September 22, 2017

January Wine of the Month Selections

Happy New Year! Ready for some new and different wines? Well, that’s what you signed up for after all! Let’s escape to northern Spain for some black and gold delights.

Toro has its founding father, Manuel Fariña, owner of Toro’s leading winery, Bodegas Fariña. The winery was founded by his father at an inauspicious time, 1942, in the middle of World War II. Manuel was a 1yr old baby at the time. The winery produced jug wine, sold locally, until Manuel took over the family business in 1969. He had studied winemaking in Bordeaux, and brought many new ideas to the winery. His foremost belief was that Tempranillo could succeed as a top-quality wine in the Toro region.

Fariña was the man behind establishing the D.O. appellation for Toro, in effect converting the local red from a jug wine to a fine wine. Among the many changes Fariña made in his wines, he was the first to move up the harvest date in the region for Tempranillo from mid-October to mid-September, which reduced the alcohol levels from 17% (!) to 13/14% where they remain today; his was the first winery in Toro to install de-stemmers and temp controls in stainless steel fermentation tanks; Fariña was the first to market Toro wines in modern, Bordeaux-type bottles; he was the first to introduce new barriques for aging the red wines. And Bodegas Fariña was the first Toro wine to be exported.

Bodegas Fariña is now in the process of converting to certified organic farming. Because it was the first winery in Toro to focus on quality, Bodegas Fariña was able to select the best vineyard sites in the region. Fariña owns some vineyards and has contracts with farmers whose vineyards average 50yrs, with many vines over 100yrs old.   The brand name for many of Bodegas Fariña’s wines is Dama de Toro. Bodegas Fariña is the only winery in the region permitted to use “Toro” in its brand since the name was registered before the D.O. was founded in 1987.

So dive right into Dama de Toro Malvasia and Crianza!

 

Dama de Toro Malvasia

Dama de Toro

2012 Malvasia

Toro, Spain

While Dama de Toro has made a name for themselves in red wine, they bring a clean, fresh, fruit forward, juicy, aromatic white with great lively acidity. Malvasia is an ancient family of grapes that includes a diverse collection of noble varieties, but this time we focus on the white. The hot, dry Toro district, characterized by very old, bush-shaped vines, is overwhelmingly a red wine zone; only 5% to 7% of the area’s production is white wine. And yet this area can make this very distinctive white wine that is also very affordable.

From 120yr old vines, this rare white wine from the Toro region gives a surprisingly fresh and beautiful bouquet of white and pink flowers. Although this is a dry wine, (it has only 3g/L residual sugar), its full body, ripeness of fruit and moderate acidity create an impression of softness and richness. When you taste the wine cold, you might notice the slightest prickle on your tongue due to some CO2 trapped in the wine, and this prickle does gives the wine some liveliness and edginess — but it’s all about richness and flavor rather than crispness. On the palate, the flavor intensity hits: ripe apple, peach, citrus, a honeyed floral note, a broad earthy mineral character.

Club price: $11.49

(Regular price: $13.49)

 

Dama de Toro Crianza

Dama de Toro

2006 Crianza

Toro, Spain

Tinta de Toro, the local name for Tempranillo, reins king here. Manuel explains that because of the terroir in the region, Tempranillo in Toro is especially thick-skinned and aromatic, making wines with great structure plus intense fruit character. “Tempranillo in Toro works well with just a short time of aging in barrel (for most of his wines, just 4-8mos) and a longer time in bottle. Our Tempranillo is more intense in color and in flavor than most other Tempranillos.”

From 30-60yr old vines, to 8mos in American Oak, this red is complex and elegant. For those new to Spanish labels, Crianza red wines are aged for 2yrs with at least 6mos in oak. It has a delicious nose, with vanilla and a sweet, port-like dark berry aroma. While there is some Garnacha blended in (6%), this is an excellent example of Tempranillo, with spicy, peppery fruit with a sweetly classic Spanish finish.

Club price: $14.99

(Regular price: $16.99)

 

Andrea Shank

Beverage Manager

Tinnell’s Finer Foods

540.345.7334

aeshank@gmail.com

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