2012 Teso la Monja "Alabaster" Toro

SKU #1333959 97 points Wine Enthusiast

 Gorgeous from head to toe, this saturated Toro heavyweight sets a new high bar for this winery and the region as a whole. Ribald blackberry aromas are toasty and carry a strong note of crushed stones. Cassis, black plum and blackberry flavors are complex and inspired, while the finish tastes of chocolaty oak, blackened toast and a black-fruit potpourri supported by just the right amount of acidity. Drink from 2017-2030.  (4/2016)

95 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 The 2012 Alabaster is produced with the fruit of three plots (Valmediano, La Jara and Marinacea) of over 100-year-old, ungrafted and dry farmed Tempranillo vineyards in Toro, totaling 11.5 hectares. The bunches were hand-destemmed and the grapes fermented in open top vats with foot treading and soft pumping over. Malolactic fermentation was carried out in new French oak barriques where the wine matured for 18 months. I visited the Valmediano vineyard, at some 700 meters altitude; it is an ancient plot surrounded by pine trees where the main enemy are rabbits that eat all the leaves, grapes and branches from a handful of vines. The three vineyards are different and complement each other. What I liked about the 2012 was the sense of harmony and the subtlety to the aromas; everything is there, but nothing takes the leading role and the wine shows itself compact and as one, perfectly in synchronicity. There is something that made me think of Bordeaux here, perhaps that combination of energy, power and elegance. The palate is really balanced with ultra-refined tannins and a fine thread of acidity going through the core that is long and persistent. This wine is subtle, complex and elegant. This is the best wine I've ever tasted from Teso La Monja. As a reference, I tasted the 2010 that is also a superb vintage from Alabaster side by side with this, and there is one extra degree of depth and subtlety in this 2012. The 2010 is aging at glacial pace, and I don't see why the 2012 shoul  (10/2015)

95 points Vinous

 Bright purple. Deeply scented spice- and smoke-accented aromas of ripe cherries, boysenberry and cassis, lifted by a suave floral element. Shows impressive depth and vivacity to its black and blue fruit liqueur flavors sharpened by juicy acidity; a smoky mineral quality adds another element. Supple, harmonious tannins come on late, adding focus to the sweet, strikingly long, mineral-driven finish."  (9/2014)

K&L Notes

This is a big boy, an ancient vine Tempranillo (tinto del pais as the local, smaller berried clone is known) that shows incredibly rich, lush, spicy black fruit, as well as all the high quality toast and sweet spice notes you would expect from 18 months ageing in new, top quality French oak. For fans of the garagiste style right bank Bordeaux and Napa cult wines.

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Price: $179.99
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- A very important red grape varietal that's native to Northern Spain, grown across the north and central regions of the country. Low in acid and alcohol, with subtle strawberry, leather and tobacco notes, the grape responds well to oak aging and plays particularly well with others. Tempranillo is an important component, when combined with Garnacha, Mazuelo, Viura and Graciano, of Rioja, with the best examples coming for the cooler, higher-elevation regions like Rioja Alta and Rioja Alavesa. It is also grown in significant quantities in the Ribera del Duero where it is called Tinto Fino and Penèdes where it is called Ull de Llebre o Ojo de Llebre. Tempranillo hasn't gained a particularly strong foothold outside of Spain, achieving some success under the name Tinto Roriz in Portugal. There it is used as a component of Port and in the table wines of the Ribera del Duero and the Dão.


- With more land under vine than any other country in the world, Spain is the great sleeping wine giant. In recent years, a great deal of money and passion has been poured in the burgeoning Spanish wine industry, helping to improve quality among its vast array of wines from sparkling Cava to Sherry to Rioja Gran Reserva. The most important red-wine-producing regions are Rioja, Ribera del Duero and Navarra in the north and Priorat and Penedes in the northeast.
Alcohol Content (%): 14.5