“Wine gets better with age. The older I get, the more I like it.”

~Anonymous

I have always wanted to visit a castle. So when a tour at the winery Castello di Amorosa presented itself, suprisingly enough, all of us jumped on the opportunity. Well, not all of us. D & A was headed back to Texas and since it was our last day in California, we, along with P & T decided to see what a real castle was like. (See pictures below)

First a little history:

In 1993, after decades of researching and studying medieval castles throughout Europe, Dario Sattui began a humungous building project. The 121,000 square foot Castello includes 107 unique rooms, 8,000 tons of hand-squared stones, 8 levels (4 below ground which we had the pleasure of touring), 900 feet of caves, a completely hand-painted Great Hall (which was so totally awesome), a drawbridge, moat, dungeon and torture chamber (which included a ‘hot seat’, torture rack, a chopping block, and an authentic, antique, actually used back in the Medieval times Iron Maiden which we got to actually see it, ewwww!) a consecrated chapel, and one of the most impressive wine barrel rooms in the U.S. constructed with ancient brick Roman cross-vaulted ceilings (Dario bought and had shipped back to the states and paid the labor of professional brick layers of this type to come over and lay the bricks).

The castle has 30 acres of vineyards surrounding its great, hand-chiseled walls, gates, and guard towers planted with Sangiovese, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes which produce low yields and intensely flavored wines. While touring the level which housed all the barrels of aging red wine, our tour hostess, Kerry, (who was quite funny and totally awesome) opened a barrel and let us all taste some of the red wine that was not quite ready for bottling. It was a unique experience to be able to do that and I thought it rocked.

Then she took us to a separate tasting room from the public and behind this awesome brick and wood bar, served us wines that we tasted and, of course, bought some to take home. See picture below.

For GW and I, that tour of the castle, along with the Nashville in Napa experience, were the highlights of the trip. Not to mention our ‘meet the deer on the mountain top experience’, but we won’t go into that, LOL!


Outside view of the castle turret


Different view of the castle turret. Forgot where we were at the time of the picture taken


Castle courtyard where they actually hold parties and balls


Castle Chapel


This was our tour guide, Kerry, who had been raised around vineyards for many years. She was very knowledgeable and was a hoot to be with! I wish I could remember her name.


Castle Greatroom where in Medieval times, everyone met to eat and conduct business. This is the actual room that was in one of the recent Disney films Bedtime Stories. They also filmed the Bachelor here.


This is where the King and Queen sits. Disney bought them for the film and then donated them to the castle.


The dark spots under the arches are openings where oil would be poured upon those attacking the castle.


This is where the archers would stand to shoot their arrows. Note that they were designed where he could easily have enough room to shoot to the left or the right.


These are the foot stands for the archers who would be shooting over the wall.


This torture device is where the saying ‘being on the hot seat’ comes from. They tie you to the chair and then light a fire underneath and slowly roast you. Ewww!


Here is the rack that slowly tore you from limb to limb {{shudder}}.


Different types of helmets


Barrel we actually got to taste wine from


This is the arch that you can whisper into the corner and the person on the opposite side can hear you. It actually works! Not sure who this person was, BTW.


This is where to tour ended up. Cool, huh?


Then, of course, the store to buy your wares (souvenirs).


This is how they store wine for aging once the fermenting is completed. Notice no labels are on them. Why? Because they will not have to pay tax on them until they are labeled. Interesting, huh?

This tour is a must if you have a penchant for castles and history. I have so many more pictures of so many interesting things, but it is hard to include them all.

to be continued…

~Sandy

This entry was posted on Monday, January 3rd, 2011 at 10:58 pm and is filed under Traveling, Wine. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

2 Responses to “the most incredible journey (part nine)”

Jim Sullivan Says:

Sandy,

This is a wonderful blog about your experience at Castello di Amorosa. Thank you for visiting. I hope you come back again.

Warm regards,

Jim Sullivan
PR & Marketing Manager
Castello di Amorosa
JimS@castellodiamorosa.com
707-967-6278

Sandy Says:

Thank you, Jim! It was certainly our pleasure and we had a wonderful time!

Sandy

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