El Recio 2020 – Bodegas Matsu.
Bodegas Matsu represents a journey through time, through several generations dedicated to life on the land. Youth, maturity and old age. Four wines originating in the D.O. Toro needing more than one hundred years for their elaboration with the grape from centenary vineyards, the wisdom inherited from generations of winemakers who continue to grow the vines in an artisan way using the most ancestral techniques.
The four wines; El Pícaro, El Recio, El Viejo and La Jefa personify the essence of Matsu, their individual relationship with the land in accordance with their age and their life stage. The impressive faces on each bottle show the heroes who work there. El Picaro is the strength, the impudence, and the courage of youth; El Recio is the perfect balance between youth and maturity; El Viejo is the complexity that only centenary vineyards provide; and finally, La Jefa is the charisma of a daring surprise.
In this review we are reviewing the 2020 vintage of El Recio.
About the Region
Toro is located west of Castilla y Léon, alongside the river Duero (River Duero is called River Douro in Portugal.) Like neighboring Ribera del Duero and Rueda, the inland D.O. has a high altitude (about 650-750m) in a continental climate with hot, dry summers and cold winters, significantly impacting the wines’ characteristics. Higher altitudes increase sun exposure which ripens fruits well while decreasing temperature at nighttime which retains the acidity high due to the enormous diurnal temperature range. Also, many old vines exist in this region, where 1/5 of vines are over fifty years old and many over one hundred years old still exist, producing smaller berries with higher concentration.
The main variety in this region, Tinta de Toro, is a type of Tempranillo that has adapted to the local climate. However, compared to the Tempranillo in Rioja, Tinta de Toro is thought to have thicker skins and small berries, making wine with greater color and higher tannins level thanks to the climatic condition and old vines.
Despite the long history of winemaking from the Columbus era, Toro has been hampered from the top reputation for a long time. However, for the past few decades, as neighboring Ribera del Duero became increasingly popular and its land prices rose, many investors and critics have come to Toro from Spain and around the world and have brought out the hidden gems. Now, 63 wineries are guaranteed by the D.O. Toro.
About the Winery
Matsu means ‘to wait’ in Japanese, which expresses a tribute to all the viticulturists who have worked in the vineyard for centuries, devoting their effort, respect, and sacrifice.
Bodegas Matsu started as a project by the Vintae group, which found the largest pre-Phylloxera vineyards in the D.O. Toro. Thanks to exceptional climatic conditions and privileged soil that prevents the appearance of pests and diseases in the vineyards, Matsu has favored the maintenance of ancestral viticulture based on respect for natural rhythms, with a philosophy of low intervention both in vineyards and cellar. Another great thing that Vintae found is the farmers there, leading to the tribute for them. All the wines in Matsu are vegan-friendly, with V-Label – EU trademark.
About the Wine
El Recio is made with 100% Tempranillo (Tinta de Toro) from ninety to one hundred years old vines. After being hand-picked, it fermented with indigenous yeast for 14 days in concrete tanks, followed by 14 months of aging in French oak barrels of second use. Softly filtered, it is released.
Generous fruits are pure and clean, and the developing notes are well-balanced and integrated. Ripe red plum, cassis, and strawberry fruits are accentuated by nutmeg, licorice, and dried flower. Oak usage is not exaggerated but complements the flavors and developing notes, ranging from vanilla, clove, chocolate, mocca, tobacco, wet leaves, earth, and forest floor on the nose. On the palate, vibrant acidity and ripe grainy tannins are structured. Its high alcohol stands out but is not left as a warming sensation- complex and savory wine with a harmonious profile.
This wine has high alcohol, higher acidity, and tannins but is surprisingly easy to drink because of its balance and integration. Its strong price point truly is exceptional. The privileged condition of the climate, terroir, and old vines makes a great value-for-money wine here.
Taste date: April 2023
Score: 90/100 DWA Score
Website: Bodega Matsu