The beauty in the Napa Valley is never-ending and as I mentioned before, can be overwhelming. It always helps to have suggestions of places to visit, which is why I am writing so much about our trip. One suggestion came from someone the hubs met while eating lunch at The Cliff House. Oh yes, while I was Foodbuzzing away, the hubs was having his own biking adventure all over the city, over the Golden Gate Bridge, the Presidio, dipping his toes in the Pacific, and making friends with locals over pints of Guinness. There may be a guest post coming soon. . . One of the people he met suggested that we must go to Castello di Amorosa. So, we grudgingly left Chateau Montelena, stopped at the Old Faithful Geyser in Calistoga, chose not to pay $7 to see the geyser erupt, and drove on Castello di Amorosa. Now normally I would think a newly constructed castle in a place where castles don’t exist would be cheesy. However, this is done in such a beautiful and genuine manner (not to mention the wine was great!) that I absolutely loved it. We could have easily been walking through Civitella or some other Italian fortress. Despite only existing for a few years rather than a few centuries, the property felt authentic and majestic and is perfectly taken care of. To access the winery, you must drive up a short, hilly road. On the way, you pass fields of grapevines and chickens, along with a small chapel.
There were also sheep on the grounds, and unlike Irish sheep, these sheep wanted me to pet them. You have no idea how much time I have spent chasing sheep in Irish fields. . .
A winding walkway brings you into the castle, where you can choose a tour/and or tasting.
The very friendly staff will ring you up for whatever you choose and will send you on your way past some really cool rooms and a large courtyard.
It was very sunny the day that we were there, and I can’t imagine how beautiful it would be on a summer day. Can you picture yourself sitting out in this courtyard sipping a glass of cool Gewürztraminer?
Lemons growing in November. . . After a leisurely stroll taking in the beautiful architecture and art of the castle, we found the tasting room.
It probably says a lot that we ended up joining the wine club at this winery. The tasting included five choices each, so we shared ten different wines. We loved them all but the standouts were the 2008 Gioia (joyah), a beautiful Rosato di Sangiovese, the 2007 Anderson Valley Gewürztraminer which completely blew me away, and the 2002 Il Brigante Cabernet/Merlot blend, which had a bit of a smoky, dare I say bacon-like flavor to it. Delicious. The tasting room was also a store with all sorts of wine-related items, books, chocolates, and other delights. While finishing our tasting I kept thinking I heard a meow. Surely, I find new friends everywhere I go.
I crouched down to give this kitty a pat on the head, and before I knew it, it was in my lap, curling up to sleep. I hated to get up! We finished up by joining their reds only club. I can’t wait to receive our first shipment! Our drive out was equally as lovely as our drive in. I stopped in the chapel to shoot a photo and to reflect on all of the positivity that I felt on our vacation.
My next posts will cover the final two wineries of our trip as well as the random sushi dinner we had before departing for the San Francisco airport. I also have a post on our lunch at the Culinary Institute of America but may be using that as a guest post. . . I will uh keep you posted. See ya!