"Black Berry fruit concentration that comes from our north side vineyards. The 12 months ageing in French oak barrels gives the wine special muscular feel." —
Victoria Benavides, winemaker
Toro D.O.
100% Tinta de Toro from 40-year-old, north-oriented vineyards
700-725 meters / sandy clay with abundant large stones
Farming Methods
Practicing Organic
Hand harvested by an estate-employed team, picked for freshness and red-fruit character
Whole berries undergo a 1-2 day cold soak, 7 day fermentation with skins, malo-lactic conversion in stainless steel tanks
Aged for 12 months in new and used French oak barrels
Suggested Retail Price
Wine Name
Descarte 2017
94 (WE) 93 (Decanter) 93 (VM) 93 (WRO)
Score Publication Review Copy
94 Wine Enthusiast There is a nice touch of baking spice on the nose, joined by fruit-of-the-wood and hillside herb notes. Baking spices transition to the palate as well, accompanied by flavors of blackberry, black cherry, clove and orange zest. Durable tannins drift away to an espresso-bean and orange-zest finish.
M.D. - Best of the Year 2022
93 Decanter Magazine Earthy, fresh aromas of petrichor, forest floor, wild oregano, plums and dried nuts. Fantastic concentration on the palate with that same earthiness at the core, framed by firm, round tannins. Good acid drive throughout. Long finish with a spicy twist of liquorice and aniseed.
Decanter Magazine February 2023
93 Vinous Media Opaque ruby. Powerful, smoke- and spice-accented dark berry and cherry aromas, plus floral and vanilla accents that build in the glass. Sweet and youthfully chewy on the palate, offering juicy black currant and cherry cola flavors that are lifted by a spicy topnote. In a rich but surprisingly lively style, closing long and gently chewy, with building tannins and repeating floral and spice notes. 2023-2032
Josh Raynolds – July 6, 2021 Central Spain Additions
93 Wine Review Online This wine always catches me a bit off guard, and has managed to do so ever since the first vintage I tasted. When I first saw the label, my guess that it was near the low end of this producer’s offerings, but was wrong about that. Then, as a professor of political philosophy, I still couldn’t look at the label without thinking of René Descartes, but there’s no reason to think he has anything to do with the wine’s name, so that one is on me. But then, taking the playing card image on the label seriously, I figured the name meant “discard” in English, but that made no sense either, as this is so good that it is obviously not made from discarded fruit or juice or wine lots. So then I looked up the word in Spanish, only to learn that it does indeed mean “discard” in English, but it makes no sense that someone would choose what we could paraphrase, “Here’s something I chose to throw away” as a name for a premium wine. So now I’m reduced to just guessing, which like all Ph.D.’s I hate to do unless I’m playing “Charades,” but here we go: Based on the fact that the vineyard plot underlying this is north-facing, which might well have been a Northern Hemisphere disadvantage prior to climate prior to climate change, I’m guessing that the fruit from these vines might once have been though unfit for fine wine but are now valued for the freshness and purity that the wine displays, and that “Discard” is a backhanded play on this irony. But I’m sure you are tiring of my speculations, so let’s say this: The wine shows wonderful purity and even delicacy, with very classy oak notes that are notable but subtle, followed by mid-palate sensations that begin with polished impressions but then display more power as the wine unfolds, showing lots of linear drive and more depth than its weight would have suggested it could muster. That’s a surprise right there, and then the wine’s finish provides yet another surprise, with gracefulness and length that belies the power that preceded it. In brief, this is beguiling wine, and delicious too.
Michael Franz – July 20, 2021
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Descarte 2018
94 (WRO) 93 (OB) 93 (WS) 90+ (VfC)
Score Publication Review Copy
94 Wine Review Online I’ve tasted most (maybe all) of the vintages of this wine ever imported to the USA, but don’t remember one that was quite this good. 2018 was a hot year in almost all of Europe, so the fact that the vineyard sites used for this wine are north-facing may explain the delicious outcome. The finished wine shows very deep flavors and luxurious texture by comparison to the 2019 Crianza, with notes of ripe blackberries and Bing cherries alongside accents of cocoa and baking spices. Conspicuously concentrated but neither heavy nor overly assertive, this is wicked good wine right now. It will likely get even better, but few who taste it now will prove patient enough to find out.
