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Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

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Toro, revolutionized Spanish red wine zone in castilla y león (see map under spain) whose wines were famous within Spain in medieval times. This wild and remote zone spans the Duero valley east of Zamora. It was accorded do status in 1987. At an elevation of between 600 and 750 m/2,000–2,800 ft, growing conditions are severe. The dry, stony soils can support cereals or vines. The region’s principal grape variety, Tinta de Toro, is a local variant of Rioja’s tempranillo which has adapted to the climatic extremes of this part of Spain. The grapes need careful handling. Left to their own devices, they will easily ripen to a potential alcohol level of 16%. Local regulations permit a maximum alcoholic strength of 15% but the best wines usually have a strength of around 13.5. A small number of producers have fostered a move away from the heavy, bulk reds of recent times, a move which gained notable momentum when some of the greatest names in Ribera del Duero, Rioja, and even Bordeaux were awakened to the region’s potential and launched their own estates, particularly Vega Sicilia’s Pintia, Mauro’s San Román, Sierra Cantabria’s Numanthia-Termes (subsequently acquired by lvmh), Michel Rolland’s Campo Elíseo, Telmo Rodríguez’s Pago La Jara, Jacques Lurton’s El Albar, in addition to the home-grown Bienvenida Sitio del Palo, Paydos, and Quinta Quietud. By 2010, Toro’s 5,700 ha/14,000 acres of vineyard supplied nearly 50 bodegas.