Reserve Wines

Jim Sullivan

May 24th, 2022

Reserve Wines

Have you ever seen the word Reserve or even the term, Napa Valley Reserve on a bottle of wine? The bottle might even display such phrases as, Private Reserve, Special Reserve or Proprietor’s Reserve. In some wine growing regions of the world, like Italy and Spain, for example, where the Italian Reserva and the Spanish Reserva are legally defined and indicate wines are aged longer (could be a combination of oak barrels and bottle) than regular bottlings. In all cases, reserve wines of this distinction are highly sought after and are largely considered collector wines.

While there is no legal definition of a reserve wine in the U.S., generally reserve wine bottlings usually consist of wines considered by the winemaker to be of greater quality that can age gracefully, many years longer than a regular bottling of the same variety.  Usually selected from special wine barrel lots that merit additional aging and, in some cases, complete vineyards or select rows of the vineyard will be designated for the winery’s reserve program. It is common for select vineyards to have certain areas where the growing conditions are slightly better than other sections.  This could be due to the slope of vineyard in that section which allows for better sunlight on the vines or creates better soil drainage. 

Additionally, in vineyards near hillsides, it is common for alluvial soil to accumulate in sections of the vineyard. Alluvial soil is a rich, nutrient-dense composition of gravel, clay and silt that improves the richness in the soil and supports healthy vines and their complex and deep root structure. These types of soils contribute greatly to the diversity of wines produced from vineyards with alluvial soils and results in Napa Valley wines with a softness and elegance. 

In the Napa Valley, a region home to many collectable wines, reserve bottlings consist of wines that are considered by many winemakers to be finer and have greater aging potential than their regular bottling of the same collectable napa wines. The most common wine that garners the distinction of being called a top collectable wine is Cabernet Sauvignon or Cabernet Reserve as it’s coined by many wine connoisseurs.  

At Castello di Amorosa, winemakers Brooks Painter and Peter Velleno have crafted a complete line up of Napa Valley Reserve wines in their Napa in Reserve portfolio. Our portfolio also includes fine wine selections from the Anderson Valley, the Green Valley of the Russian River Valley and Mendocino AVA- some of the top AVA’s in California wine country. 

Click here to see our full collection of reserve wines.

King of Cabernet SauvignonSingle-Vineyard Wines

Rapp Ranch, Coombsville AVA Napa Valley

Rapp Ranch

Bradley Aden

May 23rd, 2022

Run Wild with Our Single Vineyard Cabernet

Rapp Ranch is our single vineyard Cabernet from the Coombsville AVA. The wine is inky purple in color, with an imposing structure that frames a mouthful of savory spices, blackberries, and wild herbs. The tannins are silky and smooth, leading to a remarkable impression of black fruits and lingering flavors on the palate. The wine is expected to age nicely and cellar from 15-25 years.

Located in the heart of the Coombsville AVA, Rapp Ranch has long been established as a premier horse ranch in the rural countryside of southern Napa Valley. The Coombsville AVA is one of the fastest growing Cabernet Sauvignon producers in Napa Valley. Having received its AVA designation in 2011, Coombsville is set to be Napa Valley’s next great Cabernet Sauvignon appellation. The defining characteristics of Coombsville, are the long, cool growing seasons that reward patient winemakers with intensely concentrated and complex wines.

Located just east of the city of Napa, the appellation varies from sea level all the way up to 1,900 feet on the Vaca Mountain Range. The cooling effects of the nearby San Pablo bay provide daily fog, which causes more constant temperatures. This allows us to have a long, slow ripening period as our vines bud early and our grapes are typically among the last to be harvested. Coombsville itself is a bowl-shaped depression, cradled by a crescent-shaped section of the Vacas Mountain Range.

Rapp Ranch in The Coombsville AVA

Long established as a premier horse ranch in the rural countryside of southern Napa Valley. The history of Rapp Ranch is rich in horses. Originally known as the premier breeding & training grounds for quarter horses in the Napa Valley, became world renown throughout the 1980s and 1990s. Utilizing a variety of barns, riding arenas and outdoor spaces, Rapp Ranch produced some of the top award winning international competitors. Continuing on to present day, the name Rapp Ranch has became synonymous with outstanding quality.

The property eventually sold to a businessman who removed some of the horse facilities and planted 12 of the 25 acres of ultra premium Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. When the opportunity presented itself, the Alkossers purchased the property in February 2016. Thoroughly enchanted by the beauty and significance of this place, they saw the potential in combining the history of the horse ranch, the premium vineyards and the state-of- the-art winery into the ultimate destination for wine connoisseurs and adventuring travelers.

When the opportunity presented itself, we were thrilled about partnering long-term with Rapp Ranch. Our winemakers Brooks Painter & Peter Velleno are proud to carry on the tradition of ultra premium Cabernet Sauvignon. We look forward to producing incredible vintages of Rapp Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon for years to come.

Past Awards & Accolades

Explore our past awards and accolades for our Rapp Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon.