Michael Franz - Issue: June 6, 2023
93 The 2018 ‘Descartes’ comes from 100% Tinto Fino vines that are 40 years of age. The wine reveals very concentrated black and blue fruits, with good grip and tension running through its core. With good length and finesse, this has a long life to go in the cellar. Drink 2022-2032
Owen Bargreen - August 18, 2022
93 Wine Spectator A compact red, fresh and medium- to full-bodied, with a subtle toasty overtone to the flavors of black plum and blackberry reduction, cigar box, vanilla and loamy earth. Dense tannins are fine and well-meshed, emerging on the firm finish. Tight-knit, with underlying power but overall grace, this should open with some age. Tempranillo. Best from 2025 through 2033. 850 cases made, 300 cases imported.
Wine Spectator - Oct.15, 2022
90+ View from the Cellar The Descarte bottling from Elías Mora comes from vines that are not quite as old as those that go into the Crianza, but these are still forty years of age and face north in their exposition. The wine is raised entirely French oak barrels for one year, with the casks a mix of new and used wood. The 2018 Descarte is again ripe, coming in at fifteen percent octane and delivering a quite vibrant bouquet of sappy black cherries, cassis, cigar ash, dark soil tones, chocolate, woodsmoke and cedar. On the palate the wine is deep, broad-shouldered and full-bodied, with a superb core of fruit, plenty of firm tannins and fine focus and grip on the long and youthful finish. This wine has not yet absorbed its oak tannins, so the backend is a bit rigid today. There is excellent stuffing here, so one would assume that the wood will eventually be subsumed. I really like the fruit tones here and the wine is quite cool on the finish for its octane level, but I am currently not wild about the balance here, as these oak tannins are a bit dry-edged and I would have anticipated that the wood would have all been absorbed by five years of age. I usually love this bottling from Elías Mora, but I am not sure how the 2018 is going to evolve in bottle. If the oak tannins eventually integrate into the wine, expect it to track at the top of my range of scores. In any event, the wine needs plenty of bottle age before it will have softened up enough to drink. 2033-2065? 83-
John Gilman - Issue #103 January/February 2023.
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Descarte 2019
93 (OB) 93 (WS) 92+ (VfC)
Score Publication Review Copy
93 Inky in the glass, the 2019 Descarte offers concentrated chocolate and dark currant flavors alongside a seamless mouthful and wonderful verve. Finishing long with huckleberry and black cherry compote, roasted figs, with worn leather and dark chocolate shaving notes, this is sensational wine that will age gracefully. Sourced from 40 year old Toro vines. Drink 2023-2035-
Owen Bargreen - October, 2023
93 Wine Spectator A rich red in a round and graceful, supple frame, this shows concentrated flavors of coulised blackberry and boysenberry fruit, green olive, minerally stone and smoke, with cigar box and toast accents. Features firm tannins that provide good tension and focus, while the chewy finish is lingering and well-spiced. Best from 2025 through 2034. 833 cases made, 200 cases imported.
Alison Napjus – Issue Dec. 15, 2023
92+ View from the Cellar The Descarte bottling from Elías Mora is one of his “younger vine” cuvées, as they tempranillo vines are only forty years of age. The wine is aged in French oak barrels for one year, with the casks a mix of new and used wood. The 2019 Descarte is another broad-shouldered wine, tipping the scales at fifteen percent alcohol and offering up a deep and complex nose of black cherries, sweet dark berries, cigar wrapper, coffee bean, a fine base of soil, coffee bean and smoky new oak. On the palate the wine is full-bodied, ripe and focused, with fine depth at the core, good soil undertow and grip, firm, buried tannins and a long, well balanced and still quite primary finish. This wine carries its alcohol very well indeed and really shows little signs of backend heat. It will need plenty of cellaring to blossom, but will be a fine drink once it has had time to drop some tannin. 2035-2070.
John Gilman; Issue 109, January – February 2024
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