Bodegas Pintia (owned by Vega Sicilia), DO Toro, Spain, 2008
DO Toro: sits astride the Duero, adjoining Rueda to the east. The climate is extremely dry and continental, with very hot summers and very cold winters, with just 400mm of rainfall, mostly in spring. Altitude is about 700m, this, together with clear skies and so diurnal variation, means long hang times, slowing grape development, retaining acidity, and developing more complex aromas and flavour precursors. The dry climate also means low disease pressure and healthy grapes.
Alluvial soils dominate, with some sandy soils, all over a limestone base.
Strong dark wines from tinta de toro (tempranillo) are traditional, sometimes blended with grenache – but to be labelled DO Toro, must be > 75% tinta de toro; some wines include a little international cabernet sauvignon, these are labelled vino de la tierra.
This wine: from 40-60 y.o. ungrafted tinta de toro; about a year in new French and US oak, natural cork closure, 15% abv, Costco, £31 (2014).
WSET style tasting note
Appearance: clear and bright, deep intensity ruby, showing tears.
Nose: clean on the nose, of pronounced intensity, developing, with aromas, as they come, of raw steak, smoke, earth, black pepper, spice, ripe black cherry, black plum, jammy black fruit, cinnamon and nutmeg, sweet liquorice, a rich floral note like dried peony, vanilla, dried cherry, dried fig.
Palate: a dry wine, medium (+) acidity, ripe medium (+) tannins, high warming alcohol, a full body, medium (+) intensity, a velvety texture, with flavours of ripe black cherry and black berry, spice – cinnamon and nutmeg, liquorice, sweet tar – if there is such a thing, dried fig and raisin, a dark rich floral note and dark chocolate. A long length with a clean liquorice-black cherry finish.
Quality: an outstanding quality wine, rich, with acidity with ripe tannins countering the high alcohol, harmonious with the intensity of flavour; complexity from oak and bottle aging, showing primary rich ripe black fruit and liquorice through oaky spice to tertiary earth, chocolate and dried fruit notes, concentrated rich and sweet seeming mid-palate, following into the long length.
Readiness for drinking/potential for ageing: can drink now, but has potential for further ageing, over say 3-6 years.