Last month, a panel of 58 judges gathered at the Nikko Hotel in downtown San Francisco to taste their way through a record 4,570 wines from 26 states and 31 countries at the San Francisco International Wine Competition. This was the first year we have entered our wines into this prestigious competition (at which our Director of Winemaking, Brooks Painter, won Winemaker of the Year for our sister winery, V. Sattui last year), and our wines were very well received by the judges. Overall, we received a Best of Class, Double Gold, 4 Gold, 7 Silver, and 3 Bronze medals!
2013 Dry Gewurztraminer - BEST OF CLASS
2010 Il Passito Late Harvest Semillon/ Sauvignon Blanc - DOUBLE GOLD MEDAL
2010 Il Barone Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon - GOLD MEDAL
2010 Napa Valley Sangiovese - GOLD MEDAL
2011 Zingaro - GOLD MEDAL
2013 La Fantasia - GOLD MEDAL
Cheers to our fantastic winemaking team!
Napa Valley is world famous for its premium-quality wines, placing it alongside other winegrowing regions such as Bordeaux and Burgundy in France, Chianti in Italy, Rioja in Spain, and Barossa Valley in Australia. While these regions may all grow similar varietals of grapes like Cabernet Sauvignon or Chardonnay, the overall style and even legal requirements of winemaking can produce very different results in the bottle. These differences are often referred to as “Old World” vs “New World” styles of making wine. But what do these differences really mean?
The Castello's La Castellana Super Tuscan alongside the Super Tuscans of Barrua and Sassicaia from Italy
The “Old World” of wine refers to the original winegrowing regions, including Italy, France, Spain, and other nations whose viticultural practices date back hundreds of years. Stylistically, “old world” wines are typically made using traditional methods and techniques, which are often controlled by strict laws that determine what goes in to each wine in order to earn the name on its bottle. For instance, Italian laws in the Chianti region require that every bottle of wine labeled “Chianti” contain at least 80% of the Sangiovese grape.
The vineyards of Tenuto San Guido in Bulgheri, Tuscany
You might also notice more “Old World” wines tend to consist of blends, or list only the name of the region in which it was produced rather than a specific varietal. For instance, a “white Burgundy” from France would most likely consist primarily of Chardonnay grapes, or a red “Bordeaux blend” would contain at least two of the five varietals traditionally grown there (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, and Malbec). Blending varietals allows winemakers to produce a balanced, often softer style wine, and tends to focus on the “terroir,” or region the grapes were grown, rather than particular types of grapes. This tends to lead to these wines displaying more earthy or mineral characteristics in the glass. “Old World” wines also tend to be lower in alcohol, which allows them to be much easier to pair with food.
Patriarch Cellars, France
Since “Old World” typically means “Europe,” think of the “New World” of wine as basically everywhere else. “New World” regions such as California, Australia, and Argentina have adopted the techniques and varietals of the “Old World” and expanded upon them with new winemaking technologies, often without the strict legal requirements in place in Europe. Wines produced in this style are often described as more “fruit-forward” and oakey, and tend to have a higher alcohol content than Old World wines. Think of your traditional “Big Napa Cab” found so often out here in the Valley, with its rich fruit and bold tannins that make you instantly crave the largest ribeye steak you can find.
The Castello overlooks the northern end of Napa Valley from the foothills of the Diamond Mountain District
Castello di Amorosa: where “Old” meets “New”
Here at the Castello, we focus on “Italian-style” wines, meaning we like to use Italian varietals such as Moscato, Pinot Bianco, Pinot Grigio, Sangiovese, and Barbera. However, because our grapes are grown in Napa Valley and other regions of California, they do have a distinctly “New World” flavor profile, especially for Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Zinfandel and Chardonnay where the local “Terroir” is evident in the glass.
We try to take an “Old World” approach to our winemaking, including traditional winemaking methods such as hand-picking grapes, using gentler press and fermentation techniques such as bladder presses and the “punch down” method for maceration, and aging many of our wines in French Oak barrels in our caves.
Open top fermentation tanks, to allow the "punch down" of the grape skins & seeds during maceration
Our blends like Il Brigante, and La Castellana “Super Tuscan” have a balanced approach between the varietals, creating a softer, more velvety wine. Keeping our alcohol levels more moderate for our red wines helps to create a more food-friendly style that won’t overwhelm your palate at the lunch or dinner table. We hope to bring a bit of the Old World to the New here in world-famous Napa Valley, and we raise a glass to all of the wonderful wines made here and all over the world that bring new inspiration with every vintage!
