Toro: Spain’s Up-and-Coming Wine Region

Last week, LVMH, owner of Moët Hennessy, Louis Vuitton and many other famous luxury labels, announced that it has purchased Bodega Numanthia Termes. The Toro winery will be in good company – Moët Hennessy also owns Dom Pérignon, Veuve Cliquot and many other well-known wine brands.

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Numanthia Termes commands high prices for its top wines, and with good reason. Two Numanthia-Termes wines earned excellent scores from Wine Spectator: Toro Termanthia 2004 received a score of 96 and Toro Numanthia 2004 earned a 95 in this year’s “Ultimate Buying Guide.”

Just a few years ago, Toro wines were known for their reasonable prices, but quality Toro wines were hard to find. Not so any longer. The Toro DO is on the map, and it’s here to stay.

One of several Spanish wine regions located along the Duero River, the Toro DO encompasses the town of the same name as well as 14 other towns and villages. Most Toro vineyards lie south of the river. Toro’s weather can be quite extreme, as is typical for areas with continental climates. Rainfall is scarce, often less than 13 inches per year. Temperatures vary from about 12 degrees Fahrenheit to over 98 degrees.

For more than 25 years, The California Wine Club founders Bruce and Pam Boring have explored all corners of California’s wine country to find award-winning, handcrafted wine to share with the world. Each month, the club features a different small family winery and hand selects two of their best wines for members.

The Toro DO celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. Founded in 1987 with just four wineries, Toro was known from the beginning for its red wines. These reds are nearly always made from tinta de Toro grapes, an indigenous tempranillo clone. In fact, 78% of Toro’s vineyards are planted with tinta de Toro. Other popular grape varieties include garnacha, malvasía and verdejo. Toro’s soil has been unusually resistant to phylloxera. This has allowed many old vines to continue to grow. It’s not unusual to find wines made from grapes grown on 40-, 50-, and sometimes even 100- and 150-year-old vines.