Sorry it took so long to get part 3 written!! I had another trip or two in between and time just got away from me, as usual. Anyways, I did so much during my mini Napa Getaway that it did, in my opinion, require three parts. So thank you for sticking it out, if you’ve read all three, and here is your final installation!
Our second full day in Napa, we had no time constraints and no real plans. There should always be a day like that during any vacation, right? Ideas and options abound here. I settled on two ideas for the morning – either the castle (Castello di Amorosa) vineyard or Sterling Vineyards (which has a gondola). I asked our concierge and she said they were both cool, but maybe the castle was a little more exciting. So we went with that!! I’ve been to some of the old castles all around Europe (a long time ago, way before blogging was a thing) and really enjoyed exploring them, so this option definitely appealed to me. I was concerned it might be a little cheesy. Glad I didn’t need to be concerned!
Castello di Amorosa is about a 30 minute ride north of downtown Napa, a few miles north of where I usually stay in St. Helena, in the town of Calistoga. It doesn’t disappoint when you pull up to it.
The proprietor of Castello di Amorosa, Dario Sattui (also has the V. Sattui vineyard where I have visited plenty), wanted to build an authentic Tuscan castle in Napa.
So he did! How cool is that? Hand-carved stone, many levels (even several underground), and sweeping views of the beautiful landscape take you back in time for sure!
For $30, you get a self-tour through most of the castle (some areas are only for the more expensive guided tour) and a nice wine tasting of their seasonal offering. This was good for us. We tooled around the castle for a bit and enjoyed it thoroughly!
Once we had explored enough to work up a taste for some wine, we entered the tasting room, a nice cool cave with a medieval vibe.
I was pretty impressed with the wines too. I didn’t have high expectations since it was a popular tourist spot and had a lot of eye candy with the cool castle-ness all around, but the wines were really enjoyable.
We spent a couple hours here, and if you’ve got time to spare when you’re out here, it was a fun spot to spend some of it!
We spent a couple minutes before we left talking to the grapes…
We worked up a little appetite after “storming the castle” and found a fabulous spot for a bite on Main Street in St. Helena. Cook Tavern and Pizzeria.
This was soooo perfect to fill our bellies before heading to another winery and the brick over pizza was delicious!
Damn I love pizza. It was so good!! I highly recommend this for a lunch stop between wineries! Our next stop was Markham, my other wine club out here in Napa. They’ve got solid, reliable, and decent priced reds that I love. It is great being a wine club member out here – tastings are free and you can taste all you want! I learned after the last time I was out here to NOT indulge in that if you want to actually enjoy the wines!
We sampled a lot of wines while we were here and finished with my favorite of Markham’s, the Philanthropist, a classic Cabernet Sauvignon.
Markham has a complete opposite decor inside from the castle. It’s very contemporary and has a lot of modern artwork to gaze upon as you sip.
We also peaked in the barrel room, which was being set up for a private event.
Though my time in Napa was short, it was nothing less than a perfect getaway. I had one evening in San Francisco and did a little walkabout there down by the water.
Said “hi” to the sea lions at Pier 39…
Thought about Sean Connery in “The Rock” as I peered across the bay at Alcatraz…
Ate some delicious freshly baked sourdough bread along Fisherman’s Wharf by Boudin…
And after I had explored enough, I jumped on a cable car back up to my hotel!
See ya next time, California!! Love you!!