Cheers to the best of both worlds!
A great perk of living/ working in wine country is the opportunity to be exposed to a wide variety of wines and winemaking styles. One of the obvious ways to expand one’s palate in this area is going out and exploring the myriad of tasting rooms and wineries available (and with over 375 in Sonoma County and 400+ in Napa Valley, there are many important decisions to make!). Basically, we in the wine world lead a rough life of roaming around beautiful rolling hillsides and valleys covered in leafy green and gold beauty searching for whatever our taste buds desire.
Just another day at the office...
Like I said, life’s hard sometimes.
But what about experiencing wine after hours? Or what if you don’t have the ability to drive 20 mins to an hour to get to the nearest winery? Well there are plenty of opportunities to explore new vintages and varieties from the comfort of your own home. Why not try hosting a wine tasting party?
A group of us at the Castello get together on a regular basis for wine tastings, and it always ends up to be an enlightening, delicious, and fun way to try new wines and hear impressions from everyone. We’ve had evenings dedicated to a specific varietal (such as Pinot Noir), winemaking styles (Old World vs New) and wine regions around the globe. Our most recent tasting focused on the wines of Spain. We sampled Riojas, Priorats, and Tempranillos with Spanish cheeses and Tortilla de Patata, a classic Spanish egg and potato appetizer made by our very own resident Spaniard, Maria!
Spanish wine tasting night with the Castello crew (and friends!)
Throwing a wine tasting party can be fun and easy, and is a great way to connect with friends over a few bottles of delicious vino! Here are a few tips for planning your own wine tasting night:
What you need:
♦ Wines (obviously) – Make sure to have enough wines for your party to taste! It’s generally a good idea to keep these get-togethers between 6-12 people so everyone has a chance to sit around the table and share their thoughts and stories about the wines being poured, and it’s a good plan to allot about a half bottle’s worth of wine per person at the tasting, though having an extra bottle or two on hand never hurts “just in case”! Keep the pours around 2 ounces for each wine, especially if you have a wider selection to taste through.
♦ Glasses – Always make sure to have enough glasses for all guests present. It’s usually nice to have at least 2 glasses per guest, especially if you want to evaluate your wines side-by-side. It’s fine to reuse the glass for multiple wines, as long as you’re not going from a red to a white or sweet (you don’t want to make your own “rose”)
♦ Dump Bucket – Have a vase or pitcher off to the side for people to dump any wine they don’t want to finish (remember, the more wines you consume, the less you’ll be able to taste!)
♦ Water – Place a water pitcher on the table with glasses for guests to sip from between tastings. Sparkling water is even more helpful in warding off the dreaded "palate fatigue"
♦ Snacks – Small bites make a delicious centerpiece at the table. Try to find foods that pair with the wines you’ll be trying; cheeses and charcuteries with a fresh baguette are always a good idea, and you can even ask your guests to bring an appetizer they think would complement the wines.
♦ Wine charms/ glass markers – These are helpful to keep track of which wine is in which glass. If you’re on the third round of tastings and trying a California Cabernet next to a French Bordeaux, it definitely doesn’t hurt to have a little reminder to keep you focused on what’s in front of you. If you don’t have wine charms, dry erase markers or even stickers work well (as long as they peel off easily)
♦ Notepads/ pens – These are especially useful for guests who want to remember which wines were tasted and which were their favorites. Great to hang on to for the next time you’re trying to remember a delicious wine you had to pair with dinner!
You can even segment notes to help guide your guests through their tasting with categories like Color, Nose, Taste, and Finish
Things to avoid:
♦ Perfume/ cologne – Remind your guests to refrain from wearing any strong scents, as this can detract from the overall tasting experience (as nice as your Chanel No 5 may smell, nobody wants to be drinking it)
♦ Scented candles/ flowers – Same reasons as above (nobody wants to be picking up "essence of Pumpkin Spice" in their Pinot Bianco)
Who needs candles when you can make your own centerpiece from corks and Champagne cages?
