The Tasting Panel magazine

May 2011

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WINE BRIEFS Third-generation vintner Bernardo Fariña (left) and his father Manuel Fariña, pioneer of Toro. Bodegas Fariña: Bullish on Toro hen 22-year-old Manuel Fariña returned home to take over his family’s winery in Casaseca de las Chanas, Spain in 1965, he knew there was work to be done. Fariña had studied winemaking in Requena, Valencia and then Bordeaux, and came home committed to making world class wines in Toro. W “The consumer was changing and in most parts had changed dramatically since my father began, but Toro hadn´t adapted,” explains Fariña. “Sales of Toro weren´t growing and things had to change. The consumer wanted more fruit character (of which we have an abundance in Toro), better balanced wines with lower alcohol. Simply bringing forward the harvest and not letting the grapes over-ripen was key in achieving what the consumer wanted.” The changes that Fariña made in his winery—improving hygiene and employing stainless steel, temperature-controlled fermenters and de-stemmers—freshened and elevated Fariña’s own wines and inspired others to do the same. In 1987 Toro was awarded official Denominación de Origen (D.O.) status, and today is regarded as one of Spain’s elite red-wine-growing regions as well as a source of some terrific values. Wine grapes have been grown on the high elevation (2,000 to 2,500 feet) plateau of Toro since the 1st century B.C., and leg- end has it that red wine from Toro was sent with Christopher 80 / the tasting panel / may 201 1 Columbus on his voyage to America. Since the Moors were repelled from the area, Tempranillo, locally called Tinto de Toro, has been the favorite grape, but it is often blended with a bit of Garnacha. Fariña says the local clone of Tempranillo is particularly thick-skinned and aromatic, making wines with intense fruit character and great structure. “It is a varietal that works well with a short time in barrel and longer time in bottle. It is a more intense varietal in terms of color and flavor than most other Tempranillos.” Even when some softer, fruitier Garnacha is added to Tinto de Toro, a few years of bottle aging makes the wines more approach- able. Fariña holds some of his wines for longer than that. “Our current release of the Dama de Toro Crianza is the 2004!” Today Bodegas Fariña makes a number of Tinta de Toro–driven reds under the Dama de Toro label, from youthful reds that see no oak aging, to an affordable, lovely Crianza and its flagship Gran Dama de Toro, one of the finest barrel-aged wines produced in the region. Fariña’s current mission is to elevate appreciation of Toro worldwide. “We are only 51 producers, most of which are small, so reaching the world’s wine consumers will take some time,” says Fariña. —Tim Teichgraeber Bodegas Fariña is imported by Specialty Cellars.

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