Tuesday, April 11, 2023

The more we care about the earth, the better our wine. Torres talk the talk, walk the walk.


The more we care about the earth, the better our wine. Torres talk the talk, walk the walk.

Superb Tasting at Bradleys

Busy tasty for Findlater's Adrian McAleer (right)

In Dublin in 2015 Miguel Torres, one of the family’s fifth generation, tipped off a small attendance at a tasting in the Westbury about a new wine on the horizon:  “Penedes is our hometown and by the way, watch out for a new wine from here next year. It will be called Purgatori, not because we are sinners!”

Purgatori (29.95) is from a historic estate in the heart of Les Garrigues (Lleida)  and the wine was an unlisted bonus and the star of the excellent tasting, led by Findlater’s Adrian McAleer, in Bradleys, North Main Street, Cork, last week.

It is an intense, beautiful cherry red colour. Seductive floral (red rose) and fruit (black cherry jam) aroma with notes of spices (clove) and exquisite undertones characteristic of the Mediterranean terroir (pine, carob, dried fruits). Warm and nervy, with a finish that is more vibrant than long, this blend of Cariñena and Garnacha is smooth and so well balanced.

Four wines were listed for the Bradleys tasting and I had tasted three of those in that Dublin event, including our starter wine, the Celeste Verdejo (17.95). That grape is one of my favourite whites and this is a modern-style wine, fresh, and intensely aromatic. “The estate-owned vineyards, close to the river Duero, are handled with great care and respect in order to give this wine greater complexity and highlight the character of the variety from this particular zone in DO Rueda.” A very good start indeed!

And it kept getting better.  The second white was the Pazo Das Bruxas (19.95), an Albarino that pays homage to the folklore and landscape of Galicia (the Celtic Spain). It tells the tale of the Galician witches said to have gathered in the woods, which surrounded some pazos or manor houses, to conjure up spirits with their dances and spells. Nourished by their energy, the sap or lifeblood then coursed through the vines, in the same way the Albariño grapes give life to this wine today. 

Aromas are seductive, floral (honeysuckle) and fruit (lemon rind, tangerine). Silky and juicy on the palate with exquisitely elegant, fragrant fruit persistence. Long and intense with a little bit of Torres magic!

Michael Creedon (right, Bradleys) and Adrian McAleer (Findlaters)

On to the reds with the Celeste Crianza (19.95) from Ribera Del Duero with its fascinating deep, dark cherry red colour. Intense, concentrated aromas of black fruit (blueberry jam), revealing notes of ripe figs and an exquisite smoky, mineral (graphite) streak. Velvety and flavourful on the palate with noble, fine-grained tannins. Oak aging endows the wine with fine notes of spices (bitter cocoa) and toast (roasted coffee).

Celeste Crianza is an opulent, fruit-filled, full-bodied wine with intense colour. This wine is aged for 12 months in French and American oak barrels and 12 months in the bottle. The flagship wine from the Pago del Cielo winery is one of DO Ribera del Duero’s most internationally famous wines. The grape is Tinto Fino, better known to most of us in Ireland as Tempranillo.

In Dublin in 2015, Miguel spoke of how they were recovering or recuperating forgotten grapes, not always successfully. “We have recuperated ancient Catalan varieties, 38 in all. Not all are good but six are top quality, very well adapted to a hot and dry climate”. Torres are also experimenting with growing vines at higher levels.

One of the successes, called Moneu, was part of the blend that made up our final “regulation” red at Bradleys. The other varieties in the Clos Ancestral (21.95) are Tempranillo and Garnacha. A very impressive wine indeed, delicious and elegant, the finesse and versatility allow for a variety of pairings with medium-aged cheeses and charcuterie, lean cuts of meat like sirloin or rump steak, and fish in cream or butter-based sauces. Ideal serving temperature: 14–16C.

The more we care about the earth, the better our wine. That is the Torres motto that I first saw in Dublin in 2015 and it was also displayed in Bradleys. So whether it is improving sustainability (turning vine cuttings into a source of energy) or using solar panels or organic viticulture or their long-time commitment to fair trade, Torres contribute wherever they are, from Chile to California to Catalonia. The earth could do with more families, more companies like this.

Lovely evening for it!

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