There are plenty of great themes you can have with a tasting party. Here are a few to start you off with:
♦ Varietal tasting – Pick a grape and see how the results differ based on where it’s produced and who is making it. Examples: Try Pinot Noirs from Burgundy, Sonoma, Carneros, and Oregon to see how terroir affects the outcome
♦ Old World vs New World – Choose wines from a specific “Old World” region (think Europe) and compare them with their “New World” counterparts. Examples: Italian varietals (Sangiovese, Barbera, Pinot Grigio) vs. their California counterparts
♦ Vintages – Pick a specific wine from your favorite winery and see how that wine changes with each year. Examples: A vertical tasting of Castello di Amorosa Cabernet Sauvignon from 2008 – 2010
♦ Blind Tasting – Break out the brown paper bags and test your senses! See if you can spot the difference between a Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, or a Riesling vs Moscato. The sky’s the limit!
And finally, the most important part of a wine tasting party: Have fun!! Whichever wines you choose, you'll be sipping, swirling, and savoring a great evening with good friends!
So many glasses, so little time…
Results are in from the 2014 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, and once again Castello di Amorosa’s wines shone brightly among the competition!
This year’s competition included a record number of 5,825 wines entered from over 1,500 wineries from over 25 states, making this the largest competition of wines in America.
We are proud to announce that this year three of our wines received the Best of Class distinction, and we received one Double Gold Medal, six Gold Medals, four Silver Medals, and one Bronze Medal! Here are our winning wines:
2012 Pinot Bianco – BEST OF CLASS
2012 Dry Gewurztraminer – BEST OF CLASS
2009 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon – BEST OF CLASS
2010 Napa Valley Merlot – DOUBLE GOLD MEDAL
2010 “Il Barone” Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon – GOLD MEDAL
2009 “La Castellana” Reserve Super Tuscan – GOLD MEDAL
2012 Bien Nacido Vineyards Reserve Chardonnay – GOLD MEDAL
2012 Napa Valley Chardonnay – GOLD MEDAL
2011 “Zingaro” Zinfandel – GOLD MEDAL
2010 Napa Valley Sangiovese – GOLD MEDAL
2012 Anderson Valley Reserve Pinot Noir – SILVER MEDAL
2011 King Ridge Vineyard Pinot Noir – SILVER MEDAL
2012 Los Carneros Pinot Noir – SILVER MEDAL
2009 “Il Brigante” Red Blend – SILVER MEDAL
2012 Late Harvest Gewurztraminer – BRONZE MEDAL
You can attend the public tasting event taking place in San Francisco at Fort Mason on Saturday, February 15th, where over 800 wineries will be pouring from 1:30 – 5:00pm. Be sure to find us among the crowd to taste our award winners!
You can check out ticket information and view the full list of winners at www.winejudging.com
2013 has been an incredible year for the vineyards of the Napa Valley, with the Napa Valley Vintners calling this year's growing season "early, even, and excellent." The 31 acres we have planted around the Castello with Sangiovese, Merlot, Primitivo, and Cabernet Sauvignon developed beautifully over the course of the year, and we loved tracking the beauty each season brought to the vines. Now that another record year in the valley is coming to a close and the vineyards again lay dormant, we're looking back on the fruits of this year's labors. Here are a few of our favorite vinyeard photos from this past year:
Sir Lancelot enjoyed playing beneath the dormant Primitivo vines in front of the Castello
The Cabernet Sauvignon vineyards above the Castello, pruned back to allow healthy new buds to begin forming
The vines began "weeping" in preparation for the arrival of new buds
Bud break arrived at the Castello in early April, and the vineyards quickly brightened with sprintime colors
The warm, dry spring we had throughout the valley allowed for earlier bud break and perfect conditions for flowering
June saw the arrival of berries on the vines.
The vines saw a bit of rain in a summer shower
The warm summer months allowed for an even ripening of the berries. Here a cool glass of Charonnday rests among the Primitivo vines.
The end of August saw verasion in the vineyards, as the berries began to ripen and change color.
Primitivo vines and berries in front of the Castello
The Merlot vineyards almost ready for harvest!
Cheers to the end of another fantastic year in the Napa Valley! We're looking forward to 2014!
If you have been lucky enough to explore our Grand Barrel Room on a tour and tasting recently at the Castello, you may have noticed a few new additions to the stunning 12,000 square foot room. Right next to where our guests have the chance to taste wine straight from the barrel, there sit several large, concrete, egg-shaped containers. These are fermentation tanks, and they are used to ferment a special selection of the Castello’s award-winning wines.
