Month: February 2017

Vatan – The Dark Bull of Tempranillos’

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Wines from Toro, located in Northwest Spain and their noted Tempranillo wines,  are especially known for coloration and boldness. The literally translation is “dark bull” – meaning this Tempranillo is not for the faint of heart!

The name Tempranillo comes from the Spanish word temprano (meaning early), a reference to the fact that it ripens several weeks earlier than most other Spanish red grapes. That said most Tempranillos’ exhibit a big blackberry, leathery and a slight smoky aroma – an earthiness character.


For the 2013 Vatan Tinta de Toro, a large portion of  grapes come from a vineyard planted in 1943 with some coming from their renown 1910 vineyard. After fermentation the wine is aged in new French oak barrels for 22 months. What comes out on the other side is a mouthful of wonderment! The 2013 vintage also came out at 15.5% alcohol adding to the robustness of this vintage.

Antonio Galloni stated it best in his review stating it is a “Dark purple. Fresh black and blue fruits, pipe tobacco and candied violet on the highly perfumed, smoke-accented nose. Fleshy, seamless and broad in the mouth, offering intense blueberry and cherry-vanilla flavors and an exotic touch of Indian spices. The spicy quality carries strongly through the finish, which clings with excellent tenacity and smooth, building tannins.”


Here is an excellent picture of the almost black Tempranillo grapes on the vine in Toro. Photo by Fabio Ingrosso.

Most California Tempranillos’ do not come close to this intensity. So if you are looking for a “different big red” without the stark tannins, pick up a bottle of Tinta de Toro for a big, bold  and exotic wine.


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