Random thoughts on the world of wine, presented in no particular order.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Taking the bull by the horns

Full disclosure: This wine was tasted at a free tasting with the importer, and I chose to purchase the bottle shown in the picture for later consumption at home.

Toro is a relatively new region in Spanish wine; the DO (Denominacion de Origin) was created in 1987 with only a handful of wineries.  In the last 20 years, though, a number of producers have moved into the area, increasing the number to about 40.  The primary grape here is Tinto de Toro, which is the local name for Tempranillo.  Stylistically, the wines tend to be more New World in style than their brethren from other Spanish DO's, such as Rioja.

An example would be T Toro, of which I've just recently tried the 2006.  According to the importer, the wine comes from 50+ year old Tempranillo vines grown in a sandy soil.  Interestingly enough, the vines are all ungrafted vinefera, as the sandy soil helps to prevent phylloxera.  The wine is bottled under Stelvin, rather than cork, another indication of the progressiveness of the Toro winemakers.

The wine is an opaque purple, with a thin ruby rim.  A swirl and sniff shows the New World character of the wine immediately; there's a ton of fruit to smell, mainly blackberry and cherry.  Some spice notes, kind of like baking cinnamon.  Sipping shows lots of explosive, jammy fruit.  Lots of flavor here, with the spice moderated -- indeed, almost completely covered -- by the berries.  The wine feels a bit top heavy, with too much going on in the forepalate and not much at the end.  That being said, the finish is rather long, about 45 seconds of blackberry jam.  89 points.

Good example of an everyday wine -- it cost me $9 to buy a bottle -- that would pair off quite well with a number of meals.  Off the top of my head, I can think of gourmet burgers (especially with sauteed sweet onions), pork chops with apple sauce, and my father's pork tenderloin in honey Jack Daniels marinade all as being good pairings.

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