The wines of Monte la Reina, Toro, Spain
Visiting an ambitious new producer in the northwest of Spain



Monte la Reina is an ambitious new estate in Toro, on the site of a Posada Real (Royal Inn). The estate has a refurbished castle and impressive new winery, as well as 300 hectares of vines split over two plots (150 hectares at Monte La Reina, with another 150 between Pedrosa and Villaester). As well as the vineyards, the estate also has 1700 hectares of game reserve. The altitude here is 700 metres.

The project, which started in 2004, is headed by managing director José Inaraja (pictured above), who is just 34. I met with him and sales and export manager Inma Rodríguez. 

The impressive winery is a new purpose-built facility with a long array of separate areas, which can be maintained at different temperatures (for example, there’s a barrel room that can be heated to facilitate malolactic fermentation).

Wine tourism is a big focus here. There’s a wine shop, a large restaurant (which can deal with an impressive 400 covers) and the castle offers luxury accommodation.

The vineyards have the typical soils of the area, with large pebbles over clay. The trellising system has been adapted for high quality viticulture: the height has been raised to get a larger canopy. Irrigation is used when needed.

The range of wines includes the usual array of reds from Toro, based on the Tinto del Toro variety (Tempranillo). The continental climate here, with hot summers and cold winters, with heat moderated by the effects of altitude, produces deep-coloured fruit-rich reds.  


Monte La Reina Verdejo 2009 Toro
Very assertive nose: grassy, aromatic and with some tropical notes. Fresh and rich at the same time. The palate is nicely dense with ripe fruit and some savoury, slightly bitter citrus pith notes as well as richer melony fruit. 87/100

Spanish Steps Toro 2008
(This is one of a branded series of Spanish wines created by Nick Oakley for the UK market.) Wonderfully bright, fresh, pure raspberry and dark cherry fruit with a bit of grip. Nice bright fruit here with some meaty, savoury depth. Lovely fruit expression. 87/100

Face to Face 2009 Vin de la Tierra de Castilla y Leon
Beautifully fresh, berryish and fruity with vibrant, juicy cherry and spice notes. Sweet, pure, focused fruit in a deliciously fresh, joyful style. 86/100

Monte La Reina Tertius 2009 Toro
14% alcohol. Lovely fresh, bright rounded berry, blackberry and dark cherry fruit. Sweet and rounded but fresh and quite pure. Stylish. 85/100

Castillo de Monte La Reina Roble 2008 Toro
13.5% alcohol. Hint of tar and spice from the oak, with some creamy vanilla notes adding sweetness. Fresh cherry and plum fruit on the vibrant, pure palate. An appealing, warm style of wine that works really well in a commercial style. 87/100

Monte La Reina Fermentado en Barrica 2007 Toro
14.5% alcohol. This spends 11 months in new French oak. Sweet, aromatic blackberry fruit nose with some spicy oak notes. Hints of tar and balsamic vinegar. Vivid, sweet dark fruit on the palate which is quite fresh, with some taut spicy oak. Finishes lively and fresh. 89/100

Monte La Reina VS Vendemia Seleccionada 2005 Toro
This spends two years in French oak. Very sweet, aromatic dark fruits nose with some creamy coconut and vanilla oak in the background. The palate has nice concentration with lovely vibrant sweet, dense, dark fruits and a sweet finish. Plenty of oak here, but lots of fruit too. 90/100

Monte La Reina Inaraja 2004 Toro
A barrel selection, spending 15 months in French oak. 15% alcohol. Intense, spicy and dense with earthy spicy notes, some tar and a bit of herbiness. Dense with structured fruit and well integrated oak. Quite tannic, but the oak provides a softening balance. 91/100

See also:

Visiting Arribes, Spain
Visiting Rioja, Spain

Wines tasted 03/10  
Find these wines with

Back to top