Mike Morisoli

Explore Morisoli-Borges

Bradley Aden

August 11th, 2023

Explore Morisoli-Borges Vineyard in Napa Valley’s Rutherford Bench

Nestled at the heart of Napa Valley’s renowned “Rutherford Bench,” the Morisoli Family vineyard stands as a living testament to four generations of unwavering dedication to crafting exceptional Cabernet Sauvignon. Originating in the early 1900s, the Morisoli legacy took root in the western expanse of Rutherford, where their grape cultivation journey began. Today, under the sustainable stewardship of the fourth generation, this vineyard seamlessly blends “old” and “young” Cabernet Sauvignon blocks, each nurtured with meticulous care. The resulting wine eloquently captures the celebrated “dust” character intrinsic to Rutherford, enfolding the palate with its tender, velvety tannins.

Since 1900

The Morisoli Family’s grape-growing journey, dating back to 1900, continues into the present with Mike Morisoli. In 1971, Mike Morisoli’s parents purchased this very vineyard, located on the west side of Highway 29, and just south of Niebaum Lane, continuing the family’s tradition of winemaking excellence. The vineyard transitioned primarily to Cabernet Sauvignon in the late 1980s, with a subsequent smaller redevelopment in 2006.

The Legendary Rutherford Dust

Positioned deep within the Napa Valley, the Rutherford Bench emerges as a distinctive American Viticultural Area. Its heart lies in the small town of Rutherford, California, renowned for its picturesque views and quiet small town charm. Its well-drained soil, a blend of gravel, loam, and sand enriched by volcanic deposits and marine sediments, is a canvas for viticultural artistry. In a modest expanse spanning 6,650 acres, this appellation weaves its magic.

The Rutherford region offers a complexity mirroring Napa Valley’s own intricate tapestry. A sanctuary for late-ripening grapes, nestled in the valley’s core. This deliberate pace imparts finesse and intricate layers to the wines. Amplified by deeper soils and diverse microclimates, it stretches growing seasons and nurturing “hang time,” resulting in tannins with a velvety, ethereal character. The wines from these soils embody a delicate dance of “fine dusty tannins,” accompanied by hints of plush cocoa powder. The Rutherford AVA encapsulates more than geography; an unfolding experience in every sip.

Mike Morisoli and The Next Generation of The Morisoli Family

“Rutherford dust” is a term for the fine, dusty tannins found in wines from Rutherford AVA, Napa Valley. These tannins enhance texture, mouthfeel, and aging potential, attributed to the region’s soil, climate, and grape conditions giving them a recognizable quality. The concept gained prominence as winemakers and wine enthusiasts began to notice a consistent thread of these fine tannins in wines produced in the region.

The Rutherford Dust Society, founded in 1994, promotes Rutherford’s unique wines. It highlights the “Rutherford dust” concept and fosters a community of local winemakers, organizing events, tastings, and educational programs. This society preserves winemaking heritage and contributes to the reputation as a premier wine-producing area within Napa Valley. The primary goal of the society is to raise awareness about the distinct attributes of Rutherford wines, particularly Cabernet Sauvignon, and to foster a sense of community among the wine producers in the area.

Mike Morisoli with Winemaker Brooks Painter & Castello President Georg Salzner

Limited Production

At Castello di Amorosa we strive to create the highest quality Cabernet possible, we are only able to do this with the finest Grapes available. Mike Morisoli’s Rutherford vineyard fits that profile, with a long history of producing great Cabernet grapes. This single-vineyard site is a beautiful expression of Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. As a proud representation of Rutherford’s unique terroir, this limited-edition 2017 Morisoli-Borges Cabernet, with its luscious notes of blueberries, blackberry jam, cassis, and graphite, stands as a true expression of Napa Valley’s winemaking prowess and is destined to age gracefully for more than two decades. The wine expresses the Rutherford appellation’s famous “dust” character, with its unique soft, silky tannins. Expected to easily age 20+ years.

Past Awards & Accolades

Explore our past awards and accolades for our Morisoli-Borges Cabernet Sauvignon.

95+ Points – Jeb Dunnuck

“The 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Morisoli-Borges from the Rutherford region of the valley is a beautiful 2018 that does everything right. Lots of spiced currants, mulled plums, cedarwood, loamy earth, and dried tobacco give way to a medium to full-bodied, concentrated, spicy, complex wine that needs 3-4 years of bottle age.”

