Once in awhile, you happen to come across a wine that you continue to ponder, long after the last sip. Castillo de Feliciana Winery Tempranillo - 2012, with grapes sourced from the Rosebud Vineyard at the Wahluke Slope, was that wine for me.
The estate of Castillo de Feliciana is located in the heart of the Walla Walla Valley AVA, encompassing 66 acres just south of Walla Walla near the state line at Oregon. It is an exceptionally beautiful property, where 6.5 acres of the estate property are planted in wine grapes. Not only do they use their own estate grapes, but source grapes from other areas such as the Wahluke Slope AVA which is located north of the Columbia Basin in Washington State. Their emphasis is Spanish-style wines such as Tempranillo.
Let's cut to the chase, the last time I tasted a Tempranillo that I swooned about was an earlier 2000 Campo Viejo Rioja Grand Reserva. In fact, I believe in that sitting of discovering the Campo Viejo, we killed almost two bottles of it between the two of us. It was exceptional.
Last week I was sitting at one of my favorite lounges in Walla Walla, as we were celebrating a birthday. I started my evening sipping on Champagne, but kept noticing the table tent in front of me advertising the Castillo de Feliciana Rosebud Tempranillo - 2012. My table decided it was time to order something to nosh on and we ordered the shaved prime rib sliders on a toasted brioche, with horseradish cream and a side of au jus. I love food and wine pairings and knew that this wine, advertised in front of me, was going to be the answer. It was.
The winery's tasting notes state that their Tempranillo is reminiscent of wines from the famous Rioja region in Spain. Indeed! This was an elegant wine for sipping, as well as a wine that would pair up well with beef. Castillo de Feliciana's Tempranillo is dark and almost inky. The nose was a bit of dried fruit and smoke, with a waft of vanilla. It was a luscious mouthful with soft, yet structured tannins. Big in flavors with notes of dark Bing cherries, juicy blackberries, plums, and chocolate-covered raisins. A hint of vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg in the finish. A very smooth and elegant wine - - and a memorable wine. "Swoon-worthy!"
I would consider pairing this wine with other beef dishes, grilled vegetables and portobello mushrooms, and just noshes of dark olives, figs, and salty Manchego cheese. Salud!