Solera restaurant in NYC which is a Spanish tapas restaurant. Jose Maria Garcia and Milagros Figuero founded this family winery in 2001, although grape growing had been in the family for several generations. The day to day operations are handled by their three children and a son-in-law, but Jose still manages to keep his fingers in the business he loves. The Bodegas Garcia Figuero is located approximately 90 miles north of Madrid along the Deuro River in the Ribera del Duero region of Spain. Tempranillo is the most popular grape grown in this region and is widely known as the backbone to Rioja wines. Rioja is a city and region just northeast of Ribera del Duero.
During this dinner, we tasted four fabulous wines that are all 100% Tempranillo and all have been harvested from their Estate. As Felipe explained, they only produce a small amount of wines so their goal is to maintain consistency and quality. In fact, due to the poor weather conditions in 2007, they only produced the Tinto Figuero 4. Interestingly, instead of labeling them as Roble, Crianza and Reserva, they identify them as 4, 12, 15 and the top wine Noble. Each of these numbers actually refer to the amount of months the wine was barreled.
I originally tasted the 2006 Tinto Figuero 4 while visiting my wife's family in Switzerland. According to Felipe, Switzerland is one of their top selling markets. I was looking forward to this evening to try their other wines. My 2006 tasting was posted on August 14, 2009.
Tinto Figuero 4 (Roble) 2007 - this is their entry level wine, but by no means lacking of quality. It has a wonderful aroma of fresh raspberries and cranberries which followed over to the palate along with some black berries and licorice and a hint of the new oak and some earthiness. The grapes for this vintage comes from their younger vines of 10-20 years old. The acidity was minimal and the tannins were very smooth. The wine was aged for four months in new oak barrels, 85% American oak and 15% French oak. Prior to release, it is bottle aged for an additional four months. Less than 6,000 cases of the Tinto Figuero 4 were produced. This is a very nice wine, although I would choose the 2006 over the 2007. It retails for $20. This was served with several tapas and appetizers.
Tinto Figuero 12 (Crianza) 2005 - This deep ruby colored wine was the next step up in terms of structure and flavors. Once again the nose was full of berries, that carried over to the palate along with a handful of blueberries and a slight bit more oakiness. This time, the tannins were a little more chewy. The grapes for the "12" comes from 20-40 year old vines and were aged for 12 months in two-plus year old barrels (70% American and 30% French). It is then bottled aged for 2 additional years before being released for purchase. This wine really opened up to a delicious wine after about 1 hour. Be sure to decant the Tinto Figuero 12. It retails for $29. This was a perfect match for my pork tenderloin. I would also serve this with lamb chops, grilled chicken or a seafood paelle.
Tinto Figuero 15 (Reserva) 2004. The 2004 vintage according to Antonio was one of the best. And after having a glass of this vintage, I would agree. As with the last two wines, the vines are getting older. The grapes for the "15" came from vines more than 50 years old. The wine is aged for 15 months in American (90%) and French (10%) oak and then bottle aged for an additional 21 months prior to being released. This cherry-red wine had one of the best aromas that I have come across in a long time. The flavors were just as incredible. The black fruit flavors were well complimented by some cedar and a slight spiciness. Acidity was balanced and the tannins were perfectly structured. I think I can still taste the flavors after 2 days. This is an outstanding wine that retails for $54. Pair this with any hearty meat or stews. Just over 8,000 cases of the 2004 Tinto Figuero 15 were produced.
Tinto Figuero Noble 2004 - After the Tinto Figuero 15, I asked how could they take it up one more notch. Well, they did. This is the only label that did not refer to the length of barreling. However, the Noble was aged in barrels for 21 months, the first 15 in American oak and the last 6 months in French (Allier, Troncais, Romanian, Russian) oak. Then it is bottle aged for an additional 15 months prior to release. The nose opens with plenty of dark jammy fruit followed by some cigar and cedar notes and then some minty chocolate on the back end. The flavors mirrored the aromas along with some hearty oak. This was decanted for 3 hours prior to dinner and it was still opening up. If you aren't home during the day to open it, decant it before leaving for work in the morning. This is a very young wine that needs at least another 5 years of aging, if not another 10 years if you can wait. With a price tag of $130, this is a wine for a special occasion, like your wife's birthday. With slightly more than 1,100 cases produced, this might be hard to find.
It is not very often, maybe never, that you walk away from a tasting and say that every wine was delicious. I have to say, this is one of those times. Each glass just kept getting better. Although all four wines were made from 100% Tempranillo grapes from the same Estate, they each had some similarities, yet also their unique qualities. Part of this is due to the vintage, the amount of time exposed to oak and the age of the vines. Do yourself a favor and pick up some Tinto Figuero. You won't be disappointed.