95 Points – Antonio Galloni

“The 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Morisoli-Borges Vineyard offers a striking expression of Rutherford. Beautifully layered and ample, the Morisoli-Borges is a stunner right out of the gate. Inky dark fruit, chocolate, licorice, cloves, espresso and lavender all build in a resonant, super-expressive Cabernet that delivers the goods, and then some.”

93 Points – James Suckling

“Black and blue berries, mushrooms, earthy notes and chocolate as well. It is full-bodied with firm tannins and an ample, flavorful and long finish. I liked the slightly herbal undertone at the end. Try after 2023.”

97 Points – Jeb Dunnuck

“Sourced all from the famed “Rutherford-Bench” section of the valley and all Cabernet, the 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Morisoli-Borges Vineyard sports a saturated purple hue as well as loads of spice, crushed violets, leafy herbs, chocolate, and cedar all supported by beautiful blueberry and wild strawberry fruits. Plush and sexy on the palate, with full-bodied richness and more opulence and decadence than most in the vintage, it hits all the right spots and is a beautifully balanced, sexy 2017 to enjoy over the coming 20-25 years or more.”

93 Points – James Suckling

“Attractive aromas of fresh fruit with a ripe array of redcurrants and raspberries, as well as blackcurrant and violet notes. The palate has a sleek, juicy and fleshy feel with plenty of ripe, rich fruit and a smooth-honed, long and plush texture. Drink or hold.”

96 Points – Jeb Dunnuck

“The 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Morisoli-Borges Vineyard is cut from the same cloth with its flowery blue and black fruits, complex tobacco, cedary spice, and herbal notes, medium to full body, and sweet, yet certainly present tannins. It shines for its sheer purity of fruit and balance and is another pure class release from this team. It will keep for 3 decades. Drink 2019 – 2049.”

94+ Points – Lisa Perrotti-Brown, The Wine Advocate

“Made of 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, the deep purple-black colored 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Morisoli-Borges gives up scents of warm blackberries, crushed red and black cherries and black currants with hints of cigar box, tilled soil and mossy bark. Full-bodied with a solid, muscular mid-palate of pure black and red fruits, it has a firm line of grainy tannins and an invigorating lift on the long finish. Drink 2019 – 2035.”

93 Points – James Suckling

“A rich and layered red with currant and blackberry character. Full body, round and caressing tannins and a flavorful finish. Pure Cabernet Sauvignon. Drink or hold.”

93 Points – Lisa Perrotti-Brown, The Wine Advocate

“The deep garnet-purple colored 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Morisoli Borges is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon and offers spicy aromas of cedar chest, blackberries and blueberry compote with notes of licorice and fragrant earth. Full-bodied and concentrated in the rich, spicy mouth, it has firm, chewy tannins and finishes long and a bit oaky.”

92 Points – James Suckling

“Intense aromas of blackberries, tar, blueberries and mint, following through to a full body. Round and silky tannins and a flavorful finish. Fruit-forward but still fresh. Drink or hold.”

♦ 98 Points – Jeb Dunnuck

“The 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Morisoli-Borges Vineyard comes from a site located in Rutherford, on the valley floor. It too is inky colored and offers a sensational bouquet of crème de cassis, blueberries, graphite/lead pencil shavings, tons of crushed rocks and hints of violets. Layered, gorgeously pure, concentrated and always elegant and silky, with no sense of heaviness, enjoy this blockbuster anytime over the coming 3-4 decades. (Expected Maturity: 2018–2058)”

♦ 96 Points – Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate

“Coming from the valley floor, the 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Morisoli-Borges Vineyard hails from the tenderloin of the so-called bench area. It shows gorgeous fruit, loads of blueberry, blackberry and cassis notes, licorice and incense followed by an opulent, voluptuously textured, super-sexy style with oodles of glycerin, fruit and extract. This is a stunner and irresistible already. Moreover, it should age nicely for another 15 or more years.

♦ 91 Points – Antonio Galloni, Vinous Media

“The 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Morisoli-Borges Vineyard is one of the more powerful wines in the range. It also comes across as a bit compact at this stage and in need of further cellaring, although it is likely to always remain a bit on the linear side of things.”

♦ 94 Points – Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate

“The 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Morisoli-Borges Vineyard, which comes from the Rutherford sector of Napa, shows beautiful blueberry and blackberry fruit, camphor and incense, a full-bodied, nicely textured mouthfeel, sweet velvety tannins and a long finish. This is a beauty, and a wine that can be drunk now or cellared for another 20 years.”

