Dark purple grape produces a robust wine

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The 2008 Talamo Toro comes from from the Bodega Vinaguarena winery in Spain. | Larry Ruehl~Sun-Times Media

Within the northwestern region of Spain, in close proximity to Portugal, is the province of Zamora where you’ll locate the small town of Toro. The grape that is cultivated in this region is Tinta de Toro, which is widely known as Tempranillo. Tempranillo is also used in the production of the red wines from Rioja, which most of us have experience. Rioja can express a delicate fruity profile or a more mature oaky and oxidative personality. The wines of Toro are the alter ego of Tempranillo and a direct contrast to the wines of Rioja. In Toro, this dark, thick skinned grape thrives in the intense heat and sandy soils producing a muscular red. The vineyards in Toro are old vine in character, which amplifies the full-bodied style of these wines.

Bodega Vinaguarena is the winery that produces Talamo and was formed by a close group of friends in 1999. There are over 75 acres of vineyards on this estate with some vines exceeding 30 years old. The 2008 Talamo Toro does not need to be a blend and is 100 percent Tinta de Toro. It is dark purple and expressive with black licorice, dark olive tapenade, smoke and a touch of new oak in the background. There is a blackberry essence built into its youthful tannic backbone, which makes it reminiscent of a youthful Syrah. As Toro continues to expand and gain international recognition, hopefully the wines will retain their affordability along with their robust charm.

Suggested Retail: $13.99

W. Peter Hoyne has been a wine journalist for over 20 years, covering stories of national and international significance. While his professional relationships in the wine industry have allowed him to share a unique perspective of wine, he is also intrigued by the culinary aspect and harmony that exist between wine and food. As a wine advocate, he is committed to consumer education and is focused on upcoming trends and American wine-buying habits.