Reserve Chardonnay honored at SF Chronicle Wine Competition

January 2019, Calistoga, Napa Valley —- Castello di Amorosa’s 2017 Reserve Chardonnay was named the White Sweepstakes Winner in the Chardonnay $47-and-up category in the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, in results announced by Competition Chairman Cary Fraser on January 14. The wine has a Napa Valley appellation and sells for $58.00 at the winery in Calistoga or online. The wine was made by Director of Winemaking Brooks Painter and Winemaker Peter Velleno; only 1,341 cases were produced.

The Castello di Amorosa 2017 Reserve Chardonnay was one of 9 wines which were awarded sweepstakes medals. Over 6,800 wines were submitted in the Competition and there was a field of 2,500 white wines; 60% of those wines were Chardonnay.  The Castello di Amorosa wine won in its price category, then won a taste-off of all Chardonnays of all price points and finally, triumphed in the field of all other winning white wine contenders.

“Congratulations to Castello di Amorosa for winning the prestigious White Sweepstakes with its 2017 Reserve Chardonnay,” said Bob Fraser, Executive Director, San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.

“Along with the Red Sweepstakes, the White Sweepstakes is very difficult to attain for a winery because it is competing against over 2,500 other outstanding white wines from a multitude of viticultural areas in North America. What is even more remarkable is that this marks the fourth time Castello di Amorosa has won the coveted San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition Sweepstakes award. In the past the winery won the White Sweepstakes in 2017 for its 2015 Anderson Valley Gewurztraminer and won in consecutive years (2012-2013) for its Dessert Sweepstakes Anderson Valley Late Harvest Gewurztraminer. This illustrates a pursuit of excellence for the winemaking team at Castello di Amorosa,” Fraser added.

The public will have a chance to taste the award winning wines at The San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition’s Public Tasting on February 16 from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. at Fort Mason Center’s Festival Pavilion in San Francisco. Click here for tickets and additional information.

“This is a round and balanced full-bodied Napa Valley Chardonnay with lush notes of baked apple, ripe pear, fall spices and toasted almond,” says Director of Winemaking Brooks Painter. “The wine is 100% Chardonnay, sourced from two vineyards in the cooler southern end of Napa Valley and harvested between August 17 and September 13, 2017. It was fermented and aged sur lie in 100% new Burgundian oak barrels, with 75% of the wine undergoing malolactic fermentation,” he added.

“The 2017 wine quality shows a lot of bright acidity and fresh varietal aromas in the white wines, deep color and sweet fruit flavors,” explains Winemaker Peter Velleno. “The 2017 vintage overall has shown high quality with a lot of bright acidity and fresh varietal aromas in our white wines, and we think our Reserve Chardonnay is an excellent example of this exceptional growing season in Napa Valley,” he continued.

One of Castello di Amorosa’s popular visit options is the Royal Food & Wine Pairing Tour, conducted by Mary Davidek. She recommends a Fettuccine Alfredo or an Ahi Salad with Ponzu with the Reserve Chardonnay.

The San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition is the largest wine competition in North America. Founded in 1983 as the modestly sized Cloverdale Citrus Fair Wine Competition, the SFCWC has expanded tremendously over the years, gaining title sponsorship from the San Francisco Chronicle in 2000. Now celebrating the 19th anniversary of the competition, the SFCWC is considered the barometer of how consumers select and measure their wine.

Wines for the Competition were submitted from all over the United States, Canada and Mexico, with 65 wine industry professionals serving as judges over the week-long competition period.


One of Napa Valley’s landmark destinations, Castello di Amorosa was a labor of love for founder Dario Sattui. The winery celebrated its 10th anniversary in April 2017. Castello di Amorosa incorporates five defensive towers with battlements, a Great Hall with a coffered ceiling featuring hand-painted frescoes and a 500 year-old fireplace, a chapel, drawbridge, dungeon, watch tower, torture chamber and secret passageways. Using medieval construction techniques, the Castello was built with antique bricks, roof tiles, hand-hewn timbers and doors, hand-forged iron gates, lamps and hardware imported from Europe, as well as over 8,000 tons of hand-chiseled local stone. The Castello’s limited production wines are available exclusively at the winery.


Located at 4045 Saint Helena Highway in Calistoga (94515), Castello di Amorosa is open seven days a week and offers a variety of wine tasting and winery tour options. Reservations—for guided tours only—are recommended. Castello di Amorosa sells its entire production of wine exclusively at the winery.


One of the winery’s most lavish events of the year, The Royal Hearts Dinner, will take place on February 15. Click here for more information.


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