♦ 92 Points – Virginie Boone, Wine Enthusiast Magazine

“Compost aromas open this vineyard-designated wine, a full-bodied, densely concentrated exploration of juicy black licorice, coconut, and dust. Soft and lengthy, it develops slowly in the glass, providing a vibrant showcase for the site.”

​♦ 91 Points – James Suckling

“Lots of ripe and unctuous fruit showing a light raisin and spice character. Full body, soft tannins and a juicy finish. This is ripe and smooth. Drink or hold.”

♦ 93 Points – Antonio Galloni, Vinous Media

“A big, explosive wine, the 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Morisoli Borges hits the palate with a rush of dark red and blue fruits, smoke, incense, violets, lavender, orange peel and spices. The firm tannins are going to need time to settle down, so readers should not be in a rush. This is without question the most complex and pedigreed of Castello di Amorosa’s Cabernet Sauvignons. Anticipated maturity: 2017-2027.”

♦ 93-95 Points – Antonio Galloni, Vinous Media (Barrel Sample)

“The 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Morisoli-Borges Vineyard is flat-out stunning. Rich, opulent and full-bodied, yet backed up by an imposing sense of structure, the 2012 possesses gorgeous depth and pure power. Mocha, plums, licorice, tobacco, graphite and ash all jump from the glass in an opulent, broad-shouldered wine loaded with class and pedigree. This hugely promising Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the best wines I have tasted from Castello di Amorosa.”

♦ 90-92 Points – Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate (Barrel Sample)

“A barrel sample of the dense ruby/purple-tinged, full-bodied 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Morisoli Borges revealed lots of character as well as copious notes of blueberries, blackcurrants, black cherries, licorice, underbrush and spice. It should turn out to be an outstanding effort to enjoy during its first 10-15 years of life.”

♦ 92 Points – James Suckling

“A soft and silky red with plum, currants, and spice. Fully body and firm tannins that buttress the fruit. Delicious and fruity. Drink now.”

​♦ 91 Points – Virginie Boone, Wine Enthusiast Magazine

“From decades’ old vines in the heart of the appellation, this wine conveys dusty milk chocolate and baked plum. It’s 100% varietal, aged almost two years in 60-gallon French oak barrels. Softly layered, and full bodied, it’s approachable now, linear in its acidity.”

♦ 91 Points – Wine & Spirits Magazine

“From a vineyard on the western benchlands of Rutherford, this is a voluminous Napa Valley cabernet with bright fruit ripeness that feels refreshing. What richness it delivers is clean and toned, focused by hints of lemon verbena and cherry skin. This should age with grace.”

♦ 90 Points – Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate

“The estate’s 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon Morisoli-Borges is a soft, supple wine that will drink beautifully over the next few years. Sweet black cherries, plums, herbs and licorice are some of the notes that take shape in this soft, caressing Cabernet Sauvignon. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2016.”

♦ 90 Points – Antonio Galloni

“The estate’s 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon Morisoli-Borges is a soft, supple wine that will drink beautifully over the next few years. Sweet black cherries, plums, herbs and licorice are some of the notes that take shape in this soft, caressing Cabernet Sauvignon. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2016.”



Disney's The Quest

Disney's The Quest

Bradley Aden

May 10th, 2022

Disney’s The Quest – Filmed on Location!

We are excited to announce the premiere of Disney’s The Quest on May 11th, the show features a competition series that was filmed here at Castello di Amorosa from December 2020 to March 2021. The Quest will premiere on their streaming service Disney+. This high paced show features a bevy of challenges, mazes and puzzles throughout the Castle. This will be the second season of The Quest.

Brought to the screen by the Academy Award- and Emmy-winning teams behind “The Amazing Race” and “The Lord of the Rings”. This ground-breaking, immersive, hybrid competition series drops eight real-life teenagers into the fantastic, fictional world of Everealm, where they must save a Kingdom by fulfilling an ancient prophecy. Everealm has long been a land of unrivaled beauty and powerful magic. Now, the realm is threatened by a powerful evil Sorceress. These eight teenage strangers known as the Paladins, must face a series of challenges in order to restore balance to Everealm. Throughout the eight-episode series, these heroes are immersed in a fantasy world come to life complete with a castle, royals, ethereal Fates, all forms of mystical creatures and a Sorceress intent on destruction and power.

