Grape(s): 100% Tinta de Toro (Tempranillo) from vines averaging 20 years old
Localization: Castilla y León, Spain
Tasting Notes: Medium-plus in body, but quite soft in texture, with mostly black-toned fruit flavors, this is a joy to sip on its own already (at least of those of us who love young red wines with some tannic grip), but still with enough stuffing and texture to work well with moderately robust foods like seared pork chops. The acidity, oak, tannin, and fruit are already quite seamlessly integrated, and the wine still shows lively primary fruit characteristics but isn’t remotely “grapey” or obvious. The wine is utterly flawless, and if that was the same as “perfect,” this would earn 100 points rather than 91 — which is the right score for a wine that is impeccably made at this level of complexity and capacity to improve. Trust me…
Notes: Soil: 650 meters/clay over limestone with sand and pebbles on the surface. Hand-harvested into small boxes at the end of September. Whole berries undergo a 3-day cold soak, 7-day fermentation with skins, malo-lactic conversion in stainless steel tanks. Aged for 6 months in American oak barrels, most of which are new
The Domain: This Bodega, situated in the famous village of San Roman de Hornija, was founded in 2000 by winemaker Victoria Benavides. The winery is named after the former owner of the vineyard, Elias Mora.
The winery owns 16 hectares of vineyards and controls farming and harvest in a total of 70 hectares. Each of the dozens of plots is meticulously managed to account for soil variation and vine age. The vines are planted in clay and limestone-rich soils with abundant, large, surface stones. The arid, warm climate naturally limits production and produces concentrated grapes. Vines are trained in the traditional vaso or goblet shape, which yields ideal results but requires extra work, by hand, for harvest and pruning. Some of their best grapes are grown in the Senda de Lobo area which has 80+-year-old vines.
The philosophy of the winery revolves around combining a respect for tradition and modern technology. Victoria focuses exclusively on Tinta de Toro the native clone of Tempranillo which has been grown locally, with no exposure to phylloxera, for over 2000 years. The wines are only ever in contact with natural products; oak, glass, natural cork. Finally, she seeks to respect vintage conditions knowing that each year will offer different qualities in the finished wine.