- Toro, Spain
On the banks of the River Duero, Toro is one of Europe's most extraordinary viticultural resources. Dominated by sandy soils unfavorable to the root-eating phylloxera louse, many of the vines here are ungrafted: at Pintia, two-thirds grow on their own roots, which is extremely rare outside a few parts of Australia and South America.
The region has its own strain of Tempranillo, called Tinta de Toro, which has adapted to the harsh climate here at the western ed of the plateau of Castile. With small berries and thick skins, Tinta de Toro can withstand the intensely hot, dry summers, but these useful characteristics can yield rustic wines if left unchecked.
Just like the vines, Toro's wineries have themselves needed to adapt to the conditions so they can express this remarkable place in a more refined way. Grapes arriving at Pintia are immediately chilled, and a cold maceration takes place before fermentation, which itself is kept cooler than the fermentations at the Vega Sicilia properties in Ribera del Duero, all to favor fresh fruit character over what could otherwise be overbearing tannin.