We spent Saturday being chauffeured around Napa in a limo, drinking lots of wine and enjoying the gorgeous December sunshine. We visited the Castello di Amarosa, a vineyard and winery, and also the most amazing castle I’ve ever seen.
I’ve really only seen the Iolani Palace, and Sleeping Beauty’s castle in Disneyland, so I don’t have a lot to compare it to, but still.
We did the guided tour, so in addition to the public areas of the castle that anyone can visit if they come to the vineyard which includes a ballroom and a chapel, we also got to see the underground portion, including jails and a torture chamber, and many feet of tunnels stacked with barrels of wine.
It took fifteen years to build the castle, and all of the materials are authentic, sourced from ruins of castle in Europe. All of the iron work in the castle was recovered from ruins, and if they couldn’t find it there, they had it made in the authentic style as it would have been in 12th-16th century Europe.
We learned a lot about the wine they produce during the tour, and also about the castle itself, and it was really interesting.
All of the stonework was done by a master stone mason, and different sections of the castle were done in the styles from different centuries, so they point that out to you on the tour, and explain what the differences were, and why.
For the last stop on our tour we stopped in a private underground tasting room that felt a lot like a dungeon, but at least there were bread sticks, and tried a bunch of the different wines that are made by the vineyard. I really liked a lot of them, I used to hate red wine, but in the last few years I’ve really grown to like it more and more, especially Zinfandel.
My favourites were Dolcino, it was a sweet white wine; Simpatica, which is a blend of Muscato and Riesling, and one called Fantasia, which tastes like melted frozen fruit punch juice mix. Our guide said he often uses it as a mix with vodka, which sounds like a terrible/amazing idea.
They have activities at the castle all year round, and every year for New Year’s Eve they have a black tie masquerade ball. It’s expensive, but it sounds like so much fun, so we’re going to try to do that for NYE 2016.
If you are looking for me at any point over the next 12 months, I’ll probably be gluing feathers and glitter onto my mask.