Today I felt like I really experienced Napa to the fullest. 12 wineries. 1 day. Boom.
I started the day pretty early – about 8 am or so. (This is early for me considering I’m on vacation time) I’m staying with my aunt up here in Napa & she took me to a great breakfast spot to start off the day. Most wineries opened around 10 am, however there were a select few that opened up a little early around 9:30 AM.
Now I know what you’re thinking – “Tim, drinking wine at 9 AM? What are you, a raging alcoholic?”
No, but I’m on vacation for basically an entire month. Might as well indulge, right?
I didn’t drink at every winery that I went to, but after talking to people at the different venues, I was offered free glasses & would be considered a jerk to refuse them. What is a guy to do?
By the end of the day, slightly buzzed and a little sun-tanned due to a clear & sunny day, I ended up at the last & BEST winery of all.
Castillo de Amorosa
This has got to be one of the coolest wineries I’ve ever seen. Maybe one of the best in the US.
The owner of this venue had an inspiration to recreate a castle resembling one of the middle ages & renaissance of western Europe. Not only did he import bricks from the Hapsburg dynasty, but all of the iron ornaments done throughout the castle was hand made by an Italian stone mason.
The guy wanted this place to be so authentic, he built not only a chapel, dining hall, bedroom chambers, lookout towers, underground caves, but also a torture chamber complete with the iron maiden.
In addition to having some pretty cool aesthetics, one of the features of the tour I also liked was that we were given premature red wine to be able to understand the difference between that & properly aged wine. I’ve never really thought about it before, but I assumed that it would taste like grape juice.
NOT THE CASE.
It was baaaaaad. The wine tasted really tart and not at all what you would want to pair with a nice steak, that’s for sure. Although, one useful thing that I learned was that to get the full taste of a wine, you have to sip it 3 separate times. One time to set the acidity levels on your palate, another to fully adjust your mouth and salivary glands to prepare for drinking it, and the last one to fully taste the wine independent of any compensation your taste buds/salivary glands attempt to provide during the first two tastes. Also, to get a full aroma of the wine, place your hand over the top of the glass & swish it around for about 10 seconds or so…you’ll find it to be a lot more pungent.
Look at me – I feel like a regular sommelier!
Another cool winery which I’d love to talk about, but for the sake of time (& space on this post), I’ll just briefly mention it. Sterling winery (right across from the castle actually) has a cool gondola ride to the top of a hill where you can sit down at a table while enjoying a glass & looking over the valley. Definitely a spot worth checking out!
Here are some shots from the day-