I spent this past Sunday afternoon dashing from tent to tent tasting the Toro wine new releases in the Plaza de Toros bullring in Valladolid. The heavy drizzle kept many people home and shovelfuls of bark dust attempted to shore up growing puddles. Still, it was a fine evening for Spanish wine; Robert Parker‘s (RP) Spain correspondent Luís Gutiérrez recently published his reviews on his Toro tasting and many wines joined the 90+ points club.
The appellation of Toro has been working over the last decade to modernize its image and its wines. The image needs more work than the wines. They have some of the oldest vines planted in Spain, 60 years being the average age, with many being pre-phylloxera. The extreme continental climate and diurnal temperatures contribute to hearty vines and robust wine with great acid. If it was good enough for Columbus to take to the New World with him, it is good enough for me.
Bodega Carmen Rodriguez Mendez Carodorum. Crianza 2011, D.O. Toro, Fresh-picked blackberry, plum, forest fruits on the nose. High tannin, high acid, very high alcohol at 15% but not hot, well-balanced. 10 months in new French oak.
One of my all-time Toro favorites. Always a pleasure to drink. Muruve Élite from Bodegas Frutos Villar. Deep purple with light blue reflections along the rim. Berry patch perfume on the nose. Cooked dark berries set on high acid, well-integrated tannins and a silky finish. Went all too well with pata negra and cheese croquettes. RP 87 though it has received over 90 in past vintages.
D.O. Toro, Bodega Pago de Matarredonda, Libranza 2004. 14 months in French Allier. Violet color, red fruit juiciness on the palate, sweet, well-integrated tannins light oak but nothing overpowering.
Covitoro collection of wines from young, unaged to old vines and several months in oak. RP 87-90. Covitoro Cañus Veras 2009, 14.5%, super perfumed, baked forest fruits, new oak, vanilla (not over-powering) on the nose. A bit of green astringency, candied violet, raspberry and strawberry on the palate.
Bodegas Riojanas, D.O. Toro, Peñamonte & Marques de Peñamonte. Both spectacular.
Quinta de Quietud, D.O. Toro, RP 90. As the Spanish would say, un vinazo
Plaza de Toros, Valladolid with wine tents along perimeter.
Warm cheese croquetas
Hand-cut Iberian pata negra