If you've heard that the Toro wine region in Spain had only four wineries under its Denominacion Origen (DO) label -- the sign that it meets standards for quality -- in 1987, you might not take it too seriously. If a region ranks among the best in a country, it should have a long history of successful wineries and vineyards, right? While it wasn't known for fine wine fifty years ago, the region has a long history of making famous wines. Today, Toro boasts around 55 DO wineries, making the region a quickly up-and-coming one for quality wine [source: Wine Country Getaways].
Toro's history is rich with tales of trade, exploration and royalty. Centuries ago, the area was a hot spot for wine. The region's land was just right for the production of quality wines, and earned it a good reputation for viticulture. That reputation eventually faded, but in the last few years, the region has renewed its focus on winemaking, which has resulted in more DO wines.
In the past and even now, Toro was known for its bold red wines. The most famous wines in the region are made entirely from Tinta de Toro grapes -- 78 percent of the grapes grown in the region are this variety [source: Vinophoria].
The Toro wine region is rural and lies in central Spain as part of the Castilla y Leon area, not too far to the east of the border with Portugal. The land is quite expansive and full of softly rolling hills. Many of the region's towns are both small and old, full of examples of historic art and architecture. Aside from the region's namesake city, Toro, there are other winemaking centers, including Zamora, Morales de Toro and Venialbo.
We'll take a closer look at some of the interesting historical and cultural points of the Toro wine region next.