Vinedos de Yaso
Vinedos de Yaso is in the Toro region of Spain, which is part of Castilla y Leon, the vast part of Spain northwest of Madrid and which is bisected by the Duero River. Toro is also along the Duero River and is about 80 miles west of the heart of the Ribera del Duero and about 40 miles west of Valladolid. Aside from the waters of the Duero, this is also a very dry and harsh part of Spain with hot summers and cold winters. Those conditions have resulted in the reputation of Toro as being a producer of "big and bold" wines given the heat during the growing season.
In my own search for interesting and expressive wines, however, I have found a very interesting producer in Yaso. Their skilled farming on over 20 parcels in the region with vines ranging from 15 years of age to over 120 years of age on a wide range of local soil types, results in wines of more nuance, balance, and expressiveness than the typical big and bold wines of the region.
The expressiveness is also enabled by what is very interesting complexity in the local Tinta de Toro grape varietal. While the varietal is often described as a "variety of Tempranillo" it actually only shares about 60 percent of the genetic characteristics of Tempranillo. The berries in the clusters are smaller which results in richer and more deeply flavored wines, the leaves of the vines are very different, and Tinta de Toro has a longer growing cycle than the earlier ripening Tempranillo (temprano means "early" in Espanol).
The result is some fun material to work with for a skilled winemaker. The easy approach in such a region would be to make the same style as most other producers given the very ripe grapes that are produced in the area. But, what I love about the Yaso wines is that the winemaker has skillfully created wines with their own personalities from the wide range of parcels that they farm and which are far more drinkable and enjoyable than the "bigger" and more rustic wines that are usually produced in the region.
Different vineyard parcels farmed by Vinedos de Yaso
Sandy red iron rich soil intermixed with limestone
Yaso has nicely undulating vineyard parcels in what is mostly a flat environment
Developing clusters; notice the spiky leaves and the densely bunched berries - this is not Tempranillo!
A parcel of 100 year old vines
Aromas include rich dark cherries and plums, dark chocolate, nectarines, pomegranate, and blood orange. Flavors include raspberries, dark cherries, and blackberries. There is a medium body, good balance and acidity, and a saturated lingering finish complemented by the rich fruit of the Tinta de Toro grapes.
Food pairings would include beef stew, short ribs, veal chops, port chops, pork shoulder, grilled chicken, salmon, tuna, mussels, paella, jambalaya, cassoulet, coq au vin, jambon iberico, Asian beef, pork, and chicken dishes, chile verde, mild and medium cheeses, and creamy pasta dishes.
Flor de Matteria 2016
Aromas include rich dark cherries, dark plums, and hints of caramel. Flavors include blackberries, boysenberries, blueberries, and plums. There is a medium body, perfect balance and acidity, and an elegant, lingering, minerally, and fully saturated finish.
Food pairings would include filet mignon, short ribs, beef stew, veal chops, veal stew, pork chops, pork shoulder, lamb, chicken paella, grilled sausages, salmon, tuna, Asian beef and pork dishes, lamb curries, Basque food, and medium cheeses.