Concrete? You might ask. What can concrete do for wine? Well as it turns out, concrete is a fantastic alternative to oak or stainless steel in winemaking. Without the “oaky” impact on a wine from barrel aging, the concrete allows the wine to retain its fruity characteristics and the inherent characteristics of the grapes are allowed to shine, making it an especially useful fermentation method for showcasing the terroir of single vineyard wines.
Concrete eggs are an interesting mix of ancient and ultra-modern winemaking techniques, since the first wines were actually fermented in pottery jars called amphorae. The egg shape is a newer modification, which allows the wines inside to have a natural convection current as the carbon dioxide released during fermentation helps to naturally stir the wine and mix in the sediment, or lees.
“Graeco-Italic” Wine Amphora, 2nd century B.C.
We originally had two concrete eggs in our Grand Barrel Room, and focused on several single vineyard wines, including our Ferrington Vineyard Dry Gewürztraminer and Tyla’s Point Pinot Bianco. These aromatic varietals work especially well with this fermentation method, because the concrete enhances the floral aromas and even increases the mineral characteristics in these wines. The elegant complexity of these wines from their fermentation in the eggs has led to them both winning high praise from tasting panels and our guests.
Our 2011 Ferrington Dry Gewurztraminer
This past year we have also produced a limited amount of Chardonnay, called “La Rocca” or “the fortress.” Our Associate Winemaker, Peter Velleno, explains that “the reason for the Chardonnay is that the use of concrete (or more specifically the lack of oak barrels) allows the flavor of the vineyard to be the star. Chardonnay needs to have a rich mouthfeel, so it makes sense to try it in concrete, where there will be no oak flavors or aroma, but still the benefits of aging on the lees.” Aging wine on the lees, or the yeast and sediment that settles to the bottom of the barrel during fermentation, imparts a creaminess and complexity that can’t be found in stainless steel. This year we are excited to be fermenting some of the Chardonnay fruit from the Bien Nacido vineyard in one of our eggs.
So keep an eye out the next time you visit the Castello, and if you take a tour down into the Grand Barrel Room you’ll be able to check out this unique fermentation technique that helps to make our Italian-style wines even more incredible!
“Our vision is to build community around the art of visual story-telling, with the viewing of films and discussions with filmmakers fueling lively conversation amongst old and new friends … and those conversations being enriched with the world-class food and wine of legendary Napa Valley.”
We at the Castello always look forward to the festival, and this year we were able to participate as a shooting location for one of the short films in the SONY 4K FILM CHALLENGE! Five teams given the latest SONY tech were given a 60-hour challenge to create a short film based on randomly-assigned topics. Director Paul Martin chose Castello di Amorosa as one of the settings for his short film, “Valentimes Day.”
We had a blast with Paul and his crew filming scenes in the Great Hall and our Torture Chamber! Check out some of our behind-the-scenes photos from their shoot:
Actress Kai getting used to wearing one of our knights’ helmets
Paul showing her how it’s done!
Paul showing his crew around the very latest Sony 4K technology
Actor Cameron Mark Lewis on the rack! Don’t try this at home!!
The next day of filming was on the Napa Valley Wine Train. We tagged along for the ride and got to capture more of the action!
Filming in the Wine Train’s beautiful Gourmet Car
Our 2010 Sangiovese was featured in the film!
You can view the entire short film below:
Thank you again to Paul and team for letting us be a part of your fantastic production!
WEEK TWENTY-SIX WINNER
We've reached our final week of our "Create the Castle" Instagram contest, and we are thrilled with how many fantastic photos we have received from all of our fans! Thank you for sharing your wonderful photos of your times here at the Castello and enjoying our wines with your friends and family at home. Keep on sharing your great shots with us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter by tagging us with #castellodiamorosa; we love sharing them with our fans on social media!
Our Week 26 winner is @jaymessong, who captured the beautiful fall colors around the Castello from our South Tower. Congratulations, and thank you for visiting and sharing such a great photo with us!
