The other night I had the pleasure of tasting the latest releases from Tinto Figuero Winery at Solera in NYC. This family run winery is located in the Ribera del Duero region of Spain which neighbors the Rioja region. Like Rioja, the majority of wines in this region are made from the Tempranillo grape. At Tinto Figuero, it is the ONLY grape, or varietal, that they use in crafting their wines… and they do a hell of a job!
In Rioja wines are classified by how long they are kept at the winery, as well as how long they are aged in oak, before they are released. For example, a Rioja that is classified as “Crianza” means that it has spent a year aging in oak and at least two years overall at the winery before release. Tinto Figuero just lets you know how long it’s been aging in oak. So they call their version of Crianza simply 12 months in barrel. It’s very direct, and will help those confused by the classification system that may think Crianza is a region or a grape. Let’s face it, if you don’t know about Spanish wines it is a very easy mistake to make!
Now on to the wines. We tasted their 2007 4 month in barrel, which was a very pleasant and approachable wine. Good dark fruit and a bit of a meaty aspect, which I dig. Next we tasted the 2005 12 month in barrel, or their Crianza, and it was a little tight (it needed some air to bring out the true aromas and flavors) in the beginning. But after some time in the glass, the oak aspect and tannins started to mellow, and the berries and cream started to come out. It finished with subtle liqourice flavors….reminiscent of anisette.
Then we tasted the big dogs. First was the 2004 15 month in barrel, their Reserva, and this one was the star of the night. Just an extremely well structured wine. The cedar and vanilla, which come from the aging process in the oak barrel, combined so well with the dark fruit. The tannins were soft and supple and it ended with a long, fruit filled finish. It also paired very nicely with the Roasted Duck dish prepared at Solera….delicious!
Lastly, we tasted their 2004 Noble (pictured above) which is aged 21 months in oak and another 15 months in the bottle in the cellar! Even after being decanted for 3 hours prior to tasting, this wine was still very young, but you can tell it will be something special…and at $130 a bottle it should be! Very fresh cherries and blackberries on the nose, with nice hints of cedar and cigar box type aromas. This one had some really cool chocolate and eucalyptus flavors that paired quite well with the chocolate served after the meal. Again, this is clearly a serious, special occasion wine that needs another few years of aging before its real potential can be realized.
Having tasted many wines from this region before, I have to say that Tinto Figuero’s are now certainly among my favorites. They are somewhat new to the US market so keep an eye out at your local wine shop or favorite Spanish restaurant for their selections. These wines are not what you would call inexpensive (price range from $19-130), but they provide true quality across the board.
I understand that Station Plaza Wine in Bronxville will be carrying at least one of their releases. Below are links for the winery, Solera and Station Plaza Wines.