Producer Rob Eric, said, “The Quest is a truly unique unscripted show as it takes contestants into a fully immersive world of magic and fantasy. There is no better partner than Disney+ for this type of enchanted storytelling.”

Executive producers Jane Fleming and Mark Ordesky commented “We’re doing something magical that has never been done at this level. We’re taking real people and putting them in a fully realized fantasy story, conceived and built by incredible artisans in every department. It’s an immersive, real-life hero’s journey for these eight normal teenagers, who transform before your very eyes. It’s an exciting new form of storytelling.”

Pack your bags (and swords), we’re headed to Everealm. Embark on a world of fantasy in #TheQuest, an Original series, streaming May 11 only on #DisneyPlus. For more updates, subscribe to Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, and National Geographic.

Filming took place throughout the Castle rooms and spaces. There was also extensive filming done in the forests surrounding Castello di Amorosa. Be sure to tag us #TheCastello in your social media posts! We are pleased we could contribute our Medieval setting to the creative magic at Disney. Thank you to everyone that was involved with making this amazing project a reality. Make sure to stream Season 2 of The Quest on Wednesday May 11th!

The Quest


15th Anniversary

Bradley Aden

April 20th, 2022

Our 15th Anniversary!

Our 15th Anniversary is here! We are pleased to announce our 15th anniversary here at Castello di Amorosa. To our loyal Amici del Barone Wine members and those of you that enjoy our wines as a part of your celebrations, we offer our sincere thanks for your support throughout the years. Many of you know that Castello di Amorosa was a 30-year labor of love; a culmination of my life’s dream to build an authentically styled Tuscan castle in the Napa Valley where I could make outstanding Italian-style wine.

“I am extremely pleased with the Castello’s contributions to the world of wine and wine tourism. I set out attempting to create an extraordinary winery and today it is extremely rewarding to see so many customers enjoying the Castello and our wines,” Sattui is a committed philanthropist who has supported numerous causes in the Napa Valley and beyond—from endowing a new school and Boys & Girls Club in Calistoga, funding heart research to donating land to the Land Trust in Sonoma County.

Castello di Amorosa has been recognized as one of the most visited wineries in the world. Among its many honors, it was chosen as The Best Tasting Room in America by USA Today in 2020 and in March of this year it was identified as the most Instagrammed winery in the world, according to research by TheThinkingTraveller travel company.

Dario Sattui Standing in Front of Castle

Other accolades include being recognized as one of “Napa’s Most Beautiful Wine Tasting Rooms” by Food & Wine Magazine, as “Best Wine Tasting Room” by North Bay Bohemian, as “Best Place to take visitors” by KVON Radio, as one of the “Top 5 Romantic Spots in the Napa Valley” and as one of “Ten Most Intriguing Architectural Wineries in Napa” by Napa Valley Life Magazine, in addition to receiving several Certificates of Excellence from Trip Advisor.

The Castello suffered an enormous setback in October of 2020, when a detached building of the Castle was destroyed by the Glass Fire: Sattui and his team are bent on restoring it just the way it was. Estimated completion of the restored wing is late 2023.

Castello di Amorosa View From Upper Tower

Castello di Amorosa used materials such as antique, handmade bricks and roof tiles, hand-hewn timbers, hand-forged iron gates, lamps and hardware and medieval construction techniques and over 8,000 tons of hand-chiseled local stone to create this architectural gem. Sattui designed most of the winery himself; it is not a replica of a medieval castle but rather a uniquely conceived one-of-a-kind building. The 150,000 square-foot castle / winery consists of four floors above ground and five floors below ground. It encompasses five defensive towers with battlements, 1,000-pound hand-hewn doors from Italy, a Great Hall with a 22-foot coffered ceiling featuring hand-painted frescoes inspired by medieval Italian frescoes. The castle’s 12,000 square foot Grand Barrel Room features 40 Roman cross-vaults in its brick ceiling. All of the ironwork was hand-forged by Italian artisans over open flames on site during the construction. Over 170 containers of handmade antique bricks, roof tiles and antique furniture were brought from Italy for the building. Additional authentic features include multiple courtyards, a chapel, the drawbridge, a watch tower, a torture chamber and secret passageways.

The winery itself is a modern contrast to the Castello as a whole. It contains advanced crushing and fermentation facilities, five underground levels and 24,000 square feet of caves all for barrel aging. Winemakers Brooks Painter and Peter Velleno have a wide range of equipment available to them, ranging from custom-designed triple-jacketed cooling fermentation tanks to concrete/ceramic eggs. Read more below about the construction of the Castle.

