Our host, Anthony Makagy, did an outstanding job with both the education part of the experience and pouring the wine. He was patient, charming, and he took the time with each guest to help them understand and enjoy the wine they were drinking.
Since the Castello di Amorosa makes so many different types of wines, they really have something for everyone; sweet wines, a beautifully balanced rose, rich Italian style reds, and a late harvest Gewurztraminer which is a dessert wine. This is one of the largest lineups, with a wider variety, than I have seen anywhere. If you have a group with differing wine tastes, this is the place to go.
The other thing that I liked about the wines was the price. So many of the wineries in Napa are out of the price range of the average drinker. The castle prices their wines at a very reasonable level, so more people can afford to enjoy them.
I would like to point out that the tour gives each person a tasting of five different wines. I was with a partner that day so we chose to share our tastes and doubled up to ten; all in the name of being good bloggers I assure you. They also have a premium tasting for an extra $10.
We started off with the whites:
2015 Pinot Bianco $26: The nose on this wine was interesting. It smelled clean with floral notes. The flavor is of ripe peaches and pineapple, clean on the palate, with medium acidity, and a soft finish of citrus. It lingered in the mouth for a really nice sip.
2014 Chardonnay $29: The nose smelled of toasted nuts. This wasn’t my favorite taste as it felt overwhelmingly citrus-y in the mouth and yet flat.
2014 Vermentino $27: There wasn’t much of a nose on this one. The flavor of the wine was light and crisp with notes of kiwi and citrus. This wine has a particularly long finish. A perfect summer sip for hot days. (If you are interested in this wine you have to hurry as there isn’t much left in stock!)
Moving on to the rose:
2015 GIOIA Risato di Sangiovese $26: People who read this blog frequently know I love Sangiovese as one of my favorite go to wines. This wine was a lovely example of what you can do with the grape. It has a beautiful nose of summer fruits, strawberry on the tongue, and a long floral finish without being overly sweet. I loved this wine and bought several bottles. What a great sip for the summer; I would highly recommend this one.
The reds were an interesting mix of flavors and styles:
2014 Russian River Pinot Noir $42: Spicy fruits on the nose, unfortunately didn’t follow through on the palate as it had a bland flavor. There were high tannins in this glass and I have to say that it was not my favorite sip of the tasting.
2012 Boschetti Vineyard Zinfandel $39: This one had a surprising buttered popcorn on the nose. You could actually taste it in the flavor of the wine too, but you also had beautiful juicy berries and a little pepper. This was a heavier body wine, and I would serve it with something like a steak or bbq pork loin. I thought the price was good value for the quality.
2012 Merlot $39: This wine is actually grown on the property. It didn’t have a big nose, and it was a bit flat on the palate. This wasn’t a bad sip, it just missed out on being something special.
2012 Cabernet Sauvignon $55: This has both heavy tannins and lots of character. It has a very earthy nose, but on the palate it has spice and smoke flavors. This wine needs about five more years of age before you can really get the mature flavor out of it. I think it’s going to be an excellent wine; I suggest you buy it now and put it away.
Finally to the sweeter desert type wines:
2015 Moscato Il Raggio del Sole $29: If you like a sweeter sip, this one has it all. Pears and apples on the nose, honeysuckle and melon on the palate; it finishes with honey and vanilla. I would serve this to my guests who enjoy sweeter, but not boring flavored, wines.
2015 Fantasia $30: This had a big nose of over ripe berries. This was really sweet with a soft effervescence. It reminded me of a wine cooler that one would drink from the 80’s. It just wasn’t my style of wine, but I know many people who would love this.
2014 Late Harvest Gewurztraminer $39: This is a dessert wine. We were served this sip with dark sea-salted chocolate. Although this wouldn’t be an everyday sip for me, I would serve it with a cheese and biscuits European style dessert, rather than with anything sweet. I think this might even be nice as a pre-dinner drink with a cheese and fruit plate in the winter when you want those sweet lush fruits to excite the palate.
There were many wines they offer that I didn’t have the opportunity to taste while I was there. I think we need to revisit as The Brit was unable to do this excursion. This will allow us to taste the reserve wines and wines that I missed out on. After all we need to be thorough for the benefit of our readers.
The Brit Comments: I agree with this suggestion.