Elias Mora Crianza

"This is my classic wine. Toasty, dark berry aromas with mineral and balsamic touches." —
Victoria Benavides, winemaker
Toro D.O.
100% Tinta de Toro (Tempranillo), from 50-year-old, own-rooted, bush vines
700 meters / clay over limstone with sand and pebbles on the surface
Farming Methods
Practicing Organic
Hand harvested into small boxes at the end of September
Whole berries undergo a 3 day cold soak, fermentation and malo-lactic conversion in stainless steel tanks
Aged for 12 months in 50% French and 50% American oak barrels, all second fill
Suggested Retail Price
Wine Name
Elias Mora Crianza 2012
92 (WE) 92 (VM) 92 (RP) 91 (Peñin) 90 (W&S)
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92 Wine Enthusiast Toasty, warm, lusty dark-berry aromas are laced with a subtle animal accent. This is a big wine, with a fleshy, tannic, muscular feel. Flavors of blackberry, mocha and chocolate finish in fine form, with moderate tannic grip and all sorts of length. Drink this excellent Toro through 2022.
Editors’ Choice
August 2016
92 Vinous Media Bright violet color. Highly expressive, focused cherry, dark berry, coconut and vanilla aromas expand with aeration. Sweet and seamless on the palate, offering intense blackberry and cherry compote flavors with exotic oak spice and floral pastille nuances. In a plush, inviting style, showing no rough edges. Velvety tannins add shape to the fairly powerful finish. This suave wine was fermented in stainless steel tanks and then aged for a year in 50% new French and 50% used American oak barrels. 2020 – 2025
92 The Wine Advocate The dark 2012 Crianza Elías Mora feels serious, concentrated and ripe without excess, with a dominance of black fruit and plenty of spices. This wine is powerful and concentrated, yes, but it's fresh and balanced, and the tannins are present but fine-grained. This is an impressive Crianza. Looking at last year's notes, I see that this wine was also my favorite then. This wine is good for consistency.
Issue 221, October 29, 2015
91 Guia Penin Guia Penin 2016
90 Wine & Spirits Magazine By Eias Mora’s standards, 50-years old vines are young, their fruit destine for his Crianza bottling. The age of the vines gives depth to this Toro, a red that’s wild in tannins, tremendous in structure and full of black fruit flavors. Ideal for grilled lamb.
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Elias Mora Crianza 2014
92 (IWR) 91 (Peñin)
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92 International Wine Report The 2014 Elias Mora 'Crianza' was aged for 12 months in a combination of French and American oak prior to bottling. Needing some air contact to open, after time this begins to show a ripe bouquet of graphite, crushed mint, blackberry pie and milk chocolate shavings. Nicely balanced, blue fruit flavors begins to emerge that beautifully combine with black fruits and chocolate. Overall a fantastic Toro, which should will continue to evolve nicely over the next decade or more.
June 2018
91 Guia Penin Guia Penin 2018
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Elias Mora Crianza 2015
91 (WS) 91 (Peñin) 88 (VfC)
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91 Wine Spectator Plush and polished, this red delivers ripe flavors of roasted cherry, fig compote and cocoa, with well-integrated tannins and balsamic acidity. Generous and even gentle, but offers good depth. Drink now through 2027.
August 31, 2019
91 Guia Penin Guia Penin 2019
88 View from the Cellar The 2015 Crianza from Elias Mora is a touch riper than the 2015 entry level bottling I reviewed quite positively a couple of issues back, as this is a full fifteen percent octane (versus 14.5 for the previous example). The wine sees no new oak during its elevage, as it is raised for a year in a fifty-fifty mix of American and French casks that are already one year-old. The wine offers up a ripe and classy bouquet of black cherries, sweet dark berries, some balsamic overtones, cigar wrapper, a fine base of soil tones and a bit of vanillin oak. On the palate the wine is deep, powerful and full, with excellent depth at the core, broad shoulders and a long, moderately tannic and complex finish. This carries its alcohol pretty well, but at fifteen percent, there is a bit of backend heat poking out. This is a very well-made wine that is a bit too ripe for my palate, which keeps its score down a bit, but this is Toro in the twenty-first century and until something gets done about global warming, this is how these wines are going to be. In that context, this is truly a superb effort and if you can handle the octane better than I on the finish, add four points to me score, as there is a lot to like here! 2018-2035+.