Check out our fantastic runners up from this past week! Thank you again for sharing your great photos with us, and cheers from all of us at the Castello! #castellodiamorosa
WEEK TWENTY-FIVE WINNER
We're in the home stretch of our "Create the Castle" Instagram contest! We've received over 8,000 photos tagged with #castellodiamorosa, and we've been loving the creative ways you show how much you love the Castello and our wines! This week's winning photo is from @jed_pilgrim128, who captured the gorgeous clouds above the Castello this past week. Congratulations, and thank you for sharing such a beautiful photo!
We may just have one week left in the contest, but we still can't get enough of your fantsatic photos! Thank you for tagging us at #castellodiamorosa and for sharing your photos on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter! Here are a few more favorites from this past week!
WEEK TWENTY-FOUR WINNER
We had a fantastic time this past weekend at our Pagan Ball, and were thrilled to see so many wonderful costumes! Our "Create the Castle" winner for this week is @alexaolavarria, who shared this great photo collage showing off some of the fantastic costumes at the party! Thank you for sharing such great shots! We hope to see you back at the Castello for next year's Pagan Ball!
Here are a few more of our favorite photos from this past week! Thank you for tagging your fantastic photos with #castellodiamorosa and sharing them on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter!
WEEK TWENTY-THREE WINNER
This week's winning photo is from @dlupynos, who shared this mysterious shot in front of our large format reserve room beneath the Castello. Thank you for sharing such a creative photo, and for tagging us at #castellodiamorosa!
With just three weeks left for our photo contest, we've been receiving so many great photos of your visits to the Castello and how much you're enjoying our wines! This week alone we received roughly 300 photos from you! Keep sharing your great pictures, and tagging us at #castellodiamorosa on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter! Here are a few more of our favorites from this past week:
WEEK TWENTY-TWO WINNER
This week's "Create the Castle" contest winner is @cathybauer0105, who took this beautiful and creative shot of the chandeliers above the Great Hall. Thank you for sharing this wonderful photo, and for tagging us at #castellodiamorosa!
Check out these other fantastic photos from our fans this past week! We love to see the ways you enjoy visits to the Castello and our wines! Keep on sharing your great photos with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!
WEEK TWENTY-ONE WINNER
This week's winning photo comes from @jdmedina, who took this great photo of the Castello. Thank you for sharing such a wonderful photo of the Castello and Primitivo vineyard!
Here are a few more of our favorite fan photos from this past week. Thank you all for sharing your great pictures of the Castello and how you enjoy Castello wines, and for tagging us at #castellodiamorosa on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter!
WEEK TWENTY WINNER
Congratulations to @khaniasjournal, our Week 20 winner of our "Create the Castle" Instagram contest! Thank you for sharing this beautiful photo of your wine tasting with cheese and charcuterie in our Il Passito Room, and for tagging us at #castellodiamorosa!
We've received over 7,000 photos from our guests and fans who have tagged us with #castellodiamorosa on Instagram! Here are a few more favorite photos from this past week:
WEEK NINETEEN WINNER
This week's "Create the Castle" winner is @studiobrooke, who took this beautiful shot of the clouds above the Castello from the South Tower. Thank you for sharing such a wonderful photo, and for tagging us at #castellodiamorosa!
Check out our other fantastic runners-up from this past week! Thank you all for sharing your great photos of the Castello and enjoying your Castello wines with us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter! Keep up the fantastic photography!
WEEK EIGHTEEN WINNER
Congratulations to @raquelfsantos, this week's "Create the Castle" Instagram contest winner! Thank you for sharing such a creative shot in our covered loggia above the courtyard, and for tagging us at #castellodiamorosa!
Check out our fantastic runners up from this past week! Thank you for sharing your wonderful photos of the Castello and our wines, and we're looking forward to seeing even more great photos from you on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook!
WEEK SEVENTEEN WINNER
This week's winner is @williamjsaunders, who took this beautiful photo of our Primitivo vineyard in front of the Castello. Thank you for sharing such a great picture with us on Instagram, and for tagging us at #castellodiamorosa! We can't wait to harvest those grapes!
Check out the other great photos from our fans this past week! Thank you for sharing your pictures of the Castello and our wines on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter!
WEEK SIXTEEN WINNER
Our winning photo this week was taken by @amandamelissa91, who shared this great shot "admiring the architecture" of the Castello. Thank you so much for sharing such a wonderful photo of your visit, and for tagging us at #castellodiamorosa on Instagram!
