Santa Barbara Vineyard


Jim Sullivan

Jim Sullivan, Vice President of Public Relations and Marketing spearheads Castello di Amorosa’s publicity and marketing initiatives.

With over 20 years of marketing, public relations and business development experience with professional motorsports teams and in a variety of healthcare organizations in Southern California, Jim first joined Castello di Amorosa in 2008 as Public Relations and Marketing Manager.

An avid cyclist, Jim fell in love with wine and wineries while exploring the Washington State countryside. His love of wine was reinforced during subsequent trips to the Napa Valley to visit family.

Jim holds an MBA from the University of Redlands and a Bachelor of Science from Central Washington University. He resides in Calistoga, Calif.

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.