How did your upbringing affect your career choice? 'I'm the fourth generation of the family to work [in the wine industry]. I was born in the winery. My childhood is associated with the vineyard - I would work there with my father and brother. What I'm trying to transmit when I [make] my wines is the purity of them - that 'straight from the vineyard' experience.'
What is your earliest memory of wine? 'My first memory is aromatic. For example, I remember when the vineyard was in full bloom or when it was harvest time and they were cutting the grapes - that fruitiness is what I remember. And of course, when it was grape fermentation time, [there was] that fruity aroma.'
How does practice differ from theory in the winemaking business? 'I studied agriculture, viticulture and then winemaking. A lot of the things I studied, I don't put into practice in reality. [But] studying allowed me to understand more about the environment and the development of the vineyard itself, and to have a basic knowledge of how wine is made and its evolution. However, each wine, like a person, develops uniquely. So apart from studying, the most important thing is to really understand how everything interacts and how everything evolves. My own experiences are very helpful to me.'
Your family's rejuvenation of ancient vineyards has been described as revolutionary. What do you think? 'In reality we haven't begun a revolution. For us, the most important thing, and what we've tried to do since [we started], is to get the essence of the fruit of the vineyard [into our wine]. This is not own invention. It was something my great-grandfather was doing a long time ago, as were other people in the area. Over time, the essence of the vineyard [is generally lost], [but it] is something we've always wanted to maintain. So what we are trying to do is go back to the roots of rioja.
'Today, 'biodynamic' is a fashionable word. It's also spiritual, but I don't believe in that. I believe in the environment and doing things as naturally and as healthily as possible. If you work in a way that's very respectful, with minimum intervention, the environment and plants will have an active life. The product we create is something true and unique, so we don't have to invent anything.'
What do you look for in a food-wine pairing? 'Perhaps the most important thing is that neither the food nor the wine should be dominant. The pairing should be harmonious. When there's really this balance, that's when you find the magic. Each person enjoys or perceives things differently, which is why, when you pair something, there's never a stereotype. When you go for dinner, you may go for one or two wines I might not like. But your taste is more important than what I think.'