Issue #78 - November/December 2018
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Elias Mora Crianza 2016
93 (WRO) 92 (WB) 92 (TA) 92 (VM) 91 (WE) 91 (Peñin) 91 (WS)
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93 Wine Review Online Although this terrific Crianza release will ultimately outlive and probably surpass the 2017 Tinto from Elias Mora, it is only barely the better wine in the near term except for those who love oak spice and expect it from their Spanish reds. To be clear, though, the oak is beautifully measured to accent the fruit, which is itself so rich and sappy that it can easily handle the spicy, toasty notes without being overwhelmed. Indeed, the core of fruit is so concentrated and compelling that I’m tempted to write “bloody” rather than “sappy,” as the rich texture and salty undertones really do taste like a bloody lip in the wake of one of the pond hockey fights of my youth. Not everyone would like that simile, of course, but the Spanish know a bit about bull’s blood…which is surely what this region was named for in the Middle Ages, rather than bulls themselves. Terrific now with food but really crafted for a decade’s worth of cellaring, you can use it according to your preferences and hit the mark either way.
Michael Franz - August 18, 2020
92 Washington Wine Blog The 2016 Elias Mora ‘Crianza’ Toro is a fabulous value from this mountainous region. Toasty oak wraps around the core of dark currants, pipe tobacco and leather tones on the nose. The palate has wonderful freshness and verve, with a silky texture. Layers of dark fruits dance with bchpcoate and minerals with smoky undertones. Every bit outstanding, this beautiful ‘Crianza’ Toro will cellar well for a decade or more. Drink 2020-2030.
Dr. Owen J. Bargreen, CS - July 2020
92 Tim Atkin MW This is ‘just’ a Crianza, but it has lovely perfume, balance and precision, with chalky freshness and brightness, fine-boned tannins, violet and red berry fruit and the subtlest dusting of French and American oak. Elegant, even at 15% alcohol.
December 10, 2020
92 Vinous Media Brilliant ruby-red. Expressive, mineral-accented aromas of ripe red fruits, candied flowers and baking spices. Sweet and animated in the mouth, offering juicy raspberry and cherry liqueur flavors enlivened by a cracked pepper accent. Smoothly combines richness and liveliness and finishes with sharp focus, lingering sweetness and supple tannins that add gentle grip. 2022 – 2030
Josh Raynolds - February 2021
91 Wine Enthusiast Concentrated blackberry and cassis aromas lead to a full and intense palate. Toasty blackberry, cassis, vanilla and chocolate flavors are nothing unusual for this consistent producer, while this crianza feels warm and weighty but doesn’t lose clarity on the finish. Drink through 2024. —M.S.
December 2020
91 Guia Penin Colour: cherry, purple rim. Nose: fruit expression, red berry notes, spicy, dried flowers. Palate: flavourful, fruity, good acidity, long elegant.
Guia Peñin 2020
91 Wine Spectator This red is rich and deep, in a savory style. Espresso, loamy earth and mineral notes frame currant, fig, cocoa and clove flavors. The muscular tannins are well-integrated, while firm acidity keeps this focused. Compact but energetic. Drink now through 2028. 7,000 cases made, 1,500 cases imported. — TM
October 2020
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Elias Mora Crianza 2017
92 (WRO) 91 (WE) 90 (VfC)
Score Publication Review Copy
92 Wine Review Online Proprietor and winemaker Victoria Benavides releases muscular but graceful wines under the “Elias Mora” label, which was the name of the former owner of the vineyard. Who names their wines after somebody else, once they’ve purchased the assets, regardless of the forerunner’s contribution? Nobody in California, for sure, but a respectful person I hope to meet someday, in this case. This bottling is the least expensive of the four current releases from the bodega that I recently tasted side-by-side, yet it neither looks nor tastes like an “entry level wine.” Very deeply pigmented, with medium-plus body and excellent depth of flavor, it shows an impressive array of complexities atop a core of dark cherry and blackberry fruit. There’s notable oak influence that shows mostly in the aromas and in some spicy flavor accents but virtually no wood tannin. Consequently, the wine’s overall impression is of pure, perfectly ripened fruit, and there’s really no need to hold this to allow the oak to be absorbed. Cellaring is still advisable, as the fruit will hold its purity and power for years, during which time “bottle bouquet” will add additional layers of aroma and flavor.
