A few years ago while wandering around Walla Walla looking for a taco truck on Telephone Pole Road, we stumbled upon a small family-owned winery called Castillo De Feliciana. Their focus is on Spanish varietals and it was the first time I had ever tried Tempranillo. It was spicy and rich and love at first sip. There was also a Malbec from Horse Heaven Hills and a delicious blend called Mericoles, which means “Wednesday Wine”. There is a special toast for this wine – you will need to ask about it.
We enjoyed ourselves immensely. Now every time we are in Walla Walla, we make a point of visiting. One time we arrived while they were crushing the grapes and we were taken back to watch. It was fascinating and nobody was stomping in a barrel. On this visit, we were celebrating and brought friends with us who had not done very much wine tasting. They also have become huge fans of Castilla de Feliciana. Deborah, the co-owner, was pouring for us and also getting ready to have a wedding at the winery that afternoon. Bridesmaids were relaxing out under the trees. (our dog Angel loved them – I think they fed her some wine!) When Deborah found out that it was our anniversary she insisted on a toast to all of us who had been married for more than two decades. That included our friends (Tim and Diane) and Deborah and her husband as well as a really nice couple we were chatting with at the tasting bar.
Deborah has shared a wonderful story with us about how the winery got its name. While they were thinking of a name they were sipping on the wine. It was rich and delicious and had the aromas of leather and tobacco and juicy fruit gum. The fragrance of the wine reminded Deborah of her childhood and her Aunt Feliciana, who had no children and wasn’t sure how to entertain Deborah and her sister when they visited. Aunt Feliciana would send the girls off to find her big black purse to get the gum inside. When she opened that purse there were the fragrances she would later find in the wine – leather, fruit and tobacco. I love that story – there are more – but it is much more fun to hear them yourself at the winery.
Recently a Castilla de Feliciana tasting room opened in Woodinville. We were delighted to find the same friendly spirit that we had discovered in Walla Walla. If you have never tried a Spanish varietal or if you have tried them and love them, I would highly recommend a visit to this winery – one of the friendliest and most fun wineries I have ever visited (and I have visited plenty….)