May 192014
Castello di Amorosa Gewurztraminer 2012Castello di Amorosa Gewurztraminer 2012. Anderson Valley, CA, $25 (S) – Rating 91

Think of pairing with grilled scallops, sushi, spicy Thai and even lemon peppered chicken. This “Dry” Gewurztraminer has just a kiss of sweetness that rounds out the flavor profile. Aromas of Meyer lemon, honeysuckle, graham cracker and floral notes. A round and slightly viscous mouth-feel with soft acidity. Flavors of pear, Meyer lemon, tropicals, minerality and spice with honeycomb on the finish. Buy This Wine


May 192014
Castello di Amorosa Chardonnay 2011Castello di Amorosa Chardonnay 2011, Napa Valley, CA, $28 (S) – Rating 90

For those who enjoy traditional California Chardonnay with oaky creaminess in the right proportions, this Chardonnay delivers. A nose of red apples and baking spice with hints of pie crust. Balanced acidity with a soft mouth-feel give way to flavors of red apple, pear and spice with subtle notes of toasty vanilla and caramel. Buy This Wine


Feb 272014
2009 Castello di Amorosa La Castellana Red Wine, Napa Valley, CA, $88 (S) – Rating 91

A Super-Tuscan blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot and 15% Sangiovese. Give this baby 30 minutes to an hour in a decanter to reach it’s masculine greatness. A rich bouquet of dark cherry, raspberry and dark spice. A full mouth-feel with balanced tannins and moderate acidity. Flavors of black cherry, blackberry, red fruit, toasty vanilla, spice and new oak. A long rich finish with hints of cafe mocha. Buy this Wine

Apr 162013
2009 Castello di Amorosa Napa Valley Sangiovese, Napa Valley, CA, $30 (S) – Rating 89

The rustic nose of cherry, leather and briar brings back thoughts of the amazing Castello di Amorosa itself. A blend of 90% estate Sangiovese and 10% Merlot. Medium-bodied with plenty of juicy acidity and firm tannins. Flavors of red cherry, dark spice and raspberry with hints of chocolate on the finish. Be patient…It takes a while for this Sangio to fully open. Buy This Wine

Oct 122012

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to lead a group of long-time friends on a one day tour of Napa Valley wineries. I wanted to share examples of the many wine experiences Napa has to offer, but in just one day. It was a tall order with so many wine-derful choices. Here’s the strategy.

Napa wineries can be put in many categories, so these are the ones I chose. Old and unpretentious Napa, cutting-edge winemaking Napa, multi-generational winemaking Napa, and money is no object for my dream winery Napa. For good measure I tossed in lunch at one of Napa Valley’s top restaurants and a harvest party with an experienced winemaker with a new project. It was a lot for one day. This group may be grey, even so we were up to the wine-stained task.

Our day started in San Francisco on a clear crisp Friday morning. Knowing we’d be drinking sampling a lot of great wine, we employed a driver. Tom Cilluffo of Napa Valley Limousine Services arrived about 20 minutes before our scheduled 8am hotel pick-up in a brand new SUV, perfect for the five of us. We rode across the Golden Gate Bridge and through the Sonoma Carneros wine growing region before hitting Napa. Tom, born and raised in Napa Valley, had a lot to offer about the history and people of Napa and Sonoma. The day was off to a great start.

Our Cru at Smith-Madrone (Stu & Charlie have the beards)

Our Cru at Smith-Madrone
(Stu & Charlie have the beards)

Our first stop was a step back to 1970’s Napa at Smith-Madrone Winery after a narrow and winding yet picturesque drive up Spring Mountain. Napa Valley was not always the glitz and glamour statement it is today and Smith-Madrone is 1970’s Napa all the way. Nothing fancy, in fact the entire winemaking facility is housed in an old red barn. Stu and Charlie Smith founded the winery in 1971 on what is now a 200 acre vineyard/ranch, high above the valley floor. Curly, the winery spaniel, was the first to greet us. Then as we approached the barn door Charlie Smith, in his trimmed Santa Claus beard, stepped out and guided us to the crushpad showing off the pregnant vineyards, only yards away. Continue reading »