Dario Sattui Bottle Signing

In 1993, I purchased the spectacular property upon which I built Castello di Amorosa. It sat on a hundred-seventy beautiful acres of forest and hills with a stream, a lake, one of the first houses built in Napa County and a great Victorian home where I chose to live. It was my dream property, culminating a search of many years. The purchase also came with a great building permit for a large winery building which had taken the previous owner thirteen years to obtain.

My initial intent was to build an 8,500 square-foot building without cellars. (Gradually it morphed into 121,000 square feet with 107 rooms with four separate levels underground and four levels above!) After more than 15 years of research, I was ready to build my castle in the Napa Valley.

I had accumulated a wealth of knowledge on medieval architecture, a huge library of books, photos, plans and detailed sketches. I couldn’t wait to get started. The renovation of my historic Victorian at the bottom of the hill on the same property would have to wait. I was going to build my castle first.

Celebrating Our 15 Year Anniversary

Within a short time of acquiring property on which I would build, Lars Nimskov, the naval architect from Denmark, came from Italy and we began working on plans which were submitted and approved by Napa County a year later.

Castello di Amorosa appears to be an authentic castle for one reason only: it is an authentic castle, though fancified. We either used construction methods and materials that would have been used 1,000 years ago, or we used very old hand-made materials that had survived up to modern times. A fireplace predating Christopher Columbus adorns the Great Hall, and Iron Maiden from the late Renaissance dominates the torture chamber. A wrought iron dragon from the times of Napoleon hovers over the massive main door. More than 8,000 tons of stone were chiseled, not sawed, by hand to be absolutely authentic. Nearly 200 containers of old, hand made materials were shipped from Europe to lend authenticity.

Dario Sattui Castle Construction

Finally, we were able to open on April 7, 2007. I had no idea if the project would be well-received or not. Would I be laughed at or would people respond positively? The first few days after opening gave me hope. The response to both the Castle and our wines was overwhelmingly positive.

When we opened the doors fifteen years ago, I wondered how my castle would be received, as it was so unorthodox a concept. Today we have a collection of superb estate vineyards and highly acclaimed wines. Just recently our Morisoli-Borges Cabernet Sauvignon received 98 points from Jeb Dunnuck and our single-vineyard Melanson Cabernet Sauvignon received 97 points from The Wine Advocate. Our wonderful guests respect and enjoy the fact that our wines are only available at the winery or can be shipped directly to your home or business.

Thanks to you, my dreams have come true. Both the Castello and the wines have received great reviews. I encourage everyone to come visit and celebrate our 15th year in business. Thank you again for your continued support. We invite you to come visit and help celebrate our 15th Anniversary in the Napa Valley.

♦ Solar Grid Installed

We invested $1.4 million in a 450-kilowatt solar power array.

♦ Disney Films The Quest

During Covid-19 The Quest was filmed on location at Castello di Amorosa.

♦ Manley Estate Vineyard Acquired

Located in the Rutherford AVA of Napa Valley, we hope to get our first Manley Estate vintage in 2025.

♦ Castello Closed for 1st Time

Covid 19 & The Glass Fire forced us to close the Castello for the first time.

♦ Named Best Tasting Room in America

Voted Best Tasting Room in America by USA Today’s 10 Best.

♦ The Castle Hosts Festival Napa Valley

Breathtaking performances in iconic wine country, are paired with Napa Valley’s unparalleled food, wine and hospitality. Festival Napa Valley offers programs that uplift and inspire, and attract artists and audiences from around the world. The annual July celebration raised $2.6 million, a new record.

♦ We Celebrated Our 10th Anniversary

In 2017 we celebrated our 10th year in business.

♦ Highest Scoring Wine to Date

Our 2017 Melanson was scored 98 by Wine Enthusiast Magazine.

♦ Our Popular Butala Estate Club Established

2016 was the year we purchased Butala vineyard from Letterman star headman Tony Butala. Our estate club of the same name was established the same year.

Brooks Painter Named Winemaker of The Year

Our head winemaker Brooks Painter was named head winemaker of the year in 2014 by The American Fine Wine Competition.

♦ 1st Vintage of our Acclaimed Cabernet Sinalunga

2012 marked the first year that we made our ultra premium Cabernet Sauvignon Sinalunga, inspired by the abandoned Castles from the Sinalunga countryside.

♦ Pixar Movie Brave Premier at The Castle

The event saw a total of 2,400 people attend a screening of Brave.

