Bodegas Matsu, 'El Picaro', Toro
A firm family-favourite and surely one of the best success marketing stories that the wine industry has seen for the last decade or more, this is a case that the bottle is worth every bit of the hype.
Packed full of black and bramble fruit flavours, licorice and a very, very dark strawberry core, there is a fresh vibrancy about this wine that betrays its making: very little oak is used in aging this and there is no shame in that at all. This is a delcious and dense wine that shows that Toro specifically and Spain in the broader reference, is capable of power within vineyards that doesn't require oak to get its message of quality and typicity to its audience.
Sandy soils and a high level of granitic rocks are the characteristics of these vineyards that the Matsu owners have collected and the Tempranillo vines (here called Tinta del Toro) are able to age and mature like, well, fine old wines. These vines though are mostly younger and though they are harvested with the same care and attention as the top levels in their range, the youth is preserved by fermentation and aging in concrete tanks.
The result is an intense, powerful and delightful wine with a smooth and easy palate.