Have you ever had the opportunity to look into the face of those that passionately work in the vines? The story of Matsu caught my attention. I liked their story, an exploration of three generations dedicated to life in the vineyards.
Matsu means “wait” in Japanese. How fitting when it comes to wine. You can’t pressure nature. To obtain optimal quality a winemaker simply needs to have patience, allowing the land and climate to harmoniously interact with one another, hoping for the best outcome. And the people. Don’t forget about those that have devoted their life to the vineyard. As respect to these individuals that have worked so diligently, Matsu’s labels are dedicated to a lifetime of winegrowers, showcasing youth, maturity and wisdom throughout their journey.
The Toro D.O. is in the southeastern corner of Zamora province of Spain. Wine has been made in Toro since the end of the 1st century BC, known for high quality varietals. Most vineyards are between 80 and 100 years old, as so, providing low yields, located in very poor land and are refined by the area’s traditions of not interfering with the vineyard and allowing nature to do its thing. Biodynamic agriculture has gained popularity to support these traditions.
The soils are sandy and are composed of sandstone, clay and Pliocene limestone. Altitude tends to be similar with all vineyards located between 2100 ft. – 2400 ft. above sea level with low humidity. Harvesting is done manually with the delicate selection of grapes, picked at the optimal moment of ripeness. These attributes contribute to the elegance and character of the Tinta de Toro, also known as the Tempranillo varietal.
The fermentation of the wines is carried out in concrete vessels, with temperatures controlled, not to exceed 24 degrees. This helps preserve the grape, freshness and aromatics of the wines. The wine then goes through malolactic fermentation in French oak barrels, as well as its aging. This barrel aging contributes to intense flavors and mature black fruit aromas.
Winemaker, Raul Acha, belongs to the current generation of a family that has long been linked to the cultivation of wine for over two centuries. Raul was born to be a winemaker, literally, as he has grown up surrounded by vineyards. He is currently the Technical Director of Vintae Wine Company, which was shaped to promote and showcase wines in 14 different Designations of Origin in Spain.
I had the opportunity to enjoy three of their Tinta de Toro wines…the El Viejo, El Recio and El Picaro. Although the El Viejo gained a well-deserved 94 point accolade from Robert Parker, the El Recio stole my heart. Each of these wines have their own uniqueness and finesse. The El Recio stood out in mind for its balance between the fruit and earthiness. Although I enjoyed sniffing this wine, the prominent notes really came through on the palate. Smooth with a lingering finish. Chocolate, dark fruits, and granite with hints of baking spice. You can learn more about these lovely wines by following them on Instagram, @vintae_usa.
I had planned to be in Spain this past May, due to COVID-19 sadly that trip was cancelled. Learning more about these wines and the Toro D.O. has inspired me to continue my journey with Spanish wines so that when I reschedule my trip, it will be that much more meaningful.