Three days spent at the Concours Mondial de Bruxelles can be very intense, with a full schedule, meetings with amazing people and the great desire not to miss anything and see everything. Mornings are busy with the program of the competition, tastings, evaluations, analyzes, the afternoons are for vineyard visiting and the evenings for late dinners with new friends.
As we are quite many attending such an event, we divide into smaller groups; a few committees, one bus. Dozens of buses. Usually, tasters are grouped according to their countries of origin and choose something they have not seen before. That’s how I chose Toro, yielding Ribera del Duero, where I had already been, at the suggestion of Horia, the All-Knowing (we do not call him Hikipedia for nothing :)). We gathered around 6, together with our colleagues from Moldova. We are already a serious Greater Romania team, which grows every year.
The first stop was in the vineyard of the Toro region, absolutely unique through the presence of the “rolling stones”, as they were presented to us, in the reddish soil full of iron oxides and therefore suitable for red wines. Let us not forget the constantly blowing wind which, I understand, is quite strong all year-round. It is the reason why the vine is grown as a bush, very close to the ground. What is more, this type of wind provides a fairly strong air circulation and so the plant is protected from possible diseases. The yield is, however, quite significant.
After we were almost blown away by the wind ourselves, but we still took these wonderful pictures, we went on a tour of the beautiful medieval town of Toro, organized by the local association of producers. The cathedral, the narrow streets, the old wine cellar of the city transformed into a kind of wine house where you can find information about the producers, the history of the wine and the local varieties were all points of a superb itinerary. The beautiful, chic and well-organized town set on the banks of the Duero River has a very romantic charm.
The rain that started did not bother us very much, we just froze a little. In exchange, the locals warmly welcomed us in the middle of the corrida arena, to taste local wines and products, accompanied by a beautiful flamenco to which even horses danced. Everything was done in that special way that only Latin nations know how to do it: with passion.