Wine producer Toro Albalá | Spanish Wine Lover

Passion for Spanish wine


Founded by José María Toro Albalá, it is one of the wineries that stands for quality in the Montilla-Moriles appellation, especially in the production of sweet vintage wines made with Pedro Ximénez, the region's flagship variety.

The origin of Toro Albalá dates back to 1894 when the family owned a small estate and a lagar called La Noria, near the castle of Aguilar de la Frontera. The winery itself was founded in 1922 on the premises of an abandoned power station that once supplied electricity to the villages around this town in Córdoba. Today, the old substation is still the headquarters of Toro Albalá, although the firm also owns a winery in Moriles Altos where it stores some 1,000 barrels of wine and 2,000 barrels of vinegar, a specialty of the house.

Since the 1960s, the bodega is owned by chemist and oenologist Antonio Sánchez, nephew of the founder. Trained in Bordeaux, Sánchez not only sought to boost the quality of Montilla-Moriles wines, but also to export his wines and specialise in vintage wines. At 83 years of age and with the same perfectionist and creative character he has always displayed, Sánchez has left the day-to-day running of his business in the hands of his son-in-law, Paco Muñoz, but continues to oversee all the decisions.

Toro Albalá's wines are made from pedro ximénez grapes grown mainly in Aguilar, Montalbán and Moriles Alto, one of the appellation's two superior quality areas. Although Sánchez's great-great-grandfather planted many vineyards, the family sold most of them, preferring to buy from local growers with whom they have long-term agreements.

Toro Albalá's range begins with Dos Claveles (40,000 bottles, €7.50), an aromatic, fruity and slightly sweet young white wine. Its most traditional and well-known fino is the Eléctrico en Rama (15,000 bottles, €9.90), so called because of the jokes the locals made about the electric qualities of the wine given the location of the winery. This wine is also sold in an original bulb-shaped bottle (5,000 bottles, €14).

The Marqués de Poley range, sold in 50cl bottles, starts with Fino del Lagar en Rama (2,000 bottles, €9.90 50 cl) with sharp aromas and an average age of at least 10 years and Fino Pasado en Rama 15 Años (1,000 bottles). All of them are produced by the traditional method of criaderas and soleras and without fortification. From the foundational solera, the house produces its superb Amontillado Poley en Rama 35 Años (2,500 bottles, €44) with around 10 years of biological ageing and 25 years of static ageing. The range continues with the Oloroso 15 Años (2,000 bottles, €10.5) which also forms the base of the Cream 10 Años (3,000 bottles, €11) and the intense and elegant Palo Cortado 25 Años (2,500 bottles, €14.50) and Poley Pedro Ximenez. The brand Marqués de Poley encompasses more limited and exclusive vintage wines.

The house si best known for its wide variety of sweet Pedro Ximenez, beginning with the Don PX range. Don P.X. Cosecha (50,000 bottles, €17) is a young wine made from grapes that are sun-dried for 15 or 20 days after the harvest and are then topped with rectified alcohol. Don PX is released after two years in stainless steel tanks and despite its 450g/l of sugar it manages to be and light with notes of figs and citrus fruits that make it attractive and very pleasant to drink. Next up come the vintage Gran Reserva wines, with greater complexity and with an oxidative aging of a minimum of 25 years in American oak barrels (€32).

Under the name Convento Selección, Toro Albalá bottles limited series of old vintage wines such as 1946, which scored 100 Parker points. That vintage is hard to find but for those looking for historical rarities can still find others like 1931 (€290) or 1968 (€173). All the bottling and labeling of these numbered wines is done by hand by several people dedicated to sealing, handwriting each of the labels (which are varnished oak sheets) and carefully wrapping each bottle individually. These special wines are also available in small 20cl bottles for those who cannot afford the large bottles.

Antonio Sánchez, a keen archeology collector, has accumulated hundreds of wine-related objects during his lifetime, which are now on display in a museum within the winery's facilities and open to the public. Also noteworthy is the collection of wine books on display in the winery's old wine press. Rosario Sánchez, Antonio's daughter and head of wine tourism, is digitalizing the collection of over 3,600 books to create a database with the indexes of the books with the idea of uploading them onto the new Toro Albalá website. She wants that any wine enthusiast with an interest in reading any of its contents can contact the winery to receive a digitized copy of the text, paying only the royalties.

Toro Albalá welcomes visitors with several types of tours of the bodega and its historic archeological collection.


Montilla-Moriles whites: a renewed vision of terroir
100 years of Toro Albalá: changing everything so nothing changes