Dinner with Miguel Torres Maczassek of Torres
Bodegas Torres is a 140 year-old business best-known for its range of mainstream Spanish wines; family owned and with no corporate shareholders or the stock market to answer to the family the company reinvests the vast majority of its profits in development, making long- term decisions.
In Chile, it has formed a co-operative for growers to make a sparkling rosé out of the workhorse grape Pais - with impressive results.
There is also a 20-year project to develop the country's first slate-soil vineyard, where challenges have included netting each bush vine by hand to keep predatory birds away from the grapes.
Miguel's view is that Chile is yet to fulfil its oenological potential and that the future involves moving in a more European direction. Asked about his local heroes, he mentions only his father who went there in the late 1970s and single-handedly modernised the local wine industry.
Back in Spain, they are helping to rediscover forgotten indigenous varieties in Catalunya (36 and counting) and are tapping into the growing success of Albarino with Pazo de Bruxas, a blend of grapes from the Atlantic coast for freshness and inland O Rosal for weight.
Miguel Torres, Santa Digna Estelado, Sparkling Pais NV (£12 Fareham Wines, Soho Wine Supplies, Hailsham cellars, Sandhams Wines) fresh, elegant, fruit-led fizz
Torres Pazo de Bruxas Albarino 2013 (£12, mostly on-trade, some online) named after local Celtic witchcraft, fresh, lemony and precise
Miguel Torres Cordillera Chardonnay 2013 (£10.99 Yorkshire Vintners, Thos Peatling, Fareham Wines) New World fruit, subtle oaking and a European sensibility
Torres Salmos (Priorat) 2011 (£18-20, Taurus Wines, Hedonism, Aitken Wines, Waitrose Cellar) ripe, plump and crowd-pleasing, lots of fruit with good structure; a Nigella of a wine
Torres Mas La Plana 2010, Cabernet Sauvignon (£35-40, Slurp.co.uk, Penistone Wines, The Soho Wine Supply, Oxford Wine Co) - a technically correct, fault-free, textbook Cabernet with ripe blackcurrant fruit and fine tannins, but somehow not completely compelling; a bit Ed Miliband
Torres Grans Muralles 2009 (£68.90 in Hedonism) a blend of grapes including the recently-rediscovered Querol (not even included in the Wine Grapes tome); a big, personality of a wine with baked fruit, but complex and sophisticated beneath it; like charismatic ex-investment banker Nigel Farage
Other related articles