Bodegas y Vinedos Pintia 2013
Pintia 2013 is a wine of great color intensity and profound layers. It has a frank and expressive nose and intense fruity aroma mixed with a subtle woodiness. This vintage offers a very noticeable structure and personality. It is remarkably fresh, energetic, elegant, with a long journey ahead of it.
Toro is located further along the Duero river from Vega Sicilia, in hotter, wilder territory as one approaches the Portuguese border (after which, the Duero becomes the famous Douro of Port fame). Altitudes are slightly lower than in the Ribera del Duero, making for very hot days, but 500-700m altitudes stil mean big day-night temperature changes, so acidity and fruit are preserved.
The grape here is 100% Tinta de Toro, a thick-skinned local clone of Tempranillo. The Vega team carefully vinify the wine to extract only the finest tannins and maintain aromatic purity, and age one year in the highest quality French and American oak barrels. Pintia displays the style and class (elegance, even !) of a Vega Sicilia Group wine, but with the extra spicy, forceful presence of a Toro. Early critical reaction has been ecstatic, and pricing remains eminently reasonable for a wine of this quality.
Spain's remote, high elevation wine zone between the regions of Bierzo and Ribera del Duero produces intense, full-bodied reds made from Tempranillo, locally called Tinta de Toro. This local variant has adapted to the region’s climatic extremes and recognizing its potential, top producers from Ribera del Duero and Rioja have invested heavily in its vineyards.
Notoriously food-friendly with soft tannins and a bright acidity, Tempranillo is the star of Spain’s Rioja and Ribera del Duero regions and important throughout most of Spain. Depending on location, it takes on a few synonyms; in Penedès, it is known as Ull de Llebre and in Valdepeñas, goes by Cencibel. Furthermore in Portugal, known as Tinta Roriz, it is a key component both in Port and the dry red wines of the Douro. The New World regions of California, Washington and Oregon have all had success with Tempranillo, producing a ripe, amicable and fruit-dominant style of red.
In the Glass
Tempranillo produces medium-weight reds with strawberry and black fruit characteristics and depending on yield, growing conditions and winemaking, can produce hints of spice, toast, leather, tobacco, herb or vanilla.
Tempranillo’s modest, fine-grained tannins and good acidity make it extremely food friendly. Pair these with a wide variety of Spanish-inspired dishes—especially grilled lamb chops, a rich chorizo and bean stew or paella.
The Spanish take their oak aging requirements very seriously, especially in Rioja. There, a naming system is in place to indicate how much time the wine has spent in both barrel and bottle before release. Rioja labeled Joven (a fresh and fruity style) spends a year or less in oak, whereas Gran Reserva (complex and age-worthy) must be matured for a minimum of two years in oak and three years in bottle before release. Requirements on Crianza and Reserva fall somewhere in between.