NEW YORK - Pablo Álvarez is the Director of Bodegas Vega Sicilia, the Ribera del Duero winery founded in 1864. In addition to Vega Sicilia, which was acquired in 1982, he also runs all his family's wineries, which include Alion (also in Ribera del Duero), Pintia (in Toro) and Tokaj Oremus (in Hungary). In an age where we are used to flashy showmanship, Pablo is unassuming and soft spoken. He is known for his respect for the individuality of each wine, meticulous attention to detail and absolute focus on quality.
Where were you born?
In Bilbao, the main city in the Basque Country.
What was your best memory growing up?
I always remember helping my mother when she cooked for her seven children.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
Where/what did you study?
High School in Bilbao and Law at the University in Madrid.
Any formal wine training?
Who was your mentor?
Jesus Anadon, who was the General Manager and Technical Director at Vega Sicilia for 40 years.
What are your views on agriculture: Sustainable? Organic? Biodynamic?
With regards to cultivation of the vine, the most important thing is to use common sense. Common sense will lead us to find the balance, the key for success.
What was the best advice you ever received?
To respect nature. If you fight against it she will always win.
What instantly brings a smile to your face?
When I see my sons. They are the best of my life.
What instantly makes you frown?
The lack of respect for others.
Outside wine, what is your passion?
I love cooking and it helps me forget the day-to-day problems. It is a way to please those who you cook for.
What was the last music you downloaded?
"The First Cut is the Deepest" by Rod Stewart.
What is the last movie you saw?
The King's Speech, Great Movie!
What are you craving right now?
A Dinner with my wife in Hong Kong at the Chinese restaurant in the Four Seasons Hotel.
Diet or eat everything?
I spend half of my life eating and the other half on a diet.
Favorite hotel in the world?
Tokyo Shangri-La or Tokyo Four Seasons. Hotels in Japan, in general, have the best service in the world.
Favorite local hotel?
Landa Palace, in Burgos, close to Vega Sicilia.
Favorite city to visit?
Favorite place to vacation?
Any place where I can enjoy the sea and the mountains.
Favorite wine/vintage from your winery?
Vega Sicilia Unico 1998.
Favorite wine/vintage, that is not yours?
Chevalier Montrachet, Domaine Leflaive.
Favorite shop to buy clothes?
Fratelli Rossetti, John Loob.
My work at the wineries.
After many years and efforts, we have not managed to produce a great white wine at Vega Sicilia.