Heading west again from Ribera del Duero, and following the river we come to one of my favourite red wine regions, Toro. The region is situated a mere 40km from the Portuguese border but produces typically Castillian wines;it lies within the boundaries of the historic Old Castille. I can do no better than quote the opinion of John Radford in his book, "The New Spain, a complete guide to contemporary Spanish wine." (Mitchell Beazley, 2004, London): "Characterised by their powerful alcoholic strength, and bright, upfront fruit, these are perhaps the most authentic examples of the wines of Old Castille that are still being made today". The wines are made with 100% Tempranillo (here called Tinta de Toro) and must achieve a minimum of 12.5% alcohol by volume, but frequently reach 15%. Toro first came to prominence through the work of Manuel Fariña and Bodegas Fariña, who produce Colegiata, and Gran Colegiata. Always on my rack, though, are a few bottles of MATSU: El Picaro, a Joven with 14.5% abv. Right now I'm looking forward to a week on Monday when Vintae, the group which owns the brand, are putting on a tasting at my new wine supplier, Vinomar in Torre del Mar. I shall enjoy tasting the other wines in the MATSU range and discussing them with the makers. A distinctive feature of MATSU wines is that they are produced organically and using traditional methods of vinification. If you want to know more, this is their English-language website. http://www.bodegasmatsu.com/en/

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