Michael Franz – Issue July 20, 2021
91 Wine Enthusiast Deep garnet in the glass, this wine has aromas of cassis, raspberry and vanilla. It tastes well made, with velvety tannins and flavors of black cherry, black currant, dark chocolate, clove and lavender that continue into the floral finish.
Mike DeSimone – April 2022
90 View from the Cellar The 2017 Crianza from Bodega Elias Mora is a big, ripe wine, coming in at fifteen percent octane in this vintage. The bouquet offers up impressive depth in its blend of black cherries, cassis, saddle leather, cigar ash, dark soil tones, nutty new oak and a smoky topnote. On the palate the wine is full-bodied, plush on the attack and rock solid at the core, with ripe, fairly firm tannins, good focus and grip and a long, youthfully complex and really quite well balanced finish. This carries its octane very well and only shows a whisper of backend heat. It really is a very well-made wine that will need six to eight years to properly soften up and start to drink at its peak. 2027-2050+.
John Gilman - Issue #91 / February 2021
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Elias Mora Crianza 2018
93 (WE) 93 (VfC) 93 (OB) 93 (WRO)
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93 Wine Enthusiast Dark garnet in the glass, this wine has a nose of fruits of the wood and dark chocolate. Rugged tannins play host to flavors of black cherry, pomegranate, dark chocolate, clove and violet that endure into a long-lasting finish.
Mike DeSimone - Issue May 2023
93 View from the Cellar The Crianza bottling from Elías Mora is made from much older vines than the regular Tinto, with these bush-trained vineyards fully fifty years of age. The wine is aged in a fifty-fifty blend of French and American oak casks, but for this bottling, the barrels are one year of age. The 2018 vintage was a hot one in Toro, so this wine comes in at a full fifteen percent octane, but is impressively fresh and vibrant on the nose, wafting from the glass in a mix of black cherries, plums, chocolate, cigar wrapper, a superb base of soil and a combination of vanillin and spicy oak tones. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied and quite suave in personality, with a plush core of fruit, good soil undertow, ripe, firm tannins and a long, complex and really quite well-balanced finish. This is a top flight example of Toro! 2030-2080.
John Gilman – Issue #98 March/April 2022
93 OwenBargreen.com Sourced from 50 year old Tina de Toro vines, this generous Toro offers a very fleshy texture with rich blue fruits that collide with wet stone, tilled soils and pencil lead flavors. Drink 2022-2032
Owen Bargreen - August 18, 2022
93 Wine Review Online ($40, Grapes of Spain / Aurelio Cabestrero): In the northwest of Castille, immediately around Toro, the Tempranillo grape is known as "Tinta de Toro" – ink of the bull. The local strain of Tempranillo has evolved over centuries to cope with hot days in summer and very cold nights for much of the year, and is often not trained on wires but rather “head pruned” as low-yielding “bush vines." This 2018 Tinta de Toro from Bodegas Elias Mora is a prime example of the region's ability to produce bold and expressive wines. Blackberries, ripe plums, and hints of cherries are interwoven with a layer of clove, graphite and dark chocolate, contributing to the wine's complexity. The tannins are firm yet well-integrated, providing structure without being overpowering. There’s no doubt that this wine has the structure and balance to age for at least a decade more. If drinking now, consider decanting to allow the wine to fully express its incredible depth and complexity
Miranda Franco; Feb 6, 2024.
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Elias Mora Crianza 2019
93 (WE) 93 (OB) 92 (WRO) 91 (WS)
Score Publication Review Copy
93 Wine Enthusiast Deep violet in the glass, this wine has a bouquet of brambly fruits of the wood, dark chocolate and espresso. Bold cherry and blackberry flavors are joined by notes of mocha, orange zest and ground black pepper. Burly tannins assert their dominance on the palate shortly after the first sip.