♦ Named Best Restroom in America

Winners of the 10th annual Best Restroom in America contest.

♦ Grape Juice Program Starts

We wanted to do something special and offer something to the non-alcohol drinkers & children that come visit Castello di Amorosa each and every year.

♦ Bachelor TV Show is Filmed

The popular television show The Bachelor was filmed at the Castle in 2008.

♦ Our Beloved Goat Giacomo Rescued

“This is dense and intense with a beautiful velvety texture and ripe fruit, but it remains fresh and clean. Full body. Textured finish. Better in 2016.”

♦ Pagan Ball & Masquerade Ball

We started two beloved events at the Castle.

♦ Bedtime Stories Movie is Filmed

“SBedtime Stories was filmed at the Castello in 2008 staring Adam Sandler.

♦ The Castello Opens

Construction is completed and we have our first paying customers.

History Part IHistory Part IIHistory Part III


Santa Barbara Vineyard

Chardonnay

Jim Sullivan

April 20th, 2022

Taste The Best of The Best: Napa’s Most Popular Chardonnays!

Chardonnay is very popular and remains one of the top white wines of all time. This fashionable varietal grows particularly well in California and is one of the most widely planted varietals in the world. The wine has great character with an inviting balance of fruit, acidity, and texture often described as creamy or buttery — some associate the taste with tropical fruit, apples, ripe figs, or sweet melon. Some of the best buttery Chardonnay is produced in California.

Long considered “the winemaker’s wine”, the style can range from crisp, lively tank-fermented wines, which see little or very little time in oak barrels, to rich, complex oak-aged wines that need several years of bottle age to fully display their uniqueness. The general trend is to produce a more restrained dry chardonnay, with less oak and less butter yet still elegant and complimentary to food, but some consumers are still in search of that sweet Chardonnay.

Winemakers Brooks Painter and Peter Velleno skillfully craft Castello di Amorosa’s most popular chardonnays from renowned vineyard sites such as Henry Ranch, and Bien Nacido Vineyard. The 111-acre Henry Ranch Vineyard is in the Los Carneros appellation, with a small portion in the Mt. Veeder appellation of the Napa Valley. The vineyard is influenced by cool breezes from San Pablo Bay and daytime heat on the hills and valleys, making ideal growing conditions for chardonnay grapes. From this vineyard, Castello di Amorosa produces the Napa Valley Reserve Chardonnay and the Napa Valley Chardonnay. Both wines reflect their Napa Valley terroir. Each are round, full-bodied with a gentle touch from the French oak wine barrels where they undergo a secondary malolactic fermentation. You will experience lush notes of baked apple, ripe pear, fall spices and toasted almond.

The Bien Nacido Vineyard Chardonnay and La Rocca Bien Nacido Vineyard grapes are sourced in Santa Barbara County from the Santa Maria Valley appellation. The Bien Nacido terroir is a combination of Elder and Chamise shaly loams with Pleasanton sandy loam, and diverse soils of limestone, shale and uplifted marine volcanics. The Bien Nacido Vineyard Chardonnay is a classic California-style Chardonnay with creamy aromas of baked meyer lemon, butterscotch and grilled pineapple leading to enticing flavors of baked apple and hints of toast, with bright acidity, a balanced mouthfeel and a round, opulent finish. The La Rocca Chardonnay offers refreshing aromas of tropical fruits and honeysuckle compliment this unique single vineyard Chardonnay’s bright acidity and citrus notes on the palate. Aged 10 months sur lie in a concrete fermentation egg brings about a subtle minerality and soft, lingering finish.

Our partners at Bien Nacido Vineyards, which is widely considered one of the top Chardonnay vineyards in California, work the vineyard daily, allowing the cool-climate chardonnay vineyard with something to say, to find its voice through mindful, dedicated and nearly obsessive commitment to excellence in farming.



Late Harvest

Highest Scoring Sweet Wine Ever

Bradley Aden

March 17th, 2022

For The Love of Late Harvest!

We want to take the time & celebrate our highest scoring sweet wine in Castle History, our 2019 Late Harvest Gewürztraminer. Hailing from our Boonville Ranch Vineyard, this wine was awarded a 95 Point, Cellar Selection by Wine Enthusiast Magazine.

Please join us in congratulating our entire winemaking team, including head winemakers Brooks Painter & Peter Velleno for their hard work. Special thanks to our vineyard manager David Bejar who oversees Castello properties year-round.

