Have you ever been wine tasting in a castle? Well now I have! Picture this: Our wine connoisseur is telling us all about the Napa Valley wine-making process on a tourette at Castello di Amorosa, when suddenly Adele starts blasting from the cell phone of someone in our tour group. Oh, modern life!
As always, I went home to San Francisco for the holidays. For New Years, we all rented a cute Air Bnb in Sonoma and went wine tasting on January first in a legitimate castle in Calistoga. Read on for a picture guide of our experience there!
Napa Valley Wine Tasting
Even the drive leading up to the castle is grand! It was absolutely freezing but a gorgeous clear day nonetheless.
I give you: Castello di Amorosa. No, it’s not a medieval castle (nothing on the West Coast is), but it was built using medieval techniques with materials shipped over from Tuscany in Southern Italy, and modeled after 13th century castles there. It even has a moat and a drawbridge!
We went on a guided tour before the wine tasting itself, and I loved hearing about the history of the family behind the castle. Apparently they go back many generations in San Francisco, which is fun to hear for my friends and I since we are all SF locals which is a rarity. The story goes that the Sattui family used to sell wine in SF itself, but during prohibition they were forced to leave and actually ended up selling sandwiches on the side of the road in Napa Valley. And now they have a castle! Who doesn’t love a good underdog story like that?
Loved this drawbridge!
Beautiful courtyard which really makes you feel like you’re in Italy.
Apparently in medieval times, you would get taxed based on how many windows and doors you have. So come tax season, they would simply seal up the doors like the above picture. Clever!
Each of these are hand-made in Italy and worth about $50,000 each!
We must have walked past hundreds of these wine barrels!
P.S. This bib necklace is from Rocksbox – get your own month free with code chelseaxoxo2!
We even got to try a cabernet straight from the barrell! It was only a 2014 so it wasn’t ready yet – instead tasting sweeter and closer resembling a grape juice than wine.
This is the room we had the actual wine tasting in.
They had these great regal wine stoppers which looked like something out of Game of Thrones. They gave us a menu to pick 5 samples from, rather than just telling us what to try which was fun.
I discovered that I really like Pino Bianco (above), which is a white wine on the sweeter side. This glass has a bit of a pear taste to it, and would go well with fish.
I also enjoyed the above pictured La Fantasia. It’s incredibly sweet, bubbly, and would go well with berries and desserts. I learned that you don’t need to swirl wines that have bubbles, because the bubbles air out the glass enough on their own.
The squad! Friends for 16+ years, no big deal.
All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed our tour of this Napa Valley castle. Our tour guide was very enthusiastic and clearly knowledgeable on everything from the history of the castle to the wine-making process. The castle itself whisked you away to another world and reminded me a bit of Disneyland in that way. It was great to learn a little more about wine and have fun along the way!
Comment Challenge: Have you ever been wine tasting? What’s your favorite wine?