Thursday, September 9, 2010

My (brief) Italian Romance

I might have chanced upon the ultimate romantic hotspot by the bay. It ain’t an exotic restaurant or a sizzling nightclub or an island in the pacific but a majestic castle on a vineyard tucked away in Napa Valley that’s eminent for producing some of the world’s finest wines. It’s not called the seductive land that is both cosmopolitan and quaint for nothing.

As I drove past several dozen gorgeous wineries a few weeks back that savor the bounty of this vinous enclave, I hit upon metal studded enormous gates of this castle that seemed to beckon me. Castello di Amorosa. The name alone has a magical ring to it and the place has the power to transport you in a blink into the Tuscany landscapes and regardless of the company, make you fall in love. You may not buy this but in the unbearably bright sun, I even saw a rainbow. Told ya, love.

Over five unique and evocative red wine tastings accompanied by some seriously delectable breadsticks and tinted cheese that looked like art, I learnt an awful lot about wines from my very chatty server. The winery primarily produced Italian style wines. All the juicy red grapes which can pass for blueberries, albeit longer, are grown in the valley around the Castle. Vineyards are typically on hillsides since hillside quality is usually far superior to valley floor grapes. Oh and those grapes are all hand-farmed. If you happen to ask them how they set themselves apart from others, you might hear “with delicious, classically structured, intensely flavored, well-balanced and elegant wines”. Who knew they were all adjectives for expensive drinks. Swirl, sniff, sip, repeat.

Winery tours are a must do but not the kinds that chauffer you around in a stretch limo serving sparkling liquids inside. Those are no fun. I mean the real deal where you get down and dirty. The ones where you can follow the course of the grape from the vineyard through the cellar to the finished product and learn about the many aromas and the basic components of a balanced wine. As a bonus, you might just spot a few owls and hawks who ‘work’ in official capacity as predators so your wine doesn’t smell of rodent poisons.

Now only if I got to attend a fashion show or a live auction full of ridiculous treasures or some equally outlandish event in this marvelous setting wearing a designer hat, it’d be amazing. Or perhaps I’ll get to photograph an over the top Indian destination wedding at this locale. Imagine the grandeur of jellewery and exquisite costumes against the backdrop of a royal castle and home grown wines to go with every dish. I may finally learn what wines compliment Indian cuisine. Dionysus, are you listening? Wait, is Bacchus the god of wine? I forget.

I bet you knew that drinking wine does give you superpowers; the superpowers to live healthier and longer. Cheers.

No comments: