Wineries demand on labels increases up to 27,6%

Wineries demand on labels increases up to 27,6%

In the first three months of 2007 the Appellation of Origin Toro has supplied to its 43 registered wineries a quantity of 2.825.000 of labels to qualify the bottling of their selected wines.

Comparing with the figures of the same period in the previous year where the quantity of labels granted was 2.214.000, proportional increase results of 27,60 per cent, value stated by the Appellation as to be outstanding, consequence of a work of great merit to acknowledge to the wineries of Toro, which are applying important process to the good-quality of the “Tinta de Toro” variety, qualifying in the latest 3 harvesting, 2003-2004-2005 to a first-rate position and therefore confirming the wine of Toro as an absolute reference for the ones affectionate to quality.

Sorted by variety, highest increase resulted out of the wines classified as generic, with 543.000 bottles more and a proportional increase of 31,80%.
This category includes all wines not belonging to crianza, reserva and gran reserva, therefore not only young wines but also all wines that in their process have been depositing in oak’s barrels for several months, in many cases of which resulting as much as or more than it is established by regulations to be included in the Crianza o Reserva’s category.

With regards to the Crianza variety, increasing on sales has been of the 12,05% whereas Reserva has reached the 16,67%. As for The Gran Reserva, 4.000 bottles were commercialized in opposition to any of the previous period.

A Gold Award and five Silver Awards obtained in Paris at the “Vinalies Internacional Contest”

A gold medal and five silver medals have been assigned to the “ Apellation of Origin TORO” at the Vinalies Internacional Contest, orgazined by the Winemakers Union of France in Paris from the 2nd to the 6th of March 2007.

“Liberalia Cinco 2003” by Liberalia Enologica won the gold medal, highest award in the competition. This same winery was prized also with a silver medal for its crianza “Liberalia Cuatro 2004”.

More Silver medals have been assigned also to: “Anzil 2004” by winery Hijos de Antonio Barceló;“ Gran Colegiata Campus 2002” by Bodegas Fariña;
“ Castillo de Monte la Reina – Selected Harvest 2004” by Bodegas Montelareina and “Garcilaso 2003” by Yllera Team.

Three wines under the Appellation Origin TORO awarded with a Gold Medal and two silvers at the internacional contest “Selectiones Mundiales des Vins de Canada"

The juries of the prestigiuos contest, one of the most important wine competition in North America, awarded with a gold medal the “Gran Colegiata Campus 2002” by Bodega Fariña while two more silver medals were assigned to “Liberalia Cuarto crianza 2003” by Liberalia and to winery Bodegas Marco Real with its “Taurus Roble 2003”.

Beyond these awards, the contest has granted Special Prizes to underline the quality and excellence of wines under the Appellation of Origin TORO specifically to “Muruve Reserva” by Fruto Villar Winery, “Valdelazarza Crianza 2003” by Bodega Sietecerros and to “Viña Prodigus 2003”.


Juan Antonio Fernández is not your typical winemaker. Painter, violinist and eccentric, he runs Liberalia, one of the weirdest bodegas in Toro, a place full of memorabilia and strange visual jokes. Fernández is convinced that his wines like classical music. At different stages of their development he plays whatever he feels is appropriate. “The barrels are dancing at the moment,” he says, as a piece of choral music fills the cellar. And what will he play when the wines are bottled? “Beethoven’s Fifth. Toro makes epic wines, so it needs epic music.”

It most certainly does. Toro is not as famous as Rioja, Ribera del Duero or Priorat, but it is currently one of the most talked about wine regions in Spain. Wine has been made here since the Middle Ages, but it is only in the last 20 years that Toro has been regarded as a potential source of great reds rather than high octane plonk .In the recent tasting of Spain’s 100 “definitive wines” in Madrid, three of them came from Toro, a situation that would have raised Hispanic eyebrows even a decade ago.

The wines in question were from Bodegas Fariña (2000 Gran Colegiata Campus), Numanthia-Termes (2001 Termanthia) and Pintia (2002 Pintia). Of this trio, the best was Pintia, which is understandable when you learn that it is owned by Vega Sicilia, the legendary bodega of Ribera del Duero. The arrival of what is arguably Spain’s finest wine producer in 1997 has done a good deal to boost Toro’s reputation – not to mention the price of old vineyards.

Pintia didn’t release its first wine until the 2001 vintage, despite owning 45 hectares of old vines for four years previous to that. “We had to decide what we wanted from Toro,” says winemaker Xavier Ausás. “This is a very hot area where grapes ripen quickly. That can create problems such as jamminess and high alcohol levels. With some Toro wines, it’s the bottle that finishes you rather than the other way round.”

Ausás did a huge number of experiments in his stylish modern winery, testing everything from yeast strains to oak barrels. One key finding was that Tinta de Toro (the local name for Tempranillo) doesn’t like too much heat during fermentation, which is why the wine is never allowed to go above 28C at Pintia. “Getting colour into your wine isn’t a problem in Toro,” adds Ausás. “The hard thing is express elegance in your wines, rather than rusticity. Making wine here is much harder than doing it in Ribera del Duero.”

Toro is certainly a region of extremes. Apart from its legendary high temperatures in summer, it can also suffer from frost and hail. The DO is situated in the west of the Castilla-León region, not far from the border with Portugal. Most of Toro’s 8000 hectares are planted within the province of Zamora, although some (around Morales de Toro, Villafranca del Duero and San Román de Hornija) are in the province of Valladolid. Toro’s vineyards are planted at altitudes between 620 and 750 metres. This fact, coupled with comparatively cool nights, helps to preserve acidity in the wines; even so, Toro picks its Tempranillo at least two weeks before Rioja does.

Xavier Iturria, the French winemaker at Maurodós, says that there are three distinct terroirs in the Valladolid part of Toro alone: sand and clay around Villaester, stones and clay around San Román and thicker clay soils around Morales. The high clay content found in most of the region’s vineyards is good for water retention, which is important in a region which has only 350mm of annual rainfall.

Like Liberalia, Numanthia-Termes, Bodega Dos Victorias, Estancia Piedra and Pintia, Maurodós is a young winery, owned by Mariano García, who was the long-time winemaker at Vega Sicilia. The winery has 30 hectares of vineyards, which, typically for the region, are dominated by Tempranillo. “We’ve got 95 per cent Tinta de Toro and 5 per cent Garnacha,” says Iturria, “but we sell the Garnacha off in bulk.”

Iturria says that Tinta de Toro is different from Tempranillo in Rioja or Ribera del Duero. “It’s been here for over 200 years and it’s adapted to the climate and soil types.” Even so, it’s hard to get phenolic (tannin) ripeness at the same time as sugar ripeness. “The danger of this zone is that you can have wines with 15% alcohol and still have a wine with green tannins,” he adds. As at Pintia, temperatures are kept low during fermentation to extract as much fruit as possible.

Tinta de Toro isn’t the only grape in the region. Garnacha accounts for 4 per cent of total plantings for a start. There is also a surprising amount of white wine produced from Malvasia (11 per cent) and Verdejo (7 per cent). But Toro and Tinta de Toro are synonymous. This is a wine region that likes to make varietal reds.

Making Toro is not for the faint hearted, however. Victoria Pariente, one of the two winemakers at Bodega Dos Victorias, says that “the wine can be a like a wild horse that you have to tame.” The other Victoria, Victoria Benavides, agrees: “Some people say that we should make wines that taste like Rioja in Toro, but that’s impossible. Without tannin and 14% alcohol, Toro isn’t Toro. This region has so much fruit and flavour in its wines. The challenge is to express it elegantly.”

Their 2000 Gran Elias Mora (imported by Georges Barbier) certainly fits the bill, but what of the other wines that are made in the region? I asked Wines from Spain to put on a 62 bottle tasting back in London so that I could taste a wide selection of the region’s wines and try to draw some stylistic conclusions.

It was a good time to be doing such a tasting. Toro got its Denominación de Origen in 1987, but it has really taken off in the last decade. Of the important players in the region, only COVITORO, Bodegas Fariña and the excellent Viña Bajoz co-operative were in existence when the DO was created. Fariña (Gran Colegiata) and Bajoz certainly make good wines, but the emergence of new stars has had a huge impact on the region’s reputation at home, if not necessarily abroad.

The sad fact is that, however interesting its wines may be, Toro is not easy to find in the UK. You won’t come across a single bottle at Asda, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Threshers, Somerfield, Oddbins or Majestic. In fact, the only Toros I could find with decent distribution in the off-trade were the2003 Bajoz Caño (£4.49 at Morrisons) and 2001 Finca Sobreño Crianza listed by Waitrose at £7.25.

Rob McIntosh, brand manager for Viña Bajoz at Bibendum, thinks that the major multiples and high street chains are missing a trick. “From a quality and value perspective, Toro is a great area. The problem is that the consumer doesn’t have enough awareness of it as a region within Spain.”

He may be right, but as things stand, virtually the only place to find good Toro wines is from independent wine merchants such as Georges Barbier (Bodega Dos Victorias), Decanter Wines (Bodegas Fariña), Spanish Spirit Limited (Liberalia), Seckford (Numanthia Termes), John Armit (Maurodós), Berry Brothers (Pintia), Adnams (Pago la Jara) and Goedhuis (Valduero). In my tasting at Wines of Spain, I was also hugely impressed by three bodegas with no representation here: Estancia Piedra, Viñedos Garanza and Bodegas y Pagos Matarredonda.

Toro ought to be better appreciated in the UK. By Spanish standards, it is certainly not expensive. Even the top wines sell for less than £30, while there is a lot of good stuff retailing under £10 and one or two stars under £6. Toro isn’t as easy to shift as Rioja (very few Spanish wines are), but it’s making wines of character and personality. Try a bottle at home if you don’t believe me. It might even have you humming Beethoven’s Fifth.

Source: Tim Atkin, "Off Licence News", 25/03/2005

EL MUNDO´S WINES OF THE YEAR 2004 – Red from Toro, white from Rueda and a cava from Valencia

EL MUNDO´s ‘wines of the year’, those non chrematistic rewards some attributed by our newspaper and for from 1994, they reward in 2004, as always, to a red, a white and another Spanish wine arrived at the market during this year. They already arrive the wines of you add them difficult that they have continued to the splendid of 2001, and in that context they have particuolar merit the class and the balance of Numanthia 2002 and of Náiades 2003, two wines of the adjacent denominations Toro and Rueda. As for the third from the year, it is a cava with coming from an area very mentioned by reasons extravinícolas, that of the mark of Utiel Requena. But the Domain De la Vega Brut Reserves Special 2001 don’t arrive here for political opportunism .los boicots they are stupid, and enter our mentions of honor they are plentiful the Catalan wines as always – but for own merits.

It has been a true prowess the one that in the cool air and humid 2002 Marcos has achieved Eguren with his Numanthia, the Spanish wine with higher note of those tasted this year by, full with elegance, complete and beyond the stereotypes on the power of Toro.

On the other hand, the hot one 2003 have not been obstacle so that Vineyard Sila, Victor Rodríguez’s initiative, Javier Alén and Jorge Ordóñez in Rueda, obtains some thousands of bottles of a verdejo fermented in cask in which you grieve if it appears the wood like it is Náiades (name definitive after the ‘Naia Gives’ initial), pure coolness and velvet.

As for another young cellar (as the other ones two winning), Domain De la Vega, of San Antonio, next to Requena, ‘division’ of a classic great cellar of the area after the change of property of this, it takes three years taking out cava of a nimbleness and an unexpected fragrance, in particular its ‘millésimé, many times already rewarded that it is a macabeo (75%) assembling and chardonnay.

It is the first time since we attribute these prizes that oneself came he/she repeats reward in EL MUNDO: already in 2000 it was rewarded as red of the year Numanthia 1998. On the other hand, for second serial year a Valencian product arrives, after the success of Quincha Corral 2001 of Mustiguillo in 2003.

These prizes are not necessarily attributed to the ‘better wine of the year’ in absolute sense, but they can also reward the personality, the innovation or the relationship quality-price.

Source: EL MUNDO

Robert M. Parker, Jr., the world's foremost wine guru, makes 12 bold predictions about seismic changes that will influence how we'll shop, what we'll buy and how much we'll pay

Robert M. Parker, Jr., the world’s foremost wine guru, makes 12 bold predictions about seismic changes that will influence how we’ll shop, what we’ll buy and how much we’ll pay

Predictions are often carelessly thrown together lists, since few people remember them 10 years later. Who is going to call the author after a decade and complain about his boneheaded observations? Still, I confess to having given the following 12 predictions considerable thought. Moreover, I am confident that they will come true sooner rather than later.

1 Distribution will be revolutionized
I predict the total collapse of the convoluted three-tiered system of wine distribution in the United States. The current process, a legacy of Prohibition, mandates that all foreign wines must be brought into the country by an importer, who sells them to a wholesaler, who sells them again to a retailer. Most U.S. wineries sell to a distributor, who in turn sells the wines to a retailer. It is an absurdly inefficient system that costs the consumer big bucks. This narrowly restricted approach (blame all the lobbyists funded by powerful liquor and wine wholesalers) is coming to a dramatic end—hastened in part by the comparative ease of ordering wine over the Internet. Differing federal court opinions over the last decade have insured that eventually the Supreme Court will have to rule on whether wineries can sell directly to whomever they wish, whether it is a wholesaler, retailer or consumer. Imagine, if you can, a great Bordeaux château, a tiny estate in Piedmont or a small, artisanal winery in California selling 100 percent of its production directly to restaurants, retailers and consumers. I believe it will be possible by 2015.

2 The wine Web will go mainstream
Internet message boards, Web sites tailored for wine geeks and state-of-the-art winery sites all instantaneously disseminate information about new wines and new producers. Today the realm of cyberspace junkies and hardcore Internet users, these sites will become mainstream in 10 years. A much more democratic, open range of experts, consultants, specialists, advisors and chatty wine nerds will assume the role of today’s wine publications.

3 World bidding wars will begin for top wines
Competition for the world’s greatest wines will increase exponentially: The most limited production wines will become even more expensive and more difficult to obtain. The burgeoning interest in fine wine in Asia, South America, Central and Eastern Europe and Russia will make things even worse. There will be bidding wars at auctions for the few cases of highly praised, limited production wines. No matter how high prices appear today for wines from the most hallowed vineyards, they represent only a fraction of what these wines will fetch in a decade. Americans may scream bloody murder when looking at the future prices for the 2003 first growth Bordeaux (an average of $4,000 a case), but if my instincts are correct, 10 years from now a great vintage of these first growths will cost over $10,000 a case…at the minimum. It is simple: The quantity of these great wines is finite, and the demand for them will become at least 10 times greater.

4 France will feel a squeeze
The globalization of wine will mean many things, most of it bad news for the country historically known for producing the world’s greatest wines: France. The French caste system will become even more stratified; the top five percent of the estates will turn out the most compelling wines and receive increasingly astronomical prices for them. However, France’s obsession with tradition and maintaining the status quo will result in the bankruptcy and collapse of many producers who refuse to recognize the competitive nature of the global wine market.

5 Corks will come out
I believe wines bottled with corks will be in the minority by 2015. The cork industry has not invested in techniques that will prevent “corked” wines afflicted with the musty, moldy, wet-basement smell that ruins up to 15 percent of all wine bottles. The consequences of this laissez-faire attitude will be dramatic. More and more state-of-the-art wineries are moving to screw caps for wines that need to be consumed within 3 to 4 years of the vintage (about 95 percent of the world’s wines). Look for this trend to accelerate. Stelvin, the screw cap of choice, will become the standard for the majority of the world’s wines. The one exception will be great wines meant to age for 20 to 30 years that will still be primarily cork finished—although even the makers of these wines may experience consumer backlash if the cork industry does not solve the problem of defective corks. Synthetic corks, by the way, are not the solution. They do not work and can’t compete with the Stelvin screw caps.

6 Spain will be the star
Look for Spain to continue to soar. Today it is emerging as a leader in wine quality and creativity, combining the finest characteristics of tradition with a modern and progressive winemaking philosophy. Spain, just coming out of a long period of cooperative winemaking that valued quantity over quality, has begun to recognize that it possesses many old-vine vineyards with almost unlimited potential. Spanish wineries recognize that they are trapped neither by history nor by the need to maintain the status quo that currently frustrates and inhibits so many French producers. By 2015, those areas that have traditionally produced Spain’s finest wines (Ribera del Duero and Rioja) will have assumed second place behind such up-and-coming regions as Toro, Jumilla and Priorat.

7 Malbec will make it big
By the year 2015, the greatness of Argentinean wines made from the Malbec grape will be understood as a given. This French varietal, which failed so miserably on its home soil in Bordeaux, has reached startling heights of quality in Argentina. Both inexpensive, delicious Malbecs and majestic, profoundly complex ones from high-elevation vineyards are already being produced, and by 2015 this long-ignored grape’s place in the pantheon of noble wines will be guaranteed.

8 California’s Central Coast will rule America
Look for wines from California’s Central Coast (an enormous region that runs from Contra Costa down to Santa Barbara) to take their place alongside the hallowed bottlings of Napa and Sonoma valleys. No viticultural region in America has demonstrated as much progress in quality and potential for greatness as the Central Coast, with its Rhône varietals, and the Santa Barbara region, where the Burgundian varietals Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are planted in its cooler climates.

9 Southern Italy will ascend
While few consumers will be able to afford Piedmont’s profound Barolos and Barbarescos (which will be subject to fanatical worldwide demand 10 times what we see today), once-backwater Italian viticultural areas such as Umbria, Campania, Basilicata and the islands of Sicily and Sardinia will become household names by 2015. The winemaking revolution currently under way in Italy will continue, and its rewards will become increasingly apparent over the next decade.

10 Unoaked wine will find a wider audience
Given the increasingly diverse style of foods we eat as well as the abundant array of tastes on our plates, there will be more and more wines that offer strikingly pure bouquets and flavors unmarked by wood aging. Crisp, lively whites and fruity, savory and sensual reds will be in greater demand in 2015 than they are in 2004. Wood will still have importance for the greatest varietals as well as for wines that benefit from aging, but those wines will make up only a tiny part of the market.

11 Value will be valued
Despite my doom-and-gloom prediction about the prohibitive cost of the world’s greatest wines, there will be more high-quality, low-priced wines than ever before. This trend will be led primarily by European countries, although Australia will still play a huge role. Australia has perfected industrial farming: No other country appears capable of producing an $8 wine as well as it does. However, too many of those wines are simple, fruity and somewhat soulless. Australia will need to improve its game and create accessible wines with more character and interest to compete in the world market 10 years from now.

12 Diversity will be the word
By 2015 the world of wine will have grown even more diverse. We will see quality wines from unexpected places like Bulgaria, Romania, Russia, Mexico, China, Japan, Lebanon, Turkey and perhaps even India. But I believe that even with all these new producers, the saturation point will not be reached, since ever greater numbers of the world’s population will demand wine as their alcoholic drink of choice.

This article originally appeared in October 2004 (Food and Wine Magazine)

Three awards at Japan Wine Challenge 2004

Entries from 23 countries totaled 1,450 wines. This is the highest , and the standard of wines was exceptionally high. The competition took place at the Hilton Tokyo from Monday 7th to Friday 11th June 2004.

Headed by Chairman Steven Spurrier and Co-Chairman John Avery MW, the international judges this year came from Australia, Germany, France, Hong Kong, Singapore and Italy. We were honoured to have three visiting Masters of Wine – Lynne Sheliff,and Pat Farrell (USA).

This year the judges awarded a total number of 659Awards (excluding Seal of Approval) – 93 (6.4%) Gold Medals (including the 7 Trophy Winning Wines);298 (20.69%) Silver Medals and 268(18.5%) Bronze Medals. Add to this the 410 (28.3%) Seal of Approval wines and a total of 73.8% of wines entered won an Award.

The Japan WINE Challenge Magazine will be published at the end of September with full coverage of this year’s competition including the list of all winning wines and tasting notes.

Wines from Toro awarded:

– Gran Colegiata Crianza Robel Frances 1999 : Silver Medal
– Sobreño Seleccion Especial 2000: Silver Medal
– Sobreño Crianza 2001: Seal of Aproval.

Gerard Depardieu acquires a cellar in D.O. Toro

Gérard Depardieu defines himself as actor and winemaker. The passion for the wine sector has taken him to go aboard in the adventure of investing, making and exporting wines elaborated in the Denomination of Origin Toro, with Bernard Magrez, proprietor of the biggest distribuitor companies in wines of France and of several cellars distributed in countries like Morocco, Chile, Argentina and, of course, France. A small cellar seated on the way to San Román, in Morales de Toro (Zamora), Domaine Malesan Espagne, CO.LTD. is the new project in which Depardieu and Magrez have gone aboard, impressed by the evolution that has experienced the Denomination of Origin Toro in the last years, situation that you can extrapolate to Priorato, where they have also started a new cellar.

The association between Depardieu and Magrez is governed by the philosophy of elaborating wines of great quality, like Antonio Tomé explains,who has taken charge of materializing the projects of Toro and Priorato. The cellar that Depardieu and Magrez have acquired in Toro formalized its inscription in the Council Regulator in the year 2003 and already during the last campaign it elaborated 10.000 liters of wine, although the intention is to increase this production until the 60.000 liters during the next campaign.

Tomé assures that the pretense of this new cellar is «to get big qualities, using material pointer and with very taken care elaborations», like demonstrates the fact that during the last vintage the grapes were threshed manually and «one by one». As for the future wines of this industry, Tomé emphasizes its «extraordinary quality because Toro allows it», broths that, by the way, they have been elaborated by the enóloga Silvia Tomé and also highlights that «it is not necessary to leave to the big vintages since with four or five months of cask we obtain wines of extraordinary quality and, in fact, the wines of Toro are being recognized among the best wines in the world».

The actor Gérard Depardieu began his own wine career 30 years ago when acquiring a hectare of vineyard in Burgundy. His passion for the wine took him, in the year 1989, to acquire a land of 110 hectares in Anjou, the Château of Tigné, where he prodeuces between 500.000 and 600.000 bottles a year. In the year 2001, Depardieu associated with the distributor Bernard Magrez with who has started a cellar in the Denomination of Origin Toro, attracted by the landing in the area of the best cellars in Spain like Vega Sicily, Mauro or Bodegas Riojanas.

The first contact of Depardieu with the Spanish wines took place during the filming of the movie Christopher Columbus and for this actor the elaboration of the wine is «a question of love», for what hopes to be able to elaborate in Toro wines that are worthy of the terroir and of the palate of those who love wine.

Another of the reasons that have taken to Depardieu to invest in Toro is the fact that «France is importing wines from Toro. This is as putting a pike in Flanders», Antonio Tomé assures.

His partner, Magrez, has already visited Toro to supervise the starting of this project and it is possible that Gérard Depardieu travels to Bull in October or November to participate in the official presentation of the cellar, although it is not still closed the date of the inauguration.

(Source: Norte de Castilla)