More great photos from our fans from this past week! Thank you all for sharing your great photos of the Castello and how much you love Castello wines!
WEEK FIFTEEN WINNER
This week's winning photo comes from @rachelloser, who compiled this beautiful collage of panoramic scenes from around the Castello. Thank you for sharing such a great photo, and for tagging us at #castellodiamorosa on Instagram!
Here are a few more of the fantastic photos we received from you this past week! Thank you for sharing such great shots of the Castello and how you enjoy our wines on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter!
WEEK FOURTEEN WINNER
Our "Create the Castle" contest winner for this week is @yurisinata, who shared this wonderfully creative shot of her and her fiance in our tasting room. Thank you so much for sharing such a fantastic photo!
So many wonderful photos keep pouring in from all of our fans! Thank you for sharing your visits to the Castello and how you enjoy our wines at home, and tagging us with #castellodiamorosa! Here are a few more of our favorites from this past week:
WEEK THIRTEEN WINNER
This week's "Create the Castle" winner is @squirrelgirl84, who took this stunning photo of the Castello during her visit this past week. Congratulations, and thank you for sharing such a beautiful photo on Instagram!
We've been getting so many fantastic pictures from all of our fans! Thank you all for sharing your photos of your times at the Castello and enjoying our Castello wines, and for tagging us at #castellodiamorosa. We can't wait to see more of your great pictures! Here are a few more of our favorites from this past week:
WEEK TWELVE WINNER
Congratulations to @maybememories, this week's "Create the Castle" contest winner! She and her boyfriend got engaged at the Castello in our North Tower! Thank you for sharing such a special day with us!
We are loving all of the photos we are receiving from you when you tag us at #castellodiamorosa on Instagram, and share them on Facebook and Twitter! Keep taking great photos of your visits to the Castello and how you enjoy our Castello wines at home or out and about with friends! Here are a few more of our favorites from this past week:
WEEK ELEVEN WINNER
This week's winner is @ccarmona9, who shared this beautiful photo of our sunflowers in front of the South Tower. Thank you so much for posting such a great picture!
Here are a few more of our favorites from this past week. Thank you for taking such wonderful photos of your visits to the Castello and the ways you enjoy your Castello wines, tagging us at #castellodiamorosa, and sharing them on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook!
WEEK TEN WINNER
Congratulations to @ivancng, this week's winner of our Create the Castle contest! Great sillhouette shot from the upper loggia above our courtyard. Thank you for posting such a creative photo and sharing it with us by tagging us at #castellodiamorosa!
Here are a few more fantastic photos from this past week. Thank you all for tagging us and sharing them on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook! We're looking forward to seeing even more great photos next week!
WEEK NINE WINNER
This week's winner is @anacuartero, who posted this great picture of her recent visit to the Castello with her friends. Thank you for sharing such a fun picture, and congratulations!
We had some fantastic photos to choose from this week! Thank you for tagging your photos with #castellodiamorosa on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, and we're looking forward to seeing more of the ways you create the castle! Here are some of our favorites from this past week:
WEEK EIGHT WINNER
Congratulations to @tarapaleg, this week's winner of our "Create the Castle" contest! Thank you for sharing such a cute photo of your visit to the Castello!
We have been receiving so many fantastic pictures from all of you of your visits to the Castello and enjoying our wines! Thank you for tagging us at #castellodiamorosa and sharing your photos on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook! Here are a few more favorites from this past week:
WEEK SEVEN WINNER
This week's winner is @jenifercohn, who shared this creative shot of her glass from her recent visit to the Castello. Thank you so much for posting such great photos, and we hope to see you back at the Castello soon!
Here are a few more of our favorites from this past week (and it was hard to pick just a few!). Thank you to everyone who is sharing photos of your visits and how much you love our Castello wines to Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, and tagging us at #castellodiamorosa! We're looking forward to seeing even more great photos next week!
WEEK SIX WINNER
This week's winner is @shitiatetoday, who took this beautiful photo of our wine and chocolate pairing in our tasting room. Thank you so much for sharing such a great picture with us, and congratulations!
