jamie goode's wine blog

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

New wave Toro

Just been sent a wine that's a great example of new wave Spain - it's Finca Sobreno's Toro 2005. It's 100% Tinta de Toro, hand-picked from 50 hectares of vineyard planted at a low density. Macerated for 15 days in small stainless steel tanks, then aged for four months in American oak barriques. In the past, the problem with Spanish reds has often been extended oak ageing that has killed the fruit; now that many winemakers are realizing that primary fruit is an asset in affordable wines like these, they've made some brilliant wines.

Finca Sobreño Toro 2005 Spain
Deep coloured, this is all about rich, vibrant, sweet, almost jammy fruit. I say ‘almost’, because there’s still a bit of definition here, which stops it getting too mushy. Ripe black fruits are the order of the day, with a bit of spicy support from American oak. The fruit is always going to win out, though, and this is a generous, ripe red that’s sure to win lots of friends, and has a real sense of 'deliciousness' about it. The only slightly negative point is a subtle green, rubbery note, which distracts a little – I reckon this is from the American oak, but I can’t be sure. The alcohol level is very sane at 13.5%, which is unusually low for such a ripe wine from a warm region. A super effort for the 3 for 2 price. 88/100 (£7.99 Thresher, but 3 for 2 which = £5.33 each)
Sobreno also do a Toro Crianza, with a garish orange label - this is carried by Waitrose. Last time I tried it - it was a sample of the 2004 - it was hideously and revoltingly overoaked, with vanilla and coconut dominating the fruit. Of course, if you like oak, then the Crianza may be for you - but I prefer this simpler offering.

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Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Cano Cosecha 2004 Toro

As I've said before, the world needs good, honest cheap wine. With this thought in mind, I'm quite excited by a wine I've been sipping over the last two evenings. It's a blend of Tempranillo and Grenache from the Toro region of Spain. It shows good concentration and has a nose of pure fruit (raspberry jam dominates), which leads to a vividly fruited palate where the sweet fruit is more than adequately countered by a savoury tannic bite. Significantly, there's no confected oak getting in the way of this brilliantly vibrant fruit. I guess if you are being picky you could say that the preferment cold maceration has led to a touch too much extraction, but I feel that the grippy tannins this gives actually balance the fruit rather well. The really good news? This delicious red, normally £4.49 at Tesco (a good buy at this price) is going to be £2.99 from 1-18 February. If you need a really satisfying, vibrant house wine, you'd be well advised to stock up. On Tesco's website, this will be just £2.50 a bottle. It's certainly the best sub-£3 wine I've ever tasted. The details: Cano Cosecha 2004 Toro, Spain (UK importer Bibendum Wine).

The wine itself is from super-coop Vina Bajoz in Toro. With around 140 members and over 1100 hectares of vineyards to play with, this is a big producer. But with attention to detail in both the vineyards and winery, this co-op seems to be producing excellent results. If more European co-ops follow suit (and there are a few I can think of that are now making excellent, market-focused wines at good prices), then the new world producers might have a fight on their hands.

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