Castello di Amorosa
Napa County Winery
4045 North St. Helena Highway
Calistoga, CA 94515
|Phone #||(707) 967-6272|
|Pricing||$ $ $ $ $|
|Rating||* * * * *|
More Wineries in Napa:
Alpha Omega Winery
Castello di Amorosa
Clos Du Val
Dutch Henry Winery
Frank Family Vineyards
Robert Mondavi Winery
St. Clement Vineyards
Turnbull Wine Cellars
V. Sattui Winery
Vine Cliff Winery
Castello di Amorosa Wine Tasting Tours, Hours & Prices:
You're gonna pay between $10 - $35 depending on when you go, whether or not you want a "reserve" tasting, and whether you want the tour before your tasting.
Entrance fee and tasting: $10.00 ($15 During High Season 12/26/07 - 12/31/07)
Entrance fee and Reserve Tasting: $20
Tour & Tasting - $25.00 (Weekdays) & $30.00 (Sat, Sun and Holidays)
Tour & Tasting including Reserve Wines - $35.00 (Weekdays) & $40.00 (Sat, Sun and Holidays)There are also special fees for young adults, but I can't bare to give any more prices.
Castello di Amorosa Wine Tasting Notes
One of the crazier things you can do in Napa is visit Castello di Amorosa, the huge medieval-style castle and winery built by Daryl Suttui, who also owns the popular V.Suttui winery down the road. Like a madman with too much money, (it reportally cost over $30 million to build), Mr.Suttui has build a somewhat historically accurate medieval stone italian castle on a hillside outside Calistoga. Part Willie Wonka, part Disney, the castle is made with stone imported from all over the world, battle towers and two acres of winding underground tunnels and chambers. This winery is unlike anything else this side of the pacific.
It costs $15 just to cross the draw bridge and get in through the large iron gates that guard the castle from the riff-raff. But if you visit you should take the tour, which will cost you $25 ($30 weekends and holidays), and includes a private tasting of five wines.
We took the tour on December 28, which they decided was a holiday and charged us thusly. Our guide Gary, an aspiring comedian with a bachelors in Thearte arts, gave a fun tour and tasting that lasted about an hour and a half. You'll learn much more about Mr.Suttui and the castle than about wine, but that's okay because once you see this castle it's all you can think about anyway. The tour takes you from the grand hall with 22 foot high ceilings and walls adorned with italian-inspired Frescoes, then up to the top of the tower, then down into the catacombs beneath the castle.
It's very tempting to wander from the tour while roaming through the tunnels and passageways, but like Charlie and his grandpa on Wonka's factory tour, you better not. Gary kept reminding us, half-jokingly, that he was the only one who knew the way out, and to keep close. If we didn't, he went on, we would be required to experience the joys of the tourture chamber, which was also the coolest part of the tour.
The Tourture chamber, deep in the dungeon of the castle, is equipt with replicas of several tourture devices, and a real antique iron maiden that Mr. Suttui purchaced in Italy (reportedly for $13,000).
Another highlight of the tour is the barrel tasting in the vast underground barrel chamber. We tasted a Cab picked just two months prior, which will really give you a sense of what aging in a barrel will do to a wine. Besides the actual tasting, which we'll address later, this is the most educational portion of the tour as far as wine goes.
The tour concludes in a private room, just off the main tasting room, where you and your group taste a selection of five wines. You can "upgrade" your tasting to include the winery's reserve wines for an extra $10. Gary was loose with how many wines we tasted and was more than happy to pour us about seven different wines, or a splash more of something we liked.
There seemed to be a tour every half hour or so, all quite full (8-15 people), but when we finished our private tasting and entered the main tasting room and schwag shop, there was nobody in there. So I'm not sure how many people come just for the tasting. We were not that excited about any of the wines we tasted, except for maybe the Gewrztraminer and the Muscato, so we wouldn't recommend stopping just for the wine.
While the whole thing is pretty cool in an eccentric millionaire kind of way, cool for the the same reasons that Hearst Castle is cool, I can't really say that I'd want many other wineries to follow Mr. Suttui's model which will make Napa more like a wino's Disney World than a romantic weekend getaway.
Castello di Amorosa Wines
Ratings and tasting notes coming soon!