Monday, 23 May 2011

Icons - Torres

Hello all!

Following the overwhelming response to my poll last week, I've decided on a little shift-of-focus for a while. So may I introduce the "Icons" series. In this I will explore Iconic producers and wines that, either in my opinion, or the wider (and wiser) wine press', are considered to offer great quality to price ratio. The essence of Wine Blog for the Frugal, if you will. Some may be true beacons of value in a sea of pish, others maybe not. I'd like to find out...

So without further ado, we've recently had two stunning wines, in terms of both quality and price, from arguably the most well known Spanish producer; Torres. Situated Pacs de Penedes, in the autonomous Catalonia region (near the city of Barcelona) Miguel Torres and his family produce great value wines. Decanter's Man of the Year 2002 and fourth generation Torres runs the winery with his two youngest, Mireia and Miguel Jr. They have wineries in Chile and the Russian River Valley in the US (run by Miguel's sister Marimar) along with several in Spain, including regions such as Ribera del Duero, Rioja Alavesa and Priorat. They do, of course, produce some very fine, high-end wines such as Reserva Real, Grans Muralles and Perpetual, but for me, the value is to be had in the wines from the Pacs de Penedes winery. It's production quantities are large, hence the value, but I don't believe in labelling this a "Mega-Brand" as it still has an air of family-produced craftsmanship, rather than the Spanish version of Hardy's. Perhaps in testament to, or maybe just support for a local company, or even pandering to tourists' whims, but on a recent visit to Barcelona, Torres wines were a staple on the restaurants' and cafes' wine lists.

Anyway, two of the best we had were as follows:

Torres, Sangre de Toro, 2008, Catalunya
Literally meaning "Blood of the Bull", named after Bacchus the God of Wine (I kid you not) who was the "Son of the Bull". This is a blend of Garnacha (Grenache) and Cariñena....13.5%

The Look: A deep purple with a lipstick-red rim.
The Smell: Beautiful smell for a wine of this price. Spicy raspberries from the Garnacha plus lots of other fruit; blackberries, black cherries and plums, meaty, violets and a bit of oak.
The Taste: Loads of fruit, powerful blackberry and spice. Fresh, bright acidity and a long finish. Really good!
The Score: Punches well-above its weight. Excellent 8/10. Highly Recommended
VFM: At about £5 to £8 depending on where you get it (Waitrose had it for £5.21 recently and Majestic had it for £5.99) this is a real bargain. An absolutely first class VFM = 1.54 to 1.0.

Torres, Vina Esmerelda, 2010, Catalunya
There was a story about this wine, named after a family member, who would often be at tastings to serve it, but I forget...I know that's not much use! Anyway, a blend of mainly Moscatel and some Gewurztraminer (about 15%) this tips the scales at 11.5%. [Apologies for the photo on this, I've recently sold my DSLR and had to make do with a camera phone (soon to be rectified!)]

The Look: A clear, bright watery-white with a lemon tinge.
The Smell: Great nose, very powerful and aromatic. Peachy, elderflower, lots of fruit with some tropical whiffs, maybe passion fruit?
The Taste: Really peachy and smooth, bags of fruit, apricot, peach yogurt creaminess, some elderflower. Very long with a burst of zest citrus/tropical fruit right at the end. So drinkable and possibly D's new favourite White!
The Score: Cracking wine. Moreish. 8/10. Highly Recommended
VFM: Again about £7 to £8 depending on where you get it (Waitrose had it for £7.30 recently and Majestic had it for £7.99) this is again, a bargain. Great VFM at 1.14 to 1.0.

So, I hope you enjoyed the first "Icons"  installment. Plenty more on the way, stay tuned.

As always, speak to you soon!



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