Mike DeSimone - Issue May 2023
93 OwenBargreen.com The 2019 ‘Crianza’ comes from estate vines planted to Tinta de Toro that are set at 800 meters. The wine shows a beautiful bouquet of dark raspberry and dark chocolate shavings alongside tar and underbrush notes. The palate is soft and refined with silky tannins and a big sense of weight. Finishing long, this is a marvelous effort that is already impossible to resist. Drink 2023-2035- 93
Owen Bargreen - October, 2023
92 Wine Review Online This offering seemed surprisingly tart and acidic when the cork was first pulled, but opened up and broadened out in just a few minutes without any aeration or decanting. Still, rather astringent tannins in the wine’s finish suggest that this needs more time in bottle to achieve a fully coherent profile. One way to test that is to try the wine again a day later, which is exactly what I did with this wine and all the others reviewed below. When re-tasted, the tannins had rounded out somewhat, but there was still clear room for improvement with aging, as the wine’s acidity was quite bright and a bit awkward in relation to the ripe sweetness of the fruit. To be clear, I would be disappointed in a $40 wine that did not show a capacity for improvement from cellaring, so this is not a knock on this wine — just advice for how to treat it. One more thing: $40 would seem like an insane price for Crianza if this were from Rioja, as that’s become a largely woeful category populated mostly by $15 wines that taste more like the inside of a barrel than like “wine.” This is from 50-year-old, own-rooted bush vines, and is an utterly different animal. It deserves cellaring, and it you don’t have the patience or space to do that, lean toward the 2018 “Descarte” from this house.
Michael Franz - Issue: June 6, 2023
91 Wine Spectator A graceful red that deftly marries a dense core of fine tannins with a fresh and appealing range of ripe black plum, cassis, licorice string, toast and cigar box notes—a flavor profile that expands on the palate. Tempranillo. Drink now through 2027. 3,750 cases made, 700 cases imported.
Wine Spectator - Oct.15, 2022
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Elias Mora Crianza 2020
94 (WRO) 93 (WS)
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94 Wine Review Online Bodega Elías Mora, Toro (Castilla y León, Spain) Crianza 2020 ($40, Grapes of Spain / Aurelio Cabestrero): Wine lovers who don’t know the history and caliber of the Toro appellation (located to the northwest of Madrid) may well bridle at a price of $40 for a wine designated as “Crianza,” so a bit of background is in order. “Crianza” is a word made famous in Rioja, where it really only serves to indicate a wine that was oak aged, often in rather raw wood that imparts more flavor to the finished wine than the liquid in the bottle. This, in turn, was (and is still) often explained by the fact that high-yielding clones of Tempranillo were developed to enable big wineries to crank out inexpensive wines juked up with all that oak and sell them in supermarkets all over the world — as well as in beach towns to foreign tourists all the way back in the Franco era during the 1960s and ’70s. Toro was never in that game, commercially speaking, and was never invaded by those high-yielding clones (though a few producers have used them), so the very appearance of the word “Crianza” on the label of this wine from this excellent producer is really only intended to distinguish the pecking order of the wines within the lineup of releases. My opinion is that the presence of the word does more harm than good, but then, nobody asked me. Regarding the wine, my opinion is that it is packed with ripe, delicious fruit flavor that easily outruns the considerable oak that is also evident, but utilized in this to guarantee longevity and add complexity. Quite nicely proportioned on a big frame, this a powerful and intense without being heavy, with purity of fruit (a hallmark of this house) that keeps the oak at bay. Already delicious, but better in five years, and likely much better in ten.
Michael Franz; May 21, 2024
93 Wine Spectator A harmonious red, seamlessly knit and expressive, showing a subtle, pleasing juiciness to the range of bitter cherry and black plum reduction, dried flower and thyme, smoke and espresso flavors. Features fine, satiny tannins that provide supple definition through to the lightly spiced finish. Drink now through 2030.
Alison Napus – October 31, 2023
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