Who would believe it? A 13th century medieveal Tuscan castle with moat, torture chamber, and several hundred feet of elaborately carved underground wine caves sitting in the center of Napa Valley. A trusted friend recommended a visit, so I called Georg Salzner, President of Castello di Amorosa, to arrange a tour. I thought that a visit would fit perfectly into my Northern California travels with my teenage son, as he could play with the Iron Maiden while I learned about the wines.
Georg met us at the entrance and led us on a most entertaining tour. I must admit, that as we entered the castle, doubts entered my mind as to whether a faux Italian castle in the Napa Valley could produce serious wine. Any doubts were allayed once I met winemaker Brooks Painter [pictured here to the right] and began tasting his wines from barrel and bottle. My tasting notes can be found on the i-winereview website. My personal favorite is the Castello’s version of a Super Tuscan:
2007 La Castellana Super Tuscan ($85) 93
La Castellana means the lady of the castle in Italian, and this voluptuous beauty is dressed in a robe of dark cherry fruit and violets with smoky oak and chocolate notes. A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Sangiovese, it is velvet smooth on a beautifully integrated palate. Blessed with fine, ripe tannins, this wine is easily approachable when young. To be released in 2012, but the 2005 vintage is available now. It’s almost as good and lower in price. Wines must be purchased direct from the winery or on-line.