Tio Uco

Castilla y León

In addition to his single-vineyard wines, Alvar makes wine from three plots of vines and some purchased fruit located in the northwestern part of Toro. Ranging in age from 25–40 years old, these Tempranillo and Garnacha vines are grown on a variety of sandy soils. Named Tio Uco, this wine like those from his single vineyards, is made from organically farmed grapes, fermented whole cluster with indigenous yeasts, sees only a gentle maceration with pigeage by foot, and is aged primarily in neutral French oak foudres ranging in size from 1000-3500L. Formerly pure Tempranillo, Tio Uco since the 2016 vintage includes about 10% Garnacha in the final blend.

91+ points
"Alvar de Dios was born and raised in the region of Toro, but cut his winemaking teeth working in the much cooler Sierra de Gredos mountainous region outside of Madrid. He started thinking about making wine again in and around his native Toro in 2008, when he acquired his first vineyard parcels. His Toro bottling of Tio Uco made from tempranillo vines that range from forty to one hundred years of age, planted at an elevation of nine hundred meters above sea level and farmed organically (and in conversion to biodynamics). The bunches include some whole clusters in the native yeast fermentation and the wine is raised in a mix of thousand and three thousand liter foudres. The 2018 version comes in at 14.1 percent octane in this vintage and is a bit reductive when first opened, but with some coaxing, offers up scents of cherries, a nice range of spice tones, new leather, a bit of sweet stems, good soil signature and a topnote of cigar smoke. On the palate, the wine is bright, full-bodied, and impressively transparent (particularly for Toro), 52 with fine-grained tannins, good acids and a long, complex and gently warm finish. Given all of the powerful, extracted examples of Toro out there these days, this wine’s almost Rioja-like personality is quite a revelation. It is a young wine and needs plenty of cellaring to soften up its tannins, but it should prove to be a fine bottle in due course. If you decide to open one early on to check on it, be sure to give it plenty of time in decanter to unlock its reductive tendencies when first opened. Good juice. 2029-2055+."
John Gilman,
View from the Cellar Issue 99
91 points
"The 2018 Tío Uco was radically different from the 2017 I also tasted next to it, and right so, because the years were also very different. There is contained ripeness here and a lot more nuance and freshness. It's more elegant and shows better balance, and it's a good expression of Tinta de Toro (aka Tempranillo), with a softening 10% Garnacha that fermented with wild yeasts and matured in used oak foudres of different sizes for six months, followed by a further six months in stainless steel before it was bottled. 28,000 bottles produced. It was bottled in September 2019."
Luis Gutiérrez,
Wine Advocate

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