groups gather here. But it’s 20 minutes before our tour starts – we want to get to the tower in time.
#7 We’re at the top!
#8 From there, you can see the vineyards that belong to the castle!
#9 The castle itself has beautiful windows!
#10 You can also see a lot of details of the castle from up here – they’ve all been treated with acid to give them an ancient look.
#11 They seem to have done quite well
#12 There are also wonderful tables and high heavy chairs up there – we did not fail to use them
#13 The main thing is not to miss the beginning of the tour – we come down just in time. Our guide Tim is already waiting for us. I want to note that he is just a super guide! Simultaneously with us walked the second group – they had a boring and unemotional guide-girl. Tim begins his story in a beautiful, very church-like hall, of course, with the history of the castle. Shows various ancient exhibits on the grounds.
#14 He invites you to admire the courtyard. I think it’s just great! It’s a great place for romantic dinners!
#15 And then Tim takes us into an amazing hall – 22 meters long, 10 meters wide and almost 7 meters high!
#16 The walls here are decorated with luxurious frescoes… that’s right, by Italian artist Fabio Sanzogni.
#17 The maximum capacity is 144 people But that doesn’t stop the hall from hosting an annual Halloween masquerade and New Year’s Eve ball
#18 The openwork wrought iron candlesticks in the form of mythical gargoyles can’t be missed.
#19 And those beautiful windows.
#20 And the coffered ceiling.
#21 But we don’t want to be too long, we still have time to see the wine fermentation room.
There are actually several rooms with huge vats – some of them contain wine. And then the vat is so icy that you can’t touch it.
#22 By the way, this winery is famous for the fact that their harvesting is done completely by hand. And they only use natural product for fertilizer. They even fight with rodents in creative way: they specially place bird feeders in the vineyards that help winemakers cope with unwanted critters.
#23 All sorts of gadgets to work with.
#24 In the meantime, we go down to the floor below – the castle has four underground levels. They contain prison cells, weapons rooms, and other exhibits that might appeal to curious tourists.
#25 But the most interesting thing, of course, is the cellars!
#26 The labyrinths of the cellars are more than 40 meters long and there is nothing to get lost in. Three tourists from China, unfortunately, did it. But were quickly found
#27 All along the labyrinths to the place of our stop, there are interesting rooms where the wines are kept.
#28 Very, very old wines…
#29 And they’re not likely to be opened any more…
#30 Safe and sound, we arrive at the tasting place. We’re tasting a fresh Cabernet Sauvignon.
#31 Tim tells us how it’s going to happen. A three stage tasting where the wine opens up in a new way each time
#32 I don’t really like Cabernet at all. For me it’s too complex, too tannic and tart. And this was exactly that – with a distinct aroma of spice and black currant. Too pungent for me.
#33 Let’s go back, or rather to the tasting room, where a full-fledged tasting of Castello di Amarosa wine house products awaits us.
#34 We were supposed to have five wines each. But there were three of us and we tasted everything from each other almost unashamedly. We especially liked the red Pinot Noir, the white Gewürztraminer.
try to pronounce it., and a new sparkling La Fantasia – pure Lambrusca only in a Californian way
I’m writing now and my mouth is watering! I could drink something delicious right now… But I have to pick Ruslan up from work in an hour, so I can’t drink anything
#35 After a wonderful excursion and a delightful tasting, during which we were also treated to some chocolate and salt, we are going out into the light of day. It seems that we were in the dungeon for a hundred years.)
#36 But no, it’s not even dark yet
#37 Around the castle, in addition to the beautiful vineyards, there is a small zoo! There are pigs.
#39 And important turkeys.)
#40 And also ostriches, which walked along the fence with an incredibly narcissistic look!)))
#41 And at the very exit, we still met a company of girls – celebrating bachelorette party in such a beautiful place. And they came here in a limo! You can’t forbid to live beautifully
#42 Oh, I didn’t want to leave at all. But I’m pretty sure we will be back to Napa Valley more than once. We will go once a month to have time to wander through all the wineries. What’s more, we didn’t make it to a port winery on this trip, and I didn’t even know that they make port wine in California, too. So a return is inevitable
Thanks for your attention and I hope you had fun I wish I could treat you to a nice Californian wine…