Hello friends. Sometimes Spain makes no sense to me. Today we have the new vintage of a very popular Spanish import. It spent two years in barrel and then nearly another four years in bottle before release. It was then put into a container, shipped across several oceans, unloaded into an importer warehouse, poured for us, sold to us, and will soon be delivered to us, all that so that we can sell it to our list members. For ten dollars. How is that a thing??!?!
Long time list members might remember that the Torre Oria story is one of our former FP team member Matt Tessler’s enduring legacies. Matt was a big fan of Torre Oria’s Cava. He sold it on our warehouse shelves. He drank it at home. He sold us all on its big QPR. And so, a couple years ago, when Torre Oria’s local importer asked if we were interested in tasting the winery’s red lineup, I was predisposed to say yes. Thank goodness.
This is a 70/30 split of Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon, grown in DO Utiel-Requena. U-R (located here) is near Valencia, and it occupies this wonderful transition zone between the Mediterranean climate of the coast and the continental climate of Central Spain. It’s a lovely place for grape-growing, but a lot of it is still planted to the traditional Bobal grape, which tends to produce less-than-thrilling wines. I’ve tasted my share of insipid Bobal from Utiel-Requena, which is why I may well have passed on even tasting this wine if it hadn’t been for the Matt-Torre-Oria connection.
I’ve posited previously that Utiel-Requena has the potential to be Spain’s Super Tuscan region (Super Valencia?) It obviously gets the heat units to ripen Bordelaise varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon, and the affinity between Tempranillo and Cab is clear in a wine like this. I could see a future where they rip out some Bobal, replant with Cab and Merlot, blend with Tempranillo, slather with new wood, and charge $80/bottle. In the meantime, we’ll continue enjoying these wines in the $10-$15 range.
Another aspect to point out is vintage: 2010 was generally considered an outstanding vintage across Spain (in Rioja, it earned the first “Excellent” rating from the Consejo Regulador since the 2005 vintage), and I think it really shows in this wine, which is a step up over the 2009 we previously offered. It begins with a wonderful nose balancing fruit (black cherry, black raspberry), savory (mushroom, beef stock), and oak (cocoa, woodsmoke) elements seamlessly. The palate has depth, intensity, and above all, an enduring sense of balance. This drinks very much like a complex, maturing Tempranillo, gussied up with some Cabernet heft and length and pleasingly leafy structure. “Wildly good,” says the last line in my notebook. Seriously, Spain makes no sense.
Please limit order requests to 12 bottles, and we’ll do our best to fulfill all requests. The wine should arrive in a week or two, at which point it will be ready for pickup or shipping during the next temperature-appropriate shipping window.