Five years ago, Simon wrote the following paragraph as the introduction to an offer and we think the comments made then still ring true today.
Spain has always puzzled and intrigued me. Such a vast wine-producing country and yet most people’s view of the Spanish wine is limited to Rioja, perhaps the Ribera del Duero and maybe Priorat. Just three headlining regions seem to shape the impression from a pack of just around 100 distinct and restricted sub-regions (known as ‘Denominaciones de Origen’). I think many clients are perplexed by the volume and variety offered by Spain outside of the major regions, but there is value on offer if you see fit to explore Spain. A ‘new generation’ of Spanish estates are quietly building reputations in regions such as Cigales, Valdepenas, Costers del Segre, Emporda and Toro - to name just a handful.
Two weeks ago, a good friend introduced me to two exceptional Toro from one single estate….I was stunned by the quality of the wines and even more so by their price levels. This is exactly what Spain can do; it can surprise with the complexity of the fruit as many estates boast old, low yielding vines. Yes, there is that exuberant nature to the ripe fruit that is so typical of Spain, but an elegant rather than heady expression. Toro is the only D.O. (sub-region) in Spain where not a single non-indigenous grape variety is permitted. The nature of its soils and the vast number of very old vineyards offer relatively untapped potential and led Jesús Pena to buy his first vineyard in March 2009, thereby establishing Casa Maguila. Over the next two years he continued to buy or rent old vineyards, some of them 100 years old or more, with 2011 marking Casa Maguila’s first commercial harvest. Jesús’ approach is to focus on the fruit and acidity of Tinta del Toro (a regional variant of Tempranillo). He looks to create texture and elegance, in contrast to the classical attributes of Toro, which tend towards volume and tannic structure, all music to my ears. Jesús produces three distinct wines, all named after regional Spanish songs known as ‘Boleros’, namely Angelitos Negros, Cachito Mío and Quizás and here we are pleased to offer the Cachito Mio and Quizas for the very first time.
These are remarkably impressive wines; the Cachito Mio is made from younger vine fruit, whereas the Quizas, produced in tiny volumes comes from a very old vineyard of low-yielding Tinta del Toro. You can spend a lot more money in Spain to access wines that lack a sense of place and miss that balance between exuberant, juicy ripe fruit and freshness. These two wines show a gentle hand in the winemaking and that is uncommon to many wines of this level or of this origin.
2015 Cachito Mio, Casa Maguila
£150 per 12 bottles in bond
Made from vines with an average age of 50 years. The wine is aged for 14 months in oak (70% American, 30% French) of which 50% is new.
Bright, vivid purplish hue in the glass, the aromas are all juicy ripe cherry and blueberry fruit. There is a fragrant lifted quality too, but it is the freshly crushed fruit character that is so appealing. On the palate, there is a fine intensity, succulent dark fruits, nothing too heady or powerful, yet this is ample and exuberant. The fruit is unfettered, untroubled by oak and shows impressive depth in such an appealing fashion. The tannins are supple – nothing rugged here – creating a sleek, textural impression, with mineral traces to the finish. It is clear that ‘younger vines’ is a relative term, the fruit here is from established low-yielding vines of over 50 years of age! Impressive as a wine in its own right and extraordinarily poised for a Toro. Drink 2019 – 2027. (SL)
2012 Quizas, Casa Maguila
£195 per 6 bottle case in bond
Made from one small block of vines that were planted in 1904; production is approximately 1,800 bottles per annum. The wine is aged for 20 months in new oak barrels (100% French).
Wow. Dusky, deep, almost brooding in the glass, this has such a majestic nose with hints of woodsmoke, dusky morello cherry, cassis and blackberry. There is an effortless depth to this wine, such fine-grained tannins, that the impression is of a broad swathe of silky fine fruit, with a chalky mineral back note. So persistent. Wonderfully mellow, from its extended ageing in oak, this runs completely against the typical association with Toro. There is no need for descriptors focusing on powerful tannins and commenting on huge fruit, this is an exercise in refinement, showing that intensity is possible, without the need to be obvious. It is very clear why Jesús Pena decided to bottle this is a single-vineyard wine. Truly exceptional – such a find. Drink 2020-2030. (SL)
Please let us know of your interest.