In the words of Leonardo Di Vinci, “Details make perfection, and perfection is not a detail.” That is the phrase which has come to represent the philosophy behind Bodego Tinto Figuero’s production of such renowned, incredible wines. Our interview with Figuero is eye-opening, as we explore how a rich history, knowledge passed down through the generations and close familial bonds have come to shape their modern vision.
Have you always known that you would make wine for a living?
Our family has been growing vines for well over a century, but it wasn’t until 2001 that we decided to make our own wines. Nowadays the whole family is involved!
If you were not making wine for a living, what would you be doing?
To be honest, I think we would all be working in different sectors. Some of us would undoubtedly be growing vines, others would probably be working in sales and marketing. But that’s not the case… it is totally a family business. In fact, one of the members of our family was an architect. She designed the winery!
What is your first memory about wine?
As children, we use to eat bread with red wine and sugar on top as an afternoon snack. Also, I can still remember the smell of the wine press in October. It is such an evocative smell. It sticks to your memory like red wine on clothes!!
How would you describe your philosophy in 3 words?
Respect, excellence, patience.
You say working in a traditional way, carrying on “what you have learned from your predecessors”. What does that mean?
You have 5 generations experience growing Tempranillo grapes behind you, how does that reflect on your work today?
We like to think of ourselves as experts in Tempranillo. We can make this claim because our family has been working with this variety, on these lands for centuries. In fact, a large part of our vines are the from the pre-phylloxera Tempranillo clone.
This knowledge and know-how is passed on generation after generation and harvest after harvest. It is our job to keep learning from, adapting and improving on what has come before us so that we can pass it on to future generations.
Can you explain your terroir in a few words and what makes it special?
As all our plots are located within just a 3 miles radius of the winery there are no drastic changes in soil type and terroir. We are at a high elevation (one of the highest in Ribera) and the gentle undulating landscape offers a variety of different plot aspects. Soils vary but are mainly clay, silt and sandy.
Is there a winemaker or a wine region that has been your stylistic guiding light?
We have a French wine maker who trained in Burgundy, so we have adopted a very Burgundian approach in the micro-classification of all of our individual plots. That being said, we think Ribera, and especially La Horra stands alone on its own merits.
What is your biggest challenge as a winemaker?
To match the quality of the harvest with the profile of the wine we are looking for. Nowadays we need to adapt our style with climate change.
What do you drink if it is not your own wines?
Some of our favourite wines from Spain are Albariño and less-aged verdejo from Rueda. From France we are massive fans of Burgundy, but we also enjoy the power and concentration of Tuscan wines.
The best way to taste / to enjoy your wine? (friends, family, special music…)
With friends and family, gathered for a good meal, indulging yourselves in old vintages.
Can you tell us a funny story that is imprinted on your memory in your estate?
Very early one morning during a night harvest we had a tractor, laden with some of the best grapes from our best plot run out of petrol on the way back to the winery. We had syphon petrol from a neighbour to make it back in time before the sun got too high! Harvest is always stressful, but such fun!!
Do you have some new projects or ambitions for the domaine?
Our new projects will be related to eno-tourism and climate change!