This June, as I shared lunch at the 14th century Mas Rabell restaurant with none other than Mr. Miguel A. Torres, one thing was clear. The famed winemaker who is widely credited with popularizing Spanish wines the world over, is much like a Fleet Commander who knows the exact bearings of where to navigate his Armada of wines . That his ‘fleet’ over the years has been augmenting in size and conquering new shores is probably the reason why the Drinks International magazine recently announced TORRES as the Most Admired Wine Brand of the world ahead of even the French Premiers Grands Crus !
Briefly looking at the history of wines in Spain, the country, once largely known for its fortified wines from Jerez (Sherry) and Málaga, has come a long way with the largest area under vineyards in the world. Like any other Old World wine producing nation, Spain has had its share of ups and downs and Torres family is universally acclaimed as single-handedly reviving the fortunes of wine trade in the all-important Penédes region. It was these efforts that led to the region’s recognition as a DO (Denominación de Origen) in 1976 under the Appellation regulations. The Torres Family has since then ventured much beyond Penédes owning more than 2,400 hectares of vineyards, most of which are located in Spain apart from the ones in Chile and California. These wines are exported to more than 160 countries across the world- including India.
Recently, I had this delightful opportunity to visit the Torres wineries in Penédes and La Rioja, at the behest of the Winemaker. As much as I would have liked to visit their other wineries too, the sponge of mind has its limit to retain the fluid of knowledge until it is unsoaked again. So both these regions kept me and my fellow oenophiles- Shalini Kumar and Ritika Shankar from Spiritz magazine, breathlessly occupied. If I had to put across this visit in a single phrase, it would be TORRES, Tapas and Toro – words that unmistakably convey the essence of Spain! (Toro meaning Bull in Spanish does not imply here that we transformed into the gutsy Matadors, but rather the delectable Sangre de Toro wine from Torres literally meaning Bull’s Blood)!
With so much to tell, it would only be fair if Torres, Tapas and Toro is elaborated over several posts. I hope that with these posts, fellow wine lovers will get a fair idea of Spanish wines , having the most famous winemaker from Spain as an ideal case study.
As of now, I leave you with a picture taken back at home with Chef Saby ebulliently holding a bottle of Mas Rabell (Garnacha,Cariñena and a little Merlot) wine that he generously uncorked for me last week at one of his upcoming restaurants.