For those unfamiliar with Castello di Amorosa, I’m guessing that your first guess as to the location of the castle on the right would not be Calistoga, California. In fact, Castello di Amorosa’s immaculate 121,000 sq. ft. castle/winery is located 2 miles south of Calistoga, just off of Highway 29. The winery was a pet project for Dario Sattui (owner of V. Sattui Winery, off Hwy 29 in St. Helena), who has an immense passion for Italian medieval architecture. Castello di Amorosa opened on April 19, 2007, after fourteen years of construction.
When your winery looks like this, people would likely come and buy wine whether the wine is good or not. I recently sampled a few of Castello di Amorosa’s wines and can personally attest that winemakers Brooks Painter, Peter Velleno, and consulting winemaker Sebastiano Rosa are making some excellent juice. The winery’s portfolio spans several varietals, from Gewürztraminer and Riesling, to Italian varietals Sangiovese and Barbera, to Zinfandel and Pinot Noir, to Napa Valley staples Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Chardonnay. Consumers should note that Castello di Amorosa’s wines are only available at the winery.
Castello di Amorosa Sangiovese 2009
From The Winery: 14.5% Alcohol. 90% Sangiovese, 10% Merlot. Napa Valley AVA. 3531 cases produced.
Impressions/Notes: This aromatic and flavorful Napa Valley Sangiovese presents with a dark ruby color. A defining feature of the wine is spice–Dr. Pepper spice, allspice, and sweet baking spices are prevalent on the nose and in the mouth. Tangy red cherry, minerals, and cocoa power round out the aroma/flavor profile. A strong oak presence add some of the above-described spice and tannins to the wine, but does not overshadow the fruit.
Rating: Recommended (89), 3/5 Value
Castello di Amorosa Gioia Rosato D’Sangiovese 2011
From The Winery: 13.1% Alcohol. 100% Sangiovese. California AVA. 1642 cases produced.
Impressions/Notes: A couple of my wine blogging friends have recently published confessionals/disclosures on their respective blogs. In keeping with that spirit, I now add my own confessional–Roses have been some of the least favorite wines that I’ve tried in the past few years. I’m a guy that likes his acid (the legal kind, never tried the other kind), but several of the American Roses that I’ve tasted are over-acidified, sour, and well…boring. Not this Rose. The Gioia was extremely impressive. It’s balanced, refreshing, smooth, and teeming with ripe fruit. Light ruby in color (though seemingly darker than most Roses that I’ve tasted), this Sangiovese-based Rose displays raspberry, strawberry, a hint of bubble gum, honeysuckle, and violet. At this level of quality and at the price of $24.00, the Gioia is a screaming deal.
Rating: Highly Recommended (91), 4.5/5 Value
Castello di Amorosa La Castellana 2008
From The Winery: 14.6% Alcohol. 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Merlot, 14% Sangiovese. Napa Valley AVA. 1634 cases produced.
Impressions/Notes: The La Castellana is an inviting and elegant Super Tuscan blend that really started to shine about an hour after opening. Ripe and succulent black fruits (particularly plum and blackberry) mingle nicely with eucalyptus, cedar, cigar box, and sweet spices. Approaching full-bodied, with lightly gripping tannins and a slight bit of heat on the back palate. The finish is long and loaded with vanilla and sweet spice.
Rating: Highly Recommended (92), 3/5 Value
Disclaimer–These wines were provided as samples by the winery.