My first experience in Napa Valley…
The sun was shining; the weather was sweet…
I spent a beautiful day with the family in Napa Valley.
The area is pretty – unfortunately a lot of tourists (like ourselves) make the traffic quite busy.
Also the cops are very careful about patrolling – so don’t drink & drive.
We visited a couple of wineries. Nothing spectacular. I did enjoy a Chardonnay from Jessup Cellars.
Later when we were in cheerful spirits, went to visit a vineyard and winery called Castella di Amorosa North of Napa. The winery is housed in a Tuscan Castle built in the 1990s-2000s with stone and brick taken from old buildings in Italy that had been demolished.
So the castle looks very authentic and has an eerie feeling – like you get when you walk into a relic of a building where you know it’s existed for hundreds of years.
I liked this castle because it was very serene. The vines were outside. There was a draw bridge and an unfilled moat where chickens were pecking around.
It’s nice enough to lounge around the grass and have a picnic.
We also did an underground tour of the fermentation rooms – those oak barrels are gigantic. We also saw some of the containers where the liquid is heated and fermented and later stored.
Nevertheless, they kept some of the old equipment for show. This is how they used to make wine:
There was even a room with torture equipment – they really wanted this to be authentic. I’m not sure if any of the equipment was used. But it was really frightening.
Next, the best part – a taste test 🙂
The tour guide gave us a test of the wine before it was aged – tasted really AWFUL. Very bitter and dried my whole mouth – the tannins were out of control. But the wines properly aged and ready to drink were delightful! Especially their vintage collection. I liked their Cabernet Sauvignon. It had a lot of character. And I don’t know much about wine. So the fact that I could distinguish the taste and the flavours from other offerings probably meant it was good wine!
Overall, it was a tad too touristy (the castle sold merchandise like chocolate, pens and even the book, The Little Prince…). But it was a nice walk through and I would enjoy going back.