Castles and wine, what more could a girl ask for?
Luckily I found all three when visiting Castello di Amorosa, a 13th century Tuscan style castle in Napa Valley. The vineyard in its colourful autumn foliage blanketed the castle’s surroundings, like the vines from Sleeping Beauty that spread like wildfire. Arriving just as a storm was rolling in, the medieval mood was intensified, appropriate for the scene of an ornate castle, moat, drawbridge, feast hall, and armory. And torture chamber.
The castle spans 122,000 square feet with 107 rooms, and no two rooms are alike. We were brought underground for our wine tasting in a labyrinthine wine cave that seemed to go on forever. Picturesque flaming sconces added a glow to the cobblestone walls.
The owner of the winery is Dario Sattui, a respected name in the wine industry and great-grandson of V. Sattui of V. Sattui Winery. Initially, Dario just wanted to grow small lots of Italian varietals. What changed his mind was his passion for medieval architecture and fascination of the great castles of Europe, particularly in Tuscany. One day he thought to himself, “Why not try it here?”
The impressive thing regarding the winery’s architecture is that it is an authentic castle made as true to the techniques of its time as possible. Impressive, yes. Beautiful, yes. But there is one thing that remains undeniable: the lack of historical significance. The construction of this winery boils down to nothing more than one man’s passion. Comparing this to both the passion and 100+ years of history of its sister winery, V. Sattui, it leads me to wonder its fulfilling significance, if any, to visitors.
Some see a magnificent piece of architecture. Others see a wealthy great-grandson who dropped 30 million dollars to create this construction, when visitors could alternatively spend their money in support of a longtime family-run business in the area. The place is very beautiful and extremely impressive . . . heck, we went to visit didn’t we? It’s a stunning castle on even more beautiful grounds!
But I prefer visiting places with more depth, more stories, and in my opinion, it just can’t be compared to a place like charming ol’ V. Sattui Winery. It’s no wonder my favourite part of the castle was the small room dedicated to his great-grandfather, including a few unopened V. Satttui wine bottles from the 1880’s . . .
Me? Like something vintage? No way ;)