Shana Speaks Wine

Wine Journalist, Copywriter, and Marketing Consultant

Drinking out loud. 

(Tinta de) Toro! Toro!

Tinta de Toro is the Tempranillo clone grape grown in the region of Toro, Spain, and like a bull, many wines come charging at your palate full of power and intensity. Thick-skinned, intensely pigmented, full-bodied and tannic, these are large, food-friendly wines. Toro isn't as well known as other Spanish regions, such as Rioja or Priorat, but recently, Toro wines hosted a tasting in NYC to bring more exposure to their wines.

30 seconds to Spain lesson: Wines are often labeled according to aging and use the following terms:
Joven - these wines are the youngest are often aged for 6 months in oak max, if at all.  Most are meant for immediate release and consumption.
Crianza - wines are aged for 24 months with at least 6 of these months in oak, the rest of the time in bottle.
Reserva - the wine hangs out for at least a year in oak and the remaining time in bottles for a total aging time of 36 months.
Gran Reserva - you will only see these wines in great vintages. Total aging time is 60 months with at least 18 months in oak.  This wine is ready for kindergarten by the time you pop the cork.

Many people associate these ratings with quality, which is not always an accurate correlation.  Not all Reservas are premium and not all Jovens are crap.  Cheaper, most likely yes, but not necessarily indicative of how good a wine is.

(map courtesy of

There was a lot to taste but I honed in on tables that already had distribution (all the better to serve you, dear reader.  I want you to be able to buy what I drink).  Without further ado, I present the Best In Show.

Favorite Producer
Bodega Rejadorada had a portfolio full of winners and pretty much all of my favorite wines at the event.

Rosum Joven, 2011 ($16)
This 85% Tinta de Toro/15% Garnacha blend was a beautiful selection for easy drinking. Ripe berries and other red fruits blended with earth and soil notes on the nose and palate, with a soft texture, moderate acidity and tannins.

Rejadorada Roble, 2011 ($20)
Another reasonably priced option, this wine had darker fruits of plum, black cherry and overripe raspberry along with peppery spices.  This one had more prominent acid and tannins than the joven, but all were well integrated.

Sango De Rejadorada, 2008 ($45)
The same dark berry fruits, spice and earth came though, but this wine spent some time in 100% French oak, which imparted quite a few oak tannins as well as a subtle vanilla softness. That acidity also came racing around the oral racetrack, but oddly, there was a soft velvetiness to the texture.

Bravo De Rejadorada, 2009 ($90)
The papa bear of the bunch - plum, blueberry, cola, dirt, spice - all roared around the glass with each swirl.  Again, the tannins and some acid came through, making me salivate, but it was a gorgeously structured glass of wine.  Steak, please!

Best Sweet Wine
Quinta de la Quietud, La Dulce Quietud, 2008 ($50)
Ok, this technically won by default as it was the only sweet wine I came across, but it was actually worthy of a title.  (Others must have agreed with me because the producer ran out of this wine at an earlier session, but managed to procure a tiny sip for me from what he was saving for himself).
Hazelnuts and sugar-coated almonds appeared on the nose of this Albillo/Malvasia/Moscatel/Palomino/Verdejo blend, but the nuttiness was tempered with honey on the palate.  Although it had some viscosity, as most sweet wines tend to have, it wasn't heavy or overly syrupy by any means.

Honorable Mention
Quinta de la Quietud, La Mula de La Quietud, 2008 ($110 for 1.27 liter bottle)
This producer also made a beautiful red that I had to call out.  100% Tinta de toro, this wine was chocolate, cola, ripe berries and velvet, enveloping the strong tannins into its luxurious fold.  Soooo smmoooooothh.

Keep tasting, friends....