DO Toro. Some Random Bottles Tasted In Valencia.


Las Añadas Tasting.

DO Toro is not well-known, but it is a rapidly emerging wine-making area in Spain, undergoing something of a re-awakening at the hands of several top wine-makers. Situated South of the Duero, in the extreme South East of the Province of Zamora and cuddling-up to Vallodolid it is characterised by deep but poor soils and a climate of extremes with very cold winters and very hot summers. I have tried one or two wines, amongst them Numanthia and Pintia the latter part of the Vega Sicilia group and remember the depth of the wines and their prices!

In the last week or so three producers from the DO have had their wines highlighted in tastings or presentations at Las Añadas, by coincidence rather than concerted effort!

Nonetheless this has given an opportunity to look at some of the wines from new producers.

Victoria Benevides of Bodegas Elías Mora.

First wine was San Roman 2007, 100% Tinto de Toro (Tempranillo) which has spent some 22 months in new French oak barrels (80%) the rest being American. San Roman is the project of Mariano Garcia, who has previously been responsible for Vega Sicilia, no mean provenance!

To the eye, a very intense cherry red, with a violet edge, deep and with long slow glycerinous legs. On the nose mature red and black fruit, jam, then hints of oak, sweet spices, chocolate, coffee and minerals. In the mouth the fruit is mature, deep and the next sensation is of tannins, smooth and warm with a very long dry finish with minerals. A wine to keep and for food.

Later in the week las Añadas presented the wines of Elías Mora with Victoria Benavides leading the tasting. Situated in the town of San Roman de Hornija the bodega´s vineyards are also poor in soil with no natural organic matter and lots of river stone. The bodega is modern but at it´s heart are traditional values. The bodega is at the heart of the vineyard which consists of around 80 hectares in 66 smallish parcels..

Victoria Benavides is co-owner and wine-maker and inherited from her great-grandfather books on wine. She is a product of the wine schools of Madrid and Bordeaux and within a relatively short period of time has won many plaudits for the wines she produces from critics, fellow wine makers and wine-drinkers alike.

We began with the Viñas Elías Mora 2009. This wine is medium density, cherry red with a violet edge and long slow legs. On the nose quite forward, nice black fruits with a hint of oak and `caremelos´ from the six-months in American oak. In the mouth intense fruit, smooth tannins, quite fresh and an easy drinker.

Bodegas Elías Mora.

The 2008 Crianza was a step up. A similar colour but with less intense edge. Fresh and jammy on the nose with liquorice, vanilla and eucalyptus, it was finer and smoother. In the mouth a little drier with the tannins more pronounced. For me very smooth with pronounced oak, powerful long finish and in need of food!

Third wine was the Gran Elías Reserva 2007. This has had 17 months in French oak and was a little deeper in colour again with long slow legs. On the nose much more subtle, fresh, deep, fine, elegant with eucalyptus and tobacco leaf. In the mouth powerful, complex, smooth, very powerful with tannins which seemed to be more fruit than oak based. A powerhouse of a wine.

Fourth tinto was the 2V Premium 2005, now sold out which garnered a mere 96 points in Parker. The previous wines to put them in context had a mere 90,92 and 93 respectively! This was deeper ruby-red in colour, with a hint of garnet at the edge. On the nose very concentrated, balsamic, more mature fruit, membrillo, apricots, jams, figs. In the mouth this is immediately spectacular, very full and complex, concentrated fruit flavours, nicely balanced with touches of oak which underly rather than predominate. The wine has a long concentrated finish.

Finally we were treated to the bodega´s dulce, 16% ABv and not DO Toro but also from Tintorea. Quite similar to  the crianza in colour with very long and very slow legs from the pasified grapes! On the nose a wonderful concoction of floral scents and flavours. Violets and lavender, daffodils and tulips and then Halls mentholyptus boiled sweets! Very complex. In the mouth the boiled sweets persisted, very full bodied, powerful, almost medicinal.

Maria del Yerro and Javier Alonso.

Finally we looked at two wines in a presentation by Maria del Yerro and Javier Alonso of bodega´s Alonso del Yerro. Both are wines made with the heart and from a project whose simple aim is to make the best wines possible. The first was actually a Ribera del Duero from outside the DO, the 2008 Tinto Fino with twelve months in French oak. The project, which covers some 26 hectares began in November 2002.

The crianza was a deep cherry red, medium to high density with a violet edge and long glycerinous legs. On the nose an abundance of red and black fruit, a touch of soil, liquorice, spices ( clove and green pepper) hints of minerals and balsamics. And it took some time for the different elements to emerge from their base.

In the mouth the first hints of fruit were supplemented by tannins, fresh, minerally, good body and a very long finish.

PayDos is the DO Toro wine and with 15 months crianza in French oak. And the wine had a little more of everything about it.

In colour more intense, less violet on the edge which was more cherry in colour, with longer slower and fatter legs. The nose was more refined, but the same fruits and spices were there, clove, green pepper, chocolate, forest fruits, particularly blueberry, the fruit more mature and the balsamics smoother. It was smoother in the mouth for me too, lots of fruit, less astringent tannin, powerful structure, potential, and a long, long finish. Very nice wine.

Alonso del Yerro.

Well what can we say we have learned about Toro. Tempranillo here in its local clone produces relatively hard, powerful wines with lots of potential, good fruit flavours, complex with spices and minerals which to me seemed to be common across all the wines shown and show the terroir. Whether they are worth the higher prices they command is a different matter but they are undoubtedly complex quality wines to lay down and drink with serious food. Another lesson learn´t.

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