Even more fantastic photos have been coming in daily from you of your visits to the Castello and how you enjoy your Castello wines at home. Thank you all for tagging us at #castellodiamorosa and sharing your photos on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook! Here are a few more of our favorites from this past week:
WEEK FIVE WINNER
Congratulations to @casey_myvice, this week's "Create the Castle" contest winner! Creative and classy shot of you two sitting in the thrones in our Great Hall! Thank you for sharing such a great picture with us!
We received so many great photos from our guests and fans over this past week; thank you all for tagging us at #castellodiamorosa, posting on Instagram, and sharing on Twitter and Facebook! Here are a few more favorites from this past week:
WEEK FOUR WINNER
This week's winning photo comes from @rcees, who shared this great compilation of shots of our 2009 Anderson Valley "Dry" Gewürztraminer. Thank you for posting such a fantastic shot, and we hope you enjoyed your wine! Cheers!
We have already received over 600 photos from you in the first four weeks of our contest! Thank you all for sharing such great photos of how you enjoy the Castello and our wines, and tagging us at #castellodiamorosa. We're looking forward to seeing even more pictures! Here are a few of our favorites from this past week's entries:
WEEK THREE WINNER
This week's winner deserves an extra special congratulations! @trulovee_25 recently got engaged here at the Castello! Beautiful way to capture such a special moment! Thank you for sharing such a memorable day with us!
Here are a few more of our favorite photos from this past week! Keep on sharing your great shots of the Castello, our vineyards, and your favorite ways to enjoy our wines!
WEEK TWO WINNER
We would like to announce this week's "Create the Castle" contest winner: @edwardmetropolitan! Congratulations, and thank you for sharing such a beautiful photo of the Castello!
Here are a few of the fantastic runner-ups from this week! Keep up the great photos, and thank you all for sharing how much you enjoy the Castello and our wonderful wines!
WEEK ONE WINNER
Congratulations to our first "Create the Castle" contest winner: @_mymy1908_! We're so glad you could visit us on Mother's Day! Thank you for sharing your photo with us on Instagram!
Here are a few of the other fantastic photos we've received over the past week. Thank you all for sharing, and we're looking forward to seeing more of the ways that you Create the Castle!
Be sure to look for next week's winners right here, and keep on sharing your great pictures on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter! #castellodiamorosa
During the Harvest season, there are always exciting things going on around the Castello, and today on the Crush Pad was no exception. Today, for the first time at the Castello, our winemaking team reserved a small lot of our Don Thomas Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon for fermentation directly in French Oak Barrels.
Traditionally, the fermentation process takes place in stainless steel tanks, where the must (skins and seeds of the grapes) are cold soaked with the juice before yeast is added. The cap, or layer of skins and seeds that get pushed to the top of the tanks from the activity taking place during fermentation, is broken up by either the punch-down or pump-over method, both of which ensure an even distribution of the color and flavors we wish to impart into our red wines. After five to eight days in these fermentation tanks, the juice is pressed from the skins and seeds and pumped into French Oak barrels for aging in the Castello’s extensive underground cave and cellar system.
Barrel fermentation means that the freshly destemmed grapes and their juices are pumped directly into French Oak barrels whose heads have been removed. Dry ice is added to cool the berries before the barrel heads are secured to seal in the must. The barrels are then laid on a rack that allows them to be rolled back and forth daily to ensure the cap stays moist and the oak is evenly introduced to the fermenting must and juice. Typically, two full barrels of must and juice will amount to one barrel of wine. The process of fermenting the juice in oak barrels helps to impart an added silkiness to the tannins and a rounder, more lush mouthfeel, especially to Bordeaux varietals. This extremely labor-intensive method of fermentation is typically reserved for only the most exclusive of wines, and the highly-acclaimed Cabernet Sauvignon from the Don Thomas Vineyard is an exceptional example of the quality of grapes deserving of such treatment.
The Don Thomas Cabernet Sauvinon clusters are conveyed into the berry sorter/ destemmer as a lucky tour group watches
The new French Oak barrels are filled directly from the destemmer
Our Cellar Supervisor, Chema, overseeing the juice and must being pumped into a special French Oak barrel that has a door in place to make filling and emptying easier
The deconstructed barrel waiting to be resealed with the juice and must inside
Dry ice is added to the must before the barrels are resealed to help cool off the berries
Resealing the barrel heads before they are sent into the cellars to begin the fermentation process
The barrels are stored in a special temperature-controlled room in the Castello's cellars during the fermentation process.