Castillo de Feliciana 2008 pinot grigio

Another WAwineman classic, 1st posted on December 20, 2009:

Give it up to Tampa Bay today. I volunteered to blow off 7 hours of my Sunday to go prepare and watch our beloved local Seahawks try to mash up the 1-12 Buccaneers in NFL football. There’s nothing like Football Sunday in an NFL stadium in America! There’s also nothing quite like the feeling of losing to a one-win team this late in the season, and at home. The Seahawks are just plain awful now and it’s all about the trenches…the linemen…the hogs.

With that, I must ninja-fy myself and get even with Tampa Bay through my odd news segment. Well, the first obvious one is simple…the Bucs! 2-12 now. Two wins. Well, you Bucs fans will be crying next spring because we Seahawks just kicked you off the top slot for the draft. It belongs to our intra-divisional St. Louis Lambs now. Seattle’s smart enough to know that if they can’t make the playoffs, they will chunk the rest of their games to improve their draft position. That was certainly on display today. What else? Back in July, a Tampa Bay surgeon unlawfully kept a bullet he removed from a fugitive. Was he trying to pull a “Jeff Nelson”? That’s the two-time ex-Mariners pitcher who tried to sell his bone chips on eBay. Tampa Bay also had a rhesus monkey wandering the neighborhoods that was known to throw its feces when upset. Is that another misnomer for Tampa Bay’s drunk men…”rhesus monkey”? The Tampa Bay local papers are quite odd indeed…no wine columnist for either the The Tampa Tribune or The Tampa Times. They have to get their wine recommendations from twin-city St. Petersburg Times. Tampa Bay…lucky football team, but easily mistaken for a township in Orygun.

Tonight’s winery is a biased choice. I can’t help it…they follow me on Twitter, so I consciously made the decision to shag their wine when I first saw a bottle all doll’d up at World of Wines in Redmond. The owners, Dr. Sam DDS (and still practicing) and Deborah Castillo, are actually longtime Duvallites that up-and-moved to Walla Walla to pursue their dream of running a winery. Also on board is a former Duvall resident in their winemaker, Ryan Raber, the A+ student who graduated from Walla Walla C.C. in Enology and Viticulture. Talk about less than six degrees of separation…I used to work in Duvall not too long ago, a bedroom community of 5,000+ to Redmond, so I kinda have a feel for the mentality of a Duvallite. The winery’s first release party was actually at The Wine Shoppe in Redmond Ridge earlier this year and their “castillo” was finally completed last month. Feliciana is Deb’s aunty and is fondly remembered from Deb’s kiddie days. Ryan is the former winemaker for Tertulia Cellars and, through his connections, the wines of Castillo de Feliciana are currently produced and bottled there. Of trivial note, the winery is acutally located in Milton-Freewater…Oregon, but still within the Walla Walla Valley AVA borders. What makes me happy is that, with their southern Spanish lineage, they are expected to release Spanish varietals, tempranillo and albarino, in the very near future!

Tonight’s pairing was basic pork cutlet! I could have chosen a sauvignon blanc or even an old chardonnay, but pinot grigio has been absent the longest so the decision was easy. This grigio actually most closely resembles a northeastern Italian pinot grigio (Veneto, Friuli), at least in color, hence the name preferred over typical Northwest pinot gris. Pinot grigio should be consumed within a year of bottling, as it’s all about the fruit, so the longer one stores it, the faster it “dies” on the palate in transforming into a bitter mess. There are three notable styles of pinot grigio (or pinot gris…same thing): Italian pinot grigio, Alsatian pinot gris and Oregon pinot gris. Different colors, different profiles. But, that’s what makes wines so fascinating to drink and analyze!

Color: clean, bright straw. Nose: grapefruit, lemon blossom, hint of peach and apricot. Mouthfeel: cool, dusty fluffy. Tail trail: 3 seconds. Flavors: slight acidic bite of citrus, green apple tart, peachberry, grapefruit pie, melon.

Yakima Valley AVA. Airport Ranch Vineyard. Alcohol: 13.8%. Rated: 87. Value: $11. Paid: $16. This is WAwineman…uncorked, uneducated but not uncouth.

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