Only 30 minutes away from Valladolid is the town of Toro, but the difference is so apparent you would almost guess it was 3 hours away. Driving around the villages in this area almost feels like driving through an old west town from the movies, as it feels the landscape and lifestyle feels very familiar. It actually reminds me of being back in the Salta region of Argentina, albeit on much smaller scale. Life is a bit simpler and tougher here, and it is a common site to find Toro bulls destined for the bullfighting ring grazing in paddocks by the road. In this area the valley opens up and is significantly flatter as the Duero River approaches Portugal to become the Douro and flows out into the Atlantic Ocean. The landscape is significantly drier ad tougher for the cultivation of vines, which is part of the reason viticulture was almost entirely abandoned many years ago. Fortunately many vineyards were not removed and there are some seriously old vines growing close to the ground in very sandy and sometimes alluvial soils. The rediscovery of this region came during the boom of Spanish wine, when wines like the Ermita and Pingus were gaining attention for their immense power and structure, unlike any other wine made in Europe. All of a sudden the region exploded, and the number of wineries went from six in 1998, to over 50 today. The first winery I visited on my only day in Toro brought attention to the region, and the second confirmed its status as the next big thing. The third winery shows how good and affordable wine can be made even in such a harsh climate.
|The biggest church in Toro|