2016 Viore Five Meses Toro
Tempranillo is a prolific grape that has spread all across Spain. While Rioja and Ribera del Duero are probably the two most famous regions for this grape, almost every other wine-growing region in Spain has some form of Tempranillo growing in it. And that includes today’s example, from Toro.
Toro is actually up the Duero River, amongst the hills close to the border with Portugal. In ancient times, Toro was the hold-out village against the Roman Empire – so strategically placed, with such tenacious-fighting townspeople, that the Romans couldn’t break through for centuries into Green Spain. When they finally did in 133 BC, all of the people of Toro died fighting against them – as the very few surviving Roman soldiers noted in history, “they choose death over the dishonor of surrender.”
That’s a bit of a morbid wine-tale to tell, but I do think it actually informs a little bit about the wine. Toro, while being close to the Duero river, is extremely hot with very cold winters. It is a hard environment for vineyards to live in. But live in it they do, creating such hearty, tenacious vines that when the devastating plague of phylloxera ravaged all of Europe, Toro’s vines soldiered on unscathed.
Viore is the Toro project of famed Bodegas Riojanas, one of the grand old names of Rioja. Since its founding in 1890, Bodegas Riojanas has passed through generations of the Artacho family. While Riojanas is a very traditional style of Rioja (they’ve something like only three winemakers in their entire history!), Viore is a new project, meant to respect the past, but also to look into the future to truly dramatize the flavors of Tempranillo from Toro:
Huge aromas of figs roasted in port wine, rashers of serrano ham, crème de cassis, wood smoke and ultra-ripe raspberry practically cleave the glass in two. The palate is unctuous, bodied and curvaceous. The finish is full, tremendously endowed with fully integrated tannins and silky fruit that lasts for over a minute. Frankly, I suggest you take it to parties of serious wine connoisseurs and serve it blind – it will match the best of Napa or Australia at a price that’s simply a steal. You and your friends will be blown away.
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