The arrival of Vega Sicilia at Toro follows a model which worked well for the Álvarez family in Alión, their second winery in Ribera del Duero: one single wine made in a medium-sized winery designed to produce 300,000 bottles.
Called Pintia, the group’s wine in Toro is 100% Tinta de Toro (as Tempranillo is called in the area). The region is also crossed by the river Duero, but the climate is hotter than in Ribera meaning faster ripening times and fuller-bodied reds with higher alcohol.
The launch of Pintia came at a time when powerful, ultra-ripe wines were in full fashion and Toro was seen as a modern wine producing region. After a variety of terroirs, wood types and aging times were tested, the group purchased a considerable amount of land including some old, ungrafted vineyards –as Toro wasn’t affected by phylloxera, this was the usual way of planting until the 1970s.
Pintia currently owns 115Ha of vineyards, 75 of which are ungrafted. The winery and most of the vineyards are located in San Román de Hornija (Valladolid). Vines grow on alluvial soils in high terraces formed by the river Duero. Two main areas can be distinguished: Garabitas with deep soils, moderate amount of stones on the top soil but abundant gravel underneath; and Los Hoyos, with lots of stones on the surface resulting in early ripening grapes. The wine, which was first released in the 2001 vintage, blends grapes from both areas.
In terms of style, the aim has always been to tame the powerful character of local reds and craft a refined version of the area. The spacious, high-tech facilities are equipped with cold chambers and wood vats to ferment parcels separately. Cold macerations are regularly performed in order to maintain freshness and aromas; other standard features include malolactic fermentation in barrels. The wine is aged in a mix of French (70%) and American (30%) oak barrels.