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Get to Know Your Winemaker: David Pagan Castaño of Breaux Vineyards

Posted by on May 4, 2011

“Wait, who?” you say? Allan from CellarBlog posted the official press release about Breaux’s new winemaker, and we promptly begged and cajoled the ever-awesome Jen Breaux Blosser to hook us up with a G2KYW with David. Let’s all meet him together:

Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Valencia, Spain. My family moved around a lot in the region, but I call the city of Valencia home.

How long have you lived in VA?
I have lived in here for about 4 months, but I have lots of friends from Virginia.  The University of Virginia has a program in Valencia where Americans and Spaniards can practice English and Spanish together.  I participated in that program for over 6 years, and I learned a lot about Virginia through the people I met in that program.  I even met my wife (who is also from Virginia) there!

What brought you to wine?
My family has made wine in Yecla, Spain for three generations.  I grew up learning about wine and have always been interested in the beautiful challenge of making it.  I studied Agricultural Engineering in college and then decided definitively to be a winemaker when I finished my first internship.  I got my Masters in Enology and continued learning in France, the US, New Zealand and beyond.

Where else (besides your current winery) have you made wine?
In Spain, I have made wine in Yecla (Southeast Spain), Mallorca (Balearic Islands) and Lanzarote(Canary Islands).  I have experience making wine in Cairanne and Angers in France.  I was a cellar supervisor in New Zealand, and I worked at Saint Francis Winery in Sonoma.

What characteristics do you enjoy in wine?
Above all, I seek balance in my wines.  I like to compare the characteristics of wine to a circle in which each sensation flows into the next, none taking over any other.  I enjoy bright, aromatic, fruit-forward whites with structured acidity.  In reds, I like spicy, rich fruits with subtle oak that adds to, rather than distracting from the well rounded tannins.

If you could have a private tour of any winery in the world, which would you choose?
I am interested in wineries with some sort of history- family, community or ones that have undergone significant changes.  I am particularly eager to learn more about biodynamic wineries- ecological wineries that use almanacs to elaborate the wines.

What is your favorite food and wine pairing?
I don’t usually pair food with wine when I really want to evaluate its various qualities.  Of course, to just enjoy a wine with a great meal, I select a wine I know I like and give it to one of the great cooks in my life.  They are my personal sommeliers.

What are your favorite wine varietals?
In Virginia, I love the Viognier.  It seems to grow well here with lots of aroma and structure.  In Spain, I am a fan of the Monastrell, typical of the wine region where my family’s winery is located.  I also enjoyed working with Malvasia and Moscatel, as they are so aromatic and fruit-forward.  In general, I can always find a great Syrah or Cabernet Sauvingnon.  I am fascinated by the versatility they have in various regions around the world.

What has you the most excited about making wines at Breaux?
Where to begin…the staff is energetic and open; the winery has a history with wine lovers in Virginia, the grapes are 100% estate grown; and of course, the view isn’t bad, either.

Who is your favorite cartoon character?
Homer Simpson.  But, it would be better if he liked wine more than beer.

What is one thing we haven’t asked that you want Virginia wine lovers to know about you or your winery?
For some, wine is an elite pastime, but for me, it is for learning, sharing and being social.  In Spain, we drink wine to enjoy life, and I hope to share this passion with everyone who wants to know more and toast to the joy of wine.

Have you made a wine that you think speaks to who you are as a winemaker? If so, what is it and why that one?
I have had opportunities to make wines in extreme conditions like floods and harsh droughts, and despite the challenge, I have seen good results and even award winners.  While I am very proud of my wines, I am always looking to the future to create a better wine than the ones I have already made.  The wine that defines me is always the next one.


Thanks David, and bienvenidos!

Creative Commons License
The Get to Know Your Winemaker: David Pagan Castaño of Breaux Vineyards by Swirl, Sip, Snark, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

One Response to Get to Know Your Winemaker: David Pagan Castaño of Breaux Vineyards

  1. Chef Shawn

    Wow, you guys are seriously quick out of the gate with this one! Thanks for the post–I am really looking forward to seeing what he brings to Beaux!

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