95 Point – Cellar Selection, Wine Enthusiast Magazine

“Dripping with honey, apricot and poached pear flavors, this luscious and extremely sweet wine coats the palate and lingers for minutes on the finish. It’s a delicious, low-alcohol indulgence that is made from late-harvest grapes shriveled on the vine. Best through 2030. Cellar Selection”

Late Harvest Wine Notes

Tasting Notes: A succulent and deliciously spicy white wine loaded with aroma and flavor, made in a “Noble Rot” dessert, or very sweet, style. Deep straw in color, the wine displays hints of peach, apricot and toffee with a undertone of honey.
Late Harvest Notes: Typically harvested at nearly 32 Brix or more with residual sugar levels close to 13%, this succulent dessert wine is a perennial favorite. A regal dessert wine made from overripe grapes which develop Botrytis cincerea, or “Noble Rot”, shriveling the skins and enhancing sugar, acid and flavor intensity. The resulting harvest in late autumn is vastly diminished in yield, resulting in more concentration and flavor. Made in the style of some of the world’s greatest dessert wines, such as Sauternes and the “dried grape” white wines of Sicily such as “Passito di Pantelleria”.
Food Pairing: Ideal with after dinner desserts of chocolate torte, crème brulee or baked fruit with an artisanal cheese selection.
Past Awards:
2013 Vintage – 92 Points “Editor’s Choice” Wine Enthusiast Jim Gordon
2014 Vintage – SF Chronicle Wine Competition Best of Class
2015 Vintage – SF Chronicle Wine Competition Best of Class
2017 Vintage – 93 pts American Fine Wine Competition
2018 Vintage – SF Chronicle Gold Medal

Boonville Ranch, Anderson Valley

This Castello Estate vineyard is located just south of the town Boonville in Anderson Valley, a coastal valley region famed for Burgundian and Alsatian varieties. This 34 acre ranch was planted in the late 1990’s with Pinot Noir, Pinot Grigio, Gewürztraminer, and Riesling. We pick Gewürztraminer 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 the bitter tannins as much as possible.

Gewürztraminer hails from the Anderson Valley, which straddles Sonoma and Mendocino Counties. The area is breathtaking and remains quite rural. As one follows the Navarro River, it is not uncommon to spot red-tail hawks, an occasional osprey, or even, if you are lucky, a Golden Eagle. The corridor to the coast (Highway 128) and the picturesque town of Mendocino, perched on a 300-foot cliff overlooking the Pacific, are being discovered and becoming increasingly popular with tourists. Cool climate-loving grapes thrive here because of the lay of the land and strong coastal influence; it has been referred to as ‘California’s Alsace.’ Castello di Amorosa’s estate vineyard lies just to the east of Boonville. Approaching the ocean, the region becomes cooler as one moves westward. West of Boonville is a great Champagne country, but the entire area is also ideal for Riesling and Gewürztraminer.

This white wine is fruity and refreshing yet provides complexity and is appropriate as an aperitif as well as an excellent partner with aggressively flavored or spicy foods like Indian and Asian cuisines with curry or ginger. In America, we often think of Gewürztraminer in the fall when we serve spicy aromatic dishes enhanced with nutmeg, cinnamon, and clove. From our Anderson Valley estate, our winemakers concentrate on making three distinct styles of Gewürztraminer. Ranging from near dry to a sweeter desert style.



Winemaker

2022 SF Chronicle Wine Competition!

Bradley Aden

February 2nd, 2022

2022 SF Chronicle Wine Competition – Gold Medal Wines

2022 was a great year for our wine, as we received 9 Gold Medals at the 2022 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition. We were also awarded Best of Class award for our 2019 Chardonnay Reserve. For a taste of our featured double gold medal wines, shop our Award Winning Wine Pack and experience these winning bottles for yourself!

Please join us in congratulating our entire winemaking team, including head winemakers Brooks Painter & Peter Velleno for their hard work. Special thanks to our vineyard manager David Bejar who oversees Castello properties year-round.

Awards from the 2022 SF Chronicle Wine Competition

There were over forty-eight judges, representing various North American wine regions, evaluating 5,816 wines from nearly 1,000 wineries for the 2022 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.

Bob Fraser, SFCWC executive director, says, “The response from the wineries of North America at our 2022 competition was outstanding. Sweepstakes awards hail from California, Washington and Georgia.

