Dominio del Bendito

Frenchman Antony Terryn is one of the most unconventional winemakers in Toro. He discovered this region thanks to fellow countryman Jean François Hébrard, winemaker at Quinta Quietud where he completed his internship. Hébrard encouraged him to settle in the area, and nowadays Terryn is one of Toro’s fiercest defenders — he is utterly captivated by its “exceptional” heritage of old, ungrafted vines, some of which are prephylloxeric.

He named his project after the Spanish word bendito —one of its meanings is joyful which perfectly suits his state of mind when working with such old vines. “I don’t want vines that need to be pampered; if it’s dying it’s not fit to survive,” says this maverick producer. Antony favours sandy soils —“the sandier, the better”, he says— as the best way to achieve finesse. No wonder most of his vines are located in the well-known Pago La Jara, south of the town of Toro.

Terryn grows around 22 hectares of vines, 15 of which are his own. One of the few winemakers in the area employing cement vats, he describes his winemaking style as “simple and intuitive”, but acknowledges resorting to technology when needed. In his opinion, pH levels are really bad in the region; acidity is low albeit very stable and tannins have a particular refreshing quality. He is positive about his wines’ ability to age but regrets not having filtered them in his early years in the area since those first vintages have developed a barnyard character with time.

El Primer Paso (“the first step” in English) is a perfect introduction to Toro reds: powerful yet not heavy, fruit-driven and showing the area’s distinctive rustic-earthy edge. The opulent and enveloping Las Sabias comes from 45+ year-old vines, while Titán del Bendito is made with the oldest, ungrafted vines from Pago La Jara and aims to show the purest expression of Toro’s terroir. It’s also a highly concentrated red intended to be laid down.

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