Déjà vu!

Last weekend, I got to check out Castello Di Amorosa in Calistoga, CA. It’s an authentic castle built by the owner of V. Sattui Winery, Dario Sattui. Well, I have to say that after spending a month in the French countryside and traipsing around the chateaux in the Loire Valley, I was more than a bit skeptical. My initial thoughts before visiting were “this is some tourist attraction” that’s going to leave me feeling soiled and disappointed after visits to “Epcot” or “Venice & Paris” in Vegas (no offense to any of those places, it’s just that they are no substitution for the real thing)

Well, upon arriving at Castello Di Amorosa and pulling into the parking area, I got my first déjà vu feeling. You see it reminded me of entering the courtyard (now also used for parking) of Chateau de Chaumont. Surprising (in a good way though), hmmm, maybe this place has a little bit of promise.

After parking and getting out of the car, I looked at the exquisite stone and iron work which immediately gave me that “I’m home again” feeling except that there was something a little different, not bad, just different. I took a few seconds to realize what it was, (1) I was in the Napa Valley of a hot day (101 degrees), and (2) the stone, wood and ironwork was what I expected, but not yet weathered as much yet. Kind of like the chateaux would look and feel like within the first 10 years of being built. Now I realized, that within a few minutes of getting out of the car, not only was I convinced of the “authenticity” of the structure but that it was going to be an opportunity to have an enriched experience in a real-life working chateau. How lucky am I?

Just after entering the courtyard, there’s a “little” cask room to the right with casks of wine and Madeira. Looking out of the room, I loved the light and stonework. This image shows the immaculate detail of both the stone and woodwork. BTW, the wine press through the doorway is authentic; Dario found it in Europe and brought it back for display here.

Exposure: 3.0 sec at f/11, ISO 100 – smc Pentax-DA 14mm F2.8 ED[IF] at 14mm

california napa calistoga castle chateau villa amorosa sattui dario castle castello authentic winery photo pictures wall art

Well, remember that Dario is a winemaker and also owns V. Sattui, my favorite winery in the Napa Valley (now I have another favorite!), so this castle is not just an authentic pretty face; it is a working winery too. The tour started out in the chapel, yes, the chapel. Every chateau has its own chapel (you don’t expect the royalty to worship with the masses do you?). And yes it is very real, mass is held here each Sunday morning.

Exposure: 5.0 sec at f/11, ISO 100 – smc Pentax-DA 14mm F2.8 ED[IF] at 14mm

california napa calistoga castle chateau villa amorosa sattui dario castle castello authentic winery photo pictures wall art

The experience got better and better as my tour went on. This is the format dining room:

Exposure: 5.0 sec at f/11, ISO 100 – smc Pentax-DA 14mm F2.8 ED[IF] at 14mm

california napa calistoga castle chateau villa amorosa sattui dario castle castello authentic winery photo pictures wall art

I figure that I should probably share some outside shots too, so here are a couple of outside shots:

Exposure: 1/125 sec at f/11, ISO 100 – smc Pentax-DA 14mm F2.8 ED[IF] at 14mm

california napa calistoga castle chateau villa amorosa sattui dario castle castello authentic winery photo pictures wall art

Exposure: 1/160 sec at f/11, ISO 100 – smc Pentax-DA 14mm F2.8 ED[IF] at 14mm

california napa calistoga castle chateau villa amorosa sattui dario castle castello authentic winery photo pictures wall art

Well, I got many shots that I’m very happy with and still don’t feel that I had enough time to get all of the shots that I want. So, I will close this post with one of my favorites from the day. Please check out the gallery for more of my favorites here, or a slideshow here. This was one of the hallways that I passed by and simply could not stop and capture the beautiful light.

Exposure: 1/13 sec at f/11, ISO 100 – smc Pentax-DA 14mm F2.8 ED[IF] at 14mm

california napa calistoga castle chateau villa amorosa sattui dario castle castello authentic winery photo pictures wall art

This is a lovely location for photography. The wines are lovely and the attention to detail is truly impressive. If you are in the Napa Valley, I always recommend a tasting and picnic at V. Sattui. Now, I would recommend heading a few more miles up the road to Castello Di Amorosa for an afternoon tour after your picnic, especially if you would appreciate visiting an authentic European castle (aka French Chateau) right here in our own Napa Valley.

Jonathon
Blog: https://jljfoto.wordpress.com
Site: http://jljfoto.com
Fine Art Site: http://fineartamerica.com/profiles/jlj-photography.html

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4 thoughts on “Déjà vu!

  1. Looks like a great place to photograph… And that it’s a fun time. Thanks for idea to share w/ frank some weekend. Ttys:) nice shots btw

  2. You certainly got lucky in your discovery and in your awesome photos. I like the light from the doorways and hallways. Very nice!

  3. Thank you all! I’m trying to get out and shoot in between work (which takes precedence these days) so I’m not getting a chance to post as much. It means a lot to me to see your posts, comments and support. Thank you!

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