Tasting Wine at a Truly Over-the-Top Castle in Calistoga, California
Move over, Francis: For sheer grandiosity, nothing—not even Niebaum-Coppola beats Castello di Amorosa, a replica of a 12th-century southern European castle. Built entirely by hand over the course of 14 years, every detail is perfect, from the stunning secco-fresco murals painted by imported Italian artisans, to the Roman-style, cross-vault brickwork of the catacombs. There’s even a torture chamber with actual period equipment, including an impaler and an iron maiden. Owner Daryl Sattui sketched an Italian castle so extensively that he was thrown off the grounds, and as the story goes, he raised a fist and said, "I’ll show you! I’m gonna build this in America!" Such a New World thing to say, but he actually did it. The only modern details are plumbing and fire sprinklers. Tours and tastings cost $25, a worthy investment.