♦ 93 Points – James Suckling

“Amorosa’s Rapp Ranch cabernet bottling has a very suave, cedary nose with regal, dark-berry aromas, typical of cabernet, as well as hints of fresh leather. The palate is so succulent and juicy with very fresh and attractively detailed tannins carrying good length. Fresh finish. Drink or hold.”

♦ 95 Points – James Suckling

“A very deep and intense wine with a gorgeous core of ripe fruit and velvety tannins and a beautiful finish. Full-bodied and flavorful. Energetic finish. Reserved. Better in 2020.”

​♦ 93+ Points – Lisa Perrotti-Brown, The Wine Advocate

“Deep purple-black in color, the 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Rapp Ranch displays subtle black raspberries, black and red cherries and black currants with hints of wild thyme, damp soil and tree bark. Medium to full-bodied, firmly textured with plenty of youthful, crunchy fruit, it has a pleasantly chewy finish.”


Rutherford Vineyard AVA

Manley Vineyards

Bradley Aden

September 9th, 2020

Rutherford Vineyard AVA

Manley Vineyards – The Newest Castello Addition

On the corner of Manley Lane & Highway 29 in Rutherford is Castello’s newest estate vineyard located in the Rutherford AVA. Home of unique terrior and home to some of the Napa Valley’s most historic and world-reknown wines. Manley Vineyards is part of the Rutherford AVA and is known for its exceptional Cabernet Sauvignon wine. The vineyard gives us a chance to continue our tradition of producing fine Napa Valley Cabernet’s.

The vineyard is 3 acres and is entirely Cabernet Sauvignon. Two acres were planted in 2000, the remaining acre was added in 2009. The human touch with this vineyard starts with David Bejar, who lovingly cares for the vines throughout the year.

Cabernet Sauvignon

Manley Estate Vineyards – Rutherford AVA

The Rutherford AVA is an American Viticulatural Area located within Napa Valley AVA and centered on the town of Rutherford, California. The area is known for it’s unique terroir particularly with it’s Cabernet Sauvignon. The well-drained soil of this area is composition of gravel, loam and sand with volcanic deposits and marine sediments from the Franciscan Assemblage. The appellation accounts for only 6,650 acres.

Rutherford is an appellation within the appellation, which has a diversity of soils, exposure, and orientation that is as complex as Napa Valley. The alluvial soil fans that deliver into Rutherford from the east and west. What most people don’t understand about Rutherford dust is that it represents a later ripening site in the heart of the valley, which slows the ripening down to add finesse and complexity to the wines. Historical records show that a portion of the vineyard was actually planted in 1895 by Mrs. Thomas Rutherford herself

Rutherford Dust

“The Rutherford Dust”

The legend of Rutherford dust starts with the regions superior soil makeup. The lighter dirt on the valley floor helped differentiate it from the other Napa Valley AVA’s. Thus giving the region the term “Rutherford Dust”, now the name is used around the world by winedrinkers alike. In Rutherford, the deeper soils and microclimates create longer growing seasons and ‘hang time’ that seem to round out the tannins in a soft, dusty style. The lighter soil dust gives the Rutherford region a special flavor profile that differentiates it from other Napa Valley regions. This gives wines from the area a powdery ‘fine dusty tannin’ effect with hints of plump cocoa powder.

Rutherford Cabernet

Cabernet Country

Director of Winemaking Brooks Painter noted “The quality of the Cabernet Sauvignon fruit from the Manley Lane Vineyard is astounding. It is deep, rich and full of intense flavors that can only come from valley floor Cabernet. We can’t wait to share the wine made from this vineyard in the very near future. Cheers to Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon!”

Rutherford Dust Cabernet Sauvignon
Rutherford Cabernet


Best California Chardonnay

The Fifty Best - California Chardonnay

Jim Sullivan

June 24th, 2020

Best California Chardonnay

From the Napa Valley to New York. Castello di Amorosa’s Reserve Chardonnay won a gold medal in the Fifty Best professional wine tasting in New York. Twenty-three premium wine contenders were evaluated for the distinguished “Best California Chardonnay” awards for 2020.

Using professional criteria, the pre-qualified panel of judges blind-tasted the chardonnays and rated them individually on a 1 to 5-point scoring system with 5 being the highest. After tallying the scores, medals were awarded based on the judges’ impressions.

Chardonnay is the most widely planted white grape variety, globally. The grape originated in a small village of Chardonnay in France and is now grown throughout the world. Castello’s Reserve Chardonnay is grown in the cool-climate Los Carneros AVA of the Napa Valley.

The wine judges had the following observation of our award-winning Reserve Chardonnay:

Following fermentation, this 100% Chardonnay was aged in 100% new Burgundian French oak barrels for 12 months prior to bottling. Aroma: Green apple, rambutan, lemon peel, minerality, subtle malo, slight oak, buttery. Palate: Bountiful lemon, lemon peel, apple, pear, melon, mango, peach, great tropical fruit, floral, cedar box, balanced oak, buttery, buttered popcorn, creamy, vanilla, smooth, crisp, classic California chardonnay. Finish: Ripe lemon, lime, mango, papaya, oak, vanilla, creamy, soft, balanced.

