After Amber’s recent trip to various wine regions in Spain, we wanted to dazzle you with some need to know information. Here are our top ten things to know about Toro!
1. Toro is located in the larger region of Castilla y Leon, in north-western Spain. Toro is within the province of Zamora and north-west of Madrid. Closest neighbours of Toro are Rueda bordering to the east and Ribera del Duera slightly further east.
2. Toro, the region, is named after the ancient town of Toro. Toro is most known for the Tinta de Toro varietal, a clone of Tempranillo with exceptionally dark skins.
One of the last remaining bunches of Tinta de Toro left on the bush vines at Piedra, in Toro.
3. Tinta de Toro (toro meaning bull) produces wines that are dark, tannic and rugged. Tinta de Toro has high alcohol, sometimes 15-16% with moderate to low acidity.
4. There are many old vines in Toro, some upwards of 100 years in age. The soils of Toro are great for pest management. The vine-killing Phylloxera can not live in the sandy soils, which has preserved many of the oldest vines.
Gnarly bush vine at Piedra winery in Toro, approximately 70-years-old.
5. Tinta de Toro is usually fermented as a single varietal wine, but it is also commonly blended with Garnacha (Grenache). The Garnacha adds more phenols and acidity to the wine. Old vineyards are often planted randomly, with Garnacha, scattered throughout the Toro vines. You can identify the Garnacha easily by the leaves.
Tinta de Toro leaf at Piedra Winery in Toro.
Garnacha leaf at Piedra Winery in Toro.
6. The region has a continental climate, and has a deceivingly high altitude. The plains and gentle hills sit between 600-900 meters above sea level. The altitude plays an important part in viticulture, ensuring that the night time temperatures are low enough to let the vine rest and build necessary acidity.
Sandy vineyard of Tinta de Toro and Garnacha at Piedra Winery in Toro.
7. Toro has only recently become an internationally recognized and commercial region. In 1987 Toro received the official title of Designation of Origin, D.O. Toro. Although wine has been produced here for centuries. Today, there are only 60 wineries.
8. In addition to vineyards, the area is planted to several other agricultural crops, including alfalfa and sugar beets.
Crops of alfalfa in the back left and beets in the far right, neighbouring Tinta de Toro vines of Elias Mora in Toro.
9. If visiting Toro, stay in Valladolid. The city of about 300,000 has a great food culture and a beautiful city centre. The city is easy to navigate and is only a 30-60 minute drive to most of the wineries.
10. Some of WineCollective’s favourite wines from Toro are: Bodegas Elias Mora, ViñaGuareña and Terra D’Uro. There are still some ViñaGuareña Barrica available on Tannic!