Writing is an inherently anti-social endeavor. Whether with pen in hand, a sentimental old manual typewriter, a spiffy computer or an on the go blackberry, writing is a self-absorbed activity. As a guy that some might think displays the occasional anti-social tendency, I take to it comfortably. Blogging though, in particular wine and food blogging, has developed into something of a social community in recent times. One of the builders of that community in wine blogging circles is Lenn Thompson, who three years ago began a group participation event called Wine Blogging Wednesday (WBW). Since its inception, WBW has blossomed into a global event that is hosted by a different wine blogger each month.
This month’s installment, “Passionate Spain,” is being hosted by Michelle at My Wine Education. The goal she set was two-fold. Find a wine, any wine, from Spain, preferably something less obvious than Rioja. And try to spend less than $10 for the bottle.
I grasped the first part of the task with relish. And I decided right away to dispense with the second part. As noble as the intention may be, finding single digit price tags in the wine world today limits one’s choices to wines from large scale if not mass producers and inevitably leans toward non-estate bottling wineries. It’s just a side-effect of global economies of scale. This is magnified currently by the weakness of the dollar; European wines that were priced at $8-10 four years ago now go for $11-15 if not more. There’s also a more myopic reason behind my decision to forego part two of Michelle’s assignment. I work in a wine shop that has only recently dipped its toes into the world of Spanish wines and this edition of WBW presented a perfect opportunity to get to know one of our new bottles a little better.
Toro “Quinta Quietud,” Quinta de la Quietud 2002
Toro is a DO located in the valley of the Duero, southeast of the province of Zamora in western Castilla y León, not terribly far south from the Atlantic and quite close to the border of Portugal. Red wine production in Toro is dominated by one vine, Tinta de Toro, a local clone of Tempranillo. This is the top wine from Quinta de la Quietud, produced from 100% Tinta de Toro from the estate’s best organically farmed vineyards which are cropped to extremely low yields of 20 hectoliters per hectare. After a fifteen day fermentation and maceration, the wine spent 20 months in oak barriques – 70% French and 30% American, 1/3 new, 1/3 barrels of one wine and 1/3 barrels of two wines. The end result is a wine of rich concentration (14.5°), a dark black robe and thick legs. Aromas are of raw and roasted meat, blackberries, black raspberries, cassis and garrigue. The palate is rich, with loads of dark fruit, well integrated oak and a slight alcoholic kick sealed by a firm tannic grip on the finish. An ideal pairing for grilled meats and roasted game, I enjoyed it last night with a simple dinner of bison burgers, roasted beets and grilled onions and zucchini. In spite of its power and backbone, it’s a wine that I feel will be best enjoyed now and over the next 3-4 years. And at around $30 a bottle, it slightly more than triples the suggested guidelines of this week’s blog event. Sorry Michelle….
And what’s that I hear? Today is Thursday… your first foray into Wine Blogging Wednesday and you’re a day late. What can I say? I ran out of steam last night. I guess the Toro took over.