The complete results, along with tasting notes, can be viewed here:

https://www.thefiftybest.com/wine/best_california_chardonnay/

TheFiftyBest.com is a digital guide to wines & spirits, featuring rated listings resulting from proprietary blind tastings as judged by wine/spirits journalists, sommeliers, wine/spirit retailers, mixologists, wine consultants and connoisseurs. The Fifty Best achieves the highest standards of spirits evaluations by adhering to strict tasting rules and rigorous methodology.



Best of Show Gewurztraminer

2020 American Fine Wine Competition!

Bradley Aden

February 14th, 2020

2020 American Fine Wine Competition

We received 9 gold medals at The American Wine Competition. We were the only winery to receive 2 Best of Class Wines. AFWC is “Invitation-only” and includes only wines that received an invitation. The panel of 32 judges include a somm, a wine-trained chef, a wine writer, and an educator, with no producers or distributors to avoid biases. Judges in the AFWC circulate to encourage positive, consistent and careful evaluations.

Best of Show: 2018 Gewurztraminer, Anderson Valley

Winemaker Brooks Painter noted “The grapes for this wine were grown in the Anderson Valley, Mendocino County. We pick after the grapes have developed a pink to reddish hue, and the aromas are effuse with rose petals, cinnamon spice and exotic lychee fruit. We handle the fruit very carefully, avoiding as much as possible some of the more bitter tannins found in the skins. It is cold fermented in stainless steel and bottled in the spring. Gewürztraminer is a grape I am familiar with, as it was one of the first white grapes I made into wine when I started in the wine business 38 years ago. It is delightful with strong cheeses, spicy Asian dishes and sauced white meats.”

Mary Davidek, who runs our highly acclaimed Royal Food & Wine Pairing Tour at the Castello, recommends pairing spicy dishes such as Thai or Indian cuisine with Gewurztraminer, to complement the sweet & spicy elements of the wine.

Best of Class: 2014 Il Barone, Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

Robert Parker of The Wine Advocate scored the 2014, 94 Points. Parker Noted “The 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Il Barone is also impressively endowed with plenty of crème de cassis, blueberry, blackberry fruit, a dense purple color, full-bodied mouthfeel, sweet tannin and a long finish. The wine has more fruit and less minerality than the Butala Vineyard and doesn’t quite show the graphite character, but it is a beautiful Cabernet Sauvignon to drink over the next 15-20 years. Drink 2016 – 2036.”

Mary Davidek, who runs our highly acclaimed Royal Food & Wine Pairing Tour at the Castello, recommends grilled red meats, wild game, and flavorful cheeses to compliment the excellent 2014 vintage.

All awards from the 2020 American Fine Wine Competition

Castello di Amorosa also received a number of Gold and Double Gold Medals, along with two Best of Class medals for our 2015 Il Barone, Cabernet Sauvignon & 2018 Dry Gewürztraminer. We also received Best of Show White Wine Winner in 2018 Dry Gewürztraminer. Check out the complete list of award winners:

We are always proud of our amazing winemaking team, and look forward to sharing our award-winning wines with you!



2020 SF Chronicle Wine Competition!

Julie Ann Kodmur

January 16th, 2020

2020 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition

There’s a gold rush happening! We received eight gold medals at The San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition. These are terrific results, considering there was a field of 6,700 entries!

Please join us in congratulating winemakers Brooks Painter and Peter Velleno and vineyard manager David Bejar for their hard work.

We will be pouring these wines at the Chronicle’s Tasting at Ft. Mason Center in San Francisco on February 15 from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. Come find us there! Tickets can be purchased at https://winejudging.com/public-tasting/.

Best of Class: 2018 Gewurztraminer, Anderson Valley

Acclaimed wine critic, Mike Dunne offered this tasting note of this wine: “For the third straight year, Castello di Amorosa dominated this class of Gewurztraminer with a release out of the Anderson Valley. If the 2018 talked up the varietal with any more rose petals in aroma, grapefruit, lychee and peach in flavor and spice in the finish it would likely break the seam of the bottle.”

Winemaker Brooks Painter noted “The grapes for this wine were grown in the Anderson Valley, Mendocino County. We pick after the grapes have developed a pink to reddish hue, and the aromas are effuse with rose petals, cinnamon spice and exotic lychee fruit. We handle the fruit very carefully, avoiding as much as possible some of the more bitter tannins found in the skins. It is cold fermented in stainless steel and bottled in the spring. Gewürztraminer is a grape I am familiar with, as it was one of the first white grapes I made into wine when I started in the wine business 38 years ago. It is delightful with strong cheeses, spicy Asian dishes and sauced white meats.”

Mary Davidek, who runs our highly acclaimed Royal Food & Wine Pairing Tour at the Castello, recommends pairing spicy dishes such as Thai or Indian cuisine with Gewurztraminer, to complement the sweet & spicy elements of the wine.

All awards from the 2020 SF Chronicle Wine Competition

Castello di Amorosa also received a number of Gold and Double Gold Medals, along with a fifth consecutive Best of Class medal for our 2018 Dry Gewürztraminer. Check out the complete list of award winners:

We are so proud of our fantastic winemaking team, and look forward to sharing all of our award-winning wines with you!