While staying in the wine region of Toro, we set out to see if we could visit a Bodega (winery). In Spain, you just can’t drive up to a winery and find a lavish tasting room as you would in the Napa Valley. You have to call a day or two ahead and make an appointment. With the help of the hotel clerk we started calling wineries from our Spanish wine guide and got lucky on the third try. Dos Victorias, a winery about 20 km away from Tordesillas said we could visit.
In the Toro D.O. there are 55 wineries, most of them clustered around the town of Toro. If you think California has a wine boom, get this: Ten years ago in Toro there were 15 wineries, today there are 55.
The Dos Victorias winery is one of those new wineries. The first vintage was 2000. The main story of this winery though is the two women owners, both Victorias, thus the name of the winery. In addition to owning the winery, both are also the winemakers. This is not very common in Spain’s wine scene. Both Victorias were working in the winery when we arrived and were very gracious and happy that we could visit.
The grape grown in all of Toro is Tinto Del Toro. It is a clone of the most widely grown grape in Spain, Tempranillo. There is a microclimate in Toro that is said to suit this grape just fine. The winemakers call Tinto Del Toro, the “wild horse,” It is a grape that produces big wines, can be alcoholic, and very tannic. The wild horse needs to be “tamed,”by vineyard management practices and wine making techniques. At Los Victorias they produce 150.000 bottles of wine per year, that is how they express their production. This makes Dos Victorias a small winery.
About 75% of the production is to wine made into their everyday wine called Vinas Elias Mora. It is aged in American oak barrels for 6 months and then just a few months in the bottle before it is released. Their Crianza wine is aged a year, half of it in American oak and half in French oak. Then it’s blended, bottled, and aged for one year before being released. Only 10% of the production goes to the top wine, Gran Elias Mora. Only the finest grapes are used for this wine. It is aged in French oak only. This is the only wine we did not taste but, It must be great stuff, because the famous Robert Parker gave a recent vintage 94 points.
The two women also own a second winery in the Rueda D.O. That winery is devoted to the production of Verdejo and 250,000 bottles are made of that wine. This is a white wine similar to Sauvignon Blanc but, with a bit more acidity. It’s great wine with or without food.
Next time you are in the Spanish section of your wine shop, look for a Toro wine. You will know a few things about the wine. It is made from the Tinto Del Toro grape, it’s a big dark wine, with plenty of tannins. Open it up, let it breathe and have with a meaty meal and enjoy.