‘Alvaro Domecq, 68, is one of Spain’s most famous bull breeders, made a fortune in sherry wine. Dressed in the traditional Andalusian costume, Alvaro chairs this tienta for two-years-old cows, to select the mothers of his future fighting bulls. The most combative cows will stay on the ranch to breed, while the others will be sent to the slaughterhouse.
The dozen men seated around the ring are Alvaro’s relatives or friends. Silence is only disturbed by the guttural shouts of the young bullfighter, waving his red muleta under the cow’s nose. His purpose is not to kill the cow, but to test its behavior. “It’s an honor to be invited by Don Alvaro, in this famous ganaderia,” says César Varguas Girón, 24, his hair stuck by sweat on his forehead. “In winter, tientas are the best training for us, before the start of the fighting season.”
The name of the ranch that bred the hero of the day is always mentioned on the poster announcing the day’s fight. Andalusian aficionados spend their nights in Seville’s bodegas, drinking sherry wine, eating tapas and comparing virtues of Torrestrella’s, Fuente Ymbro’s or Cebada Gago’s “brave” bulls…’ An extract from the story by Helene Constanty that was published with these pictures.