Alvar de Dios
- Castilla y León, Spain
Toro is long overdue for a breath of fresh air -- or fresh wine in the case of Alvar de Dios. The appellation in northwest Spain is known for its furious wines of weight, richness, and over extraction. Alvar is making sure to change that by exploring different terroirs, blends, and by approaching winemaking in a much more delicate way than we’re accustomed to see from the region.
He was born and raised in the village of El Pego in Toro, but didn’t stay in the region to learn his trade; instead, he fell in with a pair of vinous rebels working in the Sierra de Gredos – Fernando Garcia and Dani Landi from Comando G. While working as the cellar master for Fernando at Bodega Marañones, he began acquiring vineyards of his own in and around his native DO, splitting his time between the Gredos and Toro.
Alvar’s first vineyard was inherited from his family in the village of El Pego in 2008. This site, called Aciano in honor of his grandfather, totals 3 ha of mainly Tempranillo at an elevation of 710m and is planted on a unique terroir for the DO – sand. This sandy soil is resistant to phylloxera, which is why these ungrafted vines, planted in 1919, have survived to this day. Since taking over this site, Alvar has farmed it organically, waiting until 2011 to make his first vintage.
Another one of his wines is Camino de los Arrieros, a village wine made from 40-60-year-old vines of Juan Garcia, Rufete Trincadeira Preta, Bastardo, as well as some other unidentified varieties.
In addition to his single-vineyard bottlings, Alvar makes a wine from three plots of vines located in the northwestern part of Toro. Ranging in age from 25–40 years old, these Tempranillo vines are grown on various soils. Named Tio Uco, this wine, like those from his single vineyards, is made from organically farmed grapes, is fermented whole cluster with indigenous yeasts, sees only a gentle maceration, and is aged primarily in neutral French oak barrels ranging in size from 300-1000L.