We had a number of wines win Gold and Double Gold Medals, along with a Best of Class medal for our 2020 Reserve Chardonnay. Check out the complete list of award winners:

SF Chronicle Best of Class: 2019 Reserve Chardonnay, Napa Valley

SF Chronicle Wine Judge Mike Dunne, longtime SFCWC wine judge and the former food editor, wine columnist, and restaurant critic noted “Castello di Amorosa 2019 Napa Valley Reserve Chardonnay: Of course any Chardonnay that comes from a castle should be seen as being kingly and queenly, which this is in its golden luminescence, regal carriage, vivid citric fruit and ticklish spiciness. Castello di Amorosa is part of the same royal family that includes V. Sattui Winery, which also won best-of-class for a lighter but nonethess correct interpretation of Chardonnay.”



Napa Valley Award Winning Wine

2021 Wine Competitions!

Bradley Aden

August 10th, 2021

2021 Wine Competitions: Gold Medal Wines

2021 was a great year for our wine, as we received 15 Gold Medals between the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition & The American Fine Wine Competition. We were also awarded 3 Best of Class awards between the two competitions. For a taste of our featured double gold medal wines, shop our 2021 Award Winning Wine Pack and experience these winning bottles for yourself!

Please join us in congratulating our entire winemaking team, including head winemakers Brooks Painter & Peter Velleno for their hard work. Special thanks to our vineyard manager David Bejar who oversees Castello properties year-round.

Awards from the 2021 SF Chronicle Wine Competition

The 2021 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition invited 50 judges representing winemaking, wine education, trade, hospitality, culinary, media, and other wine/food sectors to judge over 5,700 wines from over 1,000 North American wineries in early March, 2021. Over the past two decades, the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition (SFCWC) has grown to become one of the world’s most respected and highly publicized wine competitions.

We had a number of wines win Gold and Double Gold Medals, along with two Best of Class medals for our 2017 Spumante, Rosé & our 2018 Pinot Noir, Terra de Promissio. Check out the complete list of award winners:

SF Chronicle Best of Class: 2017 Spumante Rosé

Winemaker Brooks Painter noted “Spumante del Castello is a classic Méthode Champenoise sparkling wine, is sure to elevate any occasion to something truly memorable. This elegant Brut Rosé boasts a light shade of coral pink, with refreshing flavors of raspberry, citrus, and melon. It will be sure to impress at your next celebration!”

SF Chronicle Best of Class: 2018 Pinot Noir, Terra de Promissio

Winemaker Brooks Painter noted “An elegant and refined single vineyard Pinot Noir from the famed Petaluma Gap region of Sonoma County, revealing an expressive bouquet of cherry and spiced Christmas berries with subtle hints of cola and black tea. A sleek Pinot Noir boasting both lush texture and vibrant acidity.”

Mary Davidek, who runs our highly acclaimed Royal Food & Wine Pairing Tour at the Castello notes that “Terra de Promissio is evocative of the best of Sonoma fruit with the finesse of Willamette Valley and the classic earthiness of Burgundy which we all aspire to.”

Awards from the 2021 American Fine Wine Competition

This year marked the 14th anniversary of the competition, which took place on Memorial Day weekend this year.

More than 550 wines from 125 wineries vied for top honors at this invitation only event. The Judging was conducted by a 28-member blue ribbon panel from across the wine industry, included educators, restaurateurs, retailers, journalists, and top sommeliers from across the country.

We received a number of Gold and Double Gold Medals in this competition as well, along with a Best of Class medal for our 2020 Vermentino. Check out the complete list of award winners:

AFWC Best of Class: 2020 Vermentino

Jacqueline Coleman is a published wine + travel writer, wine judge, & consultant. She is the monthly “Vino” columnist for Biscayne Times newspaper, and a regular contributor to Winetraveler.com. Her new podcast, “Wine Uncorked,” is out on all major podcast sites and the Podmany app. An International Sommelier Guild (ISG), U.S. Sommelier Association, and FIU Institute for Hospitality and Tourism Wine Program. She said: “This Vermentino stood out among all the other white single varietals.  Floral, sweet fruit and honeysuckle. It personified what a Vermentino should be.”

Patrick Sullivan, a wine journalist, consultant, and educator, is the Wine & Spirits editor for DINE Magazine in Florida. He said: “This Vermentino, a rarity in California, displays beautiful minerality and near perfect balance between its classic citric acidity and generous fruit!”



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, “Best California Chardonnay” 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 of the best chardonnays in California, 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!