Last year we had the opportunity to ride the Napa Valley Wine Train with our family that was a neat way to see wine country and taste some of the local varieties with a delicious meal! Something new available to wine lovers is the Castle Winery Tour. As you begin the tour with a relaxing train trip north, lunch and spectacular views are served. But on this ride you disembark at St. Helena and board a shuttle to the Castello, tour through a castle replica 6 years young but made so precisely to look like it’s been there for centuries, and ride a shuttle back to the station. You get the best of both worlds I believe.
Rising above the hills in the Napa Valley is Castello di Amorosa, which translates to the “castle of love” in Italian. Castello di Amorosa is an authentically-styled, 13th century Tuscan castle winery replete with high walls and five defensive towers and over 30 acres of estate vineyards. It was built over a 15-year period by Dario Sattui, a fourth generation winemaker and owner of V. Sattui Winery in St. Helena, California.
Executive Chef Kelly Macdonald prepares an amazing meal on the ride to St. Helena. We shared a table with a couple from Florida and it was so nice to chat and learn more about our new friends. The food arrived beginning with a Potato Leek soup and Baby Lettuce Salad. I would suggest you don’t eat breakfast for this trip, lunch is promptly served at 11am for this large meal that includes one glass of red or white wine.For our main entrees, I enjoyed the Roasted Beef Tenderloin with a Black Tuffle Potato Cake and Parsnip Chips, while my husband had the Coriander Mustard Encrusted Chicken with Endive and Radicchio-Feta Salad. My meat was sublime and the potato cake was a nice side. The crunch of the parsnips were delightful. My husband is fond of mustard so the coriander blend that encrusted the chicken was a nice flavor. Dessert was an amazing chocolate cake/brownie with pecans…I’m at a loss of the name but it was rich and substantial that we took the second one home with us, oh so good!
When you arrive at Castello di Amorosa, it’s pretty spectacular! A working winery and stunning showcase of Dario Sattui’s dream. With 30 acres of vineyards surrounding the hand-chiseled walls, gates, and guard towers, you’ll find Sangiovese, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon in low yields for intense flavored wines.The Castello can only be viewed by tour, and as part of the Wine Train package a VIP tour takes you around the medieval castle through some of it’s unique 107 rooms across 8 levels (4 underground). Here you also amble through 900 ft of caves, a hand-painted Great Hall, dungeon, torture chamber, watchtowers, a wine barrel room constructed with ancient brick Roman cross-vaulted ceilings, and SO much more! The tour concludes with a private tasting held in a dungeon cellar tasting room. The wine tasting was so informative and thorough. We enjoyed both reds and whites plus reserve wines like Il Barone that was so complex and delicious it will knock your socks off. My ultimate favorite was La Fantasia that I will purchase online (Castello di Amorosa wines are ONLY available at the Castle or online) as a gift to myself!
Wine Train “Castle Tour”
When – Every lunch train (10:30 am – 4:00 pm)
Cost – Prices Range from $189 – $234
Purchase at Winetrain.com
Our tour was hosted, gratuities and wine purchases, and all opinions our own.