Toro - The Spanish Bull

Toro, which means “bull” in spanish is a wine region of unique character, located in the zamora province in the north-west of spain, which is famous for its robust, full-bodied reds. Toro has 8,000 hectares of vines with two-thirds of them coming from the highest DO (denominación de origen) classified area in the river duero valley.

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Toro is a historical wine region: wine was produced here as early as the first century BC but its real golden age came in the Middle Ages. That’s when the bodegas – the wineries built underground – came into being and they still stand as defining landmarks on the landscape and as a testament to the origins of the profession in the region. What makes this landscape unique, among other things, is that the 19th century phylloxera outbreak hardy affected Toro. Therefore, not only its wines made it to several countries in those distressed times but a number of vineyards in other regions were replanted with cuttings from Toro after the disappearance of the destructive insect.

Toro is a stony, pebbly wine region with an extreme climate whereby the summers are hot and the winters are cold. These extremes are only slightly moderated by the proximity of the sea. Yet, it is most notable for its very old, ungrafted bush vines that grow intertwined above the earth. They define not only the landscape but also the style of wine made here. The protected grapes grow close to the dry stony soil that warms up slowly but then projects the heat for a long time. Here, not only the grapes work hard to make the nice bunches but even the hand harvest happens to be done kneeling, bending down to the ground around the flat “bushes”.

Toro’s permitted grape varieties are: Tinta de Toro (or Tempranillo as it was more widely known here in the pre-phylloxera era), Garnacha which also yields red wine, and the white varieties: Verdejo and Malvasia.

Several world-renowned wineries have rediscovered this region because besides the special grape-cultivation, the long ageing potential of the wines yielded here provides the possibility to make unique wines that cannot be replicated elsewhere.