Voice Behind the Vine: Diego Pinilla-Navarro

We speak to head winemaker Diego from Vina Pomal about his wine and what makes him tick…

1. Vina Pomal wines are 100% Tempranillo and the grapes come from your own vineyards around the winery in Rioja Alta. What difference does this make to the style of wine compared to other Riojas?

That is main difference! Our 250 hectares in Haro make the personality of our wines. We have a big influence from the fresher Atlantic climate. This and the predominant argilo calcaire (clay and limestone) soils mean we have a slow ripening. The result is that we are fortunate to have elegant, well balanced Tempranillo that ages well and provides smooth, fine Riojas.

2. The winery recently celebrated it’s centenary. What wines and food would you celebrate your 100th birthday with?

Something simple. A nice tomato salad and eggs with fries and “jamón” (essentially Spanish ham, egg & chips!) Being able to pair this with any of the wines I make today would be fantastic, it would be re-tasting wines from 63 years ago!

3. We have a twitter hashtag #3wordwinereview – can you give us a three word summary for Vina Pomal Crianza and for Vina Pomal Reserva?

Crianza: Everyday Great Rioja
Reserva: Rioja since 1908

4. With a few more words to spare – what else would you like people to know about the wines?

Vina Pomal was established in 1901 and is the oldest winery in the prestigious Rioja Alta district.
Vina Pomal is named after the vineyard plot in which all the fruit for the wines are sourced.
Viña Pomal has a great affinity with the UK. Back in the 1940’s, the wines were once bottled at Charing Cross station in London and Viña Pomal was reputed to be the favourite Rioja of Sir Winston Churchill!

5. Real Madrid or Barca?

Anything but Madrid or Barca!!! Real Zaragoza and Spain are my all time favourites. However, watching Barca play these days is a pleasure for anyone that likes football.

6. Cava or Champagne?

I enjoy all wines when they have a good personality. I love refreshing fruity cavas and elegant champagnes. From both I expect softness, and richness.

7. Tapas or Paella?

Tapas on Saturday night with the friends in Laurel Street (Logroño) and my mother’s Sunday paella. Unbeatable weekend food!

8. Picasso or Dali?

Dalí’s paintings. I prefer realist art and Dali’s surrealism is a representation of its own reality. (Also, Vina Pomal was once a favourite wine of Salvador Dali!)

9. What’s been your favourite place in the world that you’ve visited and why? And have you got a dream destination you haven’t visited yet?

The Salar de Uyuni impressed me a lot. It was my last a stop after one year travelling across South America and the Salar was just amazing – I would highly recommend. Japan and Asia in general are the places I would like to go next.

10. If you weren’t a winemaker what would you be?

Until the last moment I thought I was going to be a doctor like my father. But I am very happy that I changed my mind and became a winemaker. It is such an interesting, varied job and what better way to reward yourself at the end of the day than with a glass of wine!

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