Thursday, September 6, 2007

King of the Castle

That's right folks, a castle in Napa Valley. Not only that, a twenty-first century castle made of thirteenth century materials imported from Europe. Oh, and on top of that, it's over 120,000 square feet. Wait, there's more! An acre and a half of it is underground. A man's dream or a man's ego? A question worth exploring...

V. Sattui is a a great rags to riches story from the Napa Valley. This man has made his millions with his retail only vineyard that sits on HWY 29 just before you enter St. Helena. It's famous for picnicking, weddings and gorgeous views of the valley floor and surrounding hillsides. This place is constantly packed. Cars overflow from the parking lot and park along the highway and stretch limos pull in by the dozens. It's been the go-to spot since 1985. Not bad. Chaaa-Chiiing.

Over the last 10 years, Sattui has shifted his focus to his bold new addition to the valley, Castello di Amorosa. Once again, my pictures do no justice here. If you would like to see better shots, click here.

When you pull up to the castle, there is no landscaping. Zero. On top of that, the castle is surrounded by young vines. I think this castle will be a sight to truly see in the years to come when both the construction and the land mold and age together. Everything was just a little too fresh and new. However, it was beautiful and it had incredible views of the valley and nearby vineyards (or competitors in his mind). Our tour guide told us that Sattui made sure that his castle was built higher than Sterling Vineyard on the opposing mountain for bragging rights. He also made sure he had the most square footage in the valley. He's in 1st place and the Culinary Institute of America is now in 2nd. Our tour guide also made references to Aaaarrrrrnnnold (as in Schwarzenegger...), the 49er football team and more celebs that have graced the grounds. He spoke of Sattui himself as if he were a Greek God and the whole time I wondered when the tasting would start...

Egos and dreams aside, Castello di Amorosa is worth the visit. But, make sure to make a reservation. The King likes to know who he will be expecting.


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