A Gluttons Guide to Spanish Culture

Los Caracoles in Barcelona, you enter the restaurant through the back of the bar...

...and go through the kitchen to your table

I love Spain and am passionate about Spain’s food, wine and history, so I wrote a very personal piece about Spanish food and some very traditional restaurants and I think you might enjoy it, its published on Catavino.com and you can read it here

A week with Torres

I recently spent a week on the Miguel Torres Wine Course in Vilafranca del Penedès and Barcelona, so thought I should pull my thoughts together and tell you about the experience.

One of the highlights was meeting Miguel A Torres, he really is a giant figure in the wine business. Perhaps as my early experiences of wine were all in Spain he looms larger to me than my British counterparts, but I well remember my first taste of Viña Esmerelda and being astonished by how very different it was from anything else in Spain – still broadly true.

It is impossible to exaggerate Torres’s influence on Spanish wine. He helped introduce all sorts of modern techniques that we all now take for granted – stainless steel tanks, cold fermentation and the use of international grapes were all either introduced by him or helped on their way by him. It is impossible to be sure as he is genuinely very modest and  seemed to always deny being the first at anything, saying that someone else did it before him. However, I have noticed that the genuinely successful are often not the first to do something, but are usually the first to perfect it – which would be very Torres. Continue reading

Miguel Torres – Catalan wine legend

Many of you will know that I have a deep love of Spain, Spanish culture and Spanish wine. Well no one can possibly have the experience of Spanish wine that I have had without coming across Miguel Torres. Indeed some of the very first quality Spanish wines I ever tried were from Bodegas Torres.

I well remember my first taste of the revolutionary Viña Esmerelda, Gran Viña Sol Green Label (called Fransola now) and Gran Coronas Black Label 1975 (now called Mas La Plana). With wines like this Torres were responsible for a real step change in quality and outlook in the whole Spanish wine industry.

I have long been an admirer of Miguel Torres himself, he is a giant of the wine business and holds a place in Spain akin to that held by Robert Mondavi in Napa Valley.

Well, I have been honored by being invited on the 23rd Miguel Torres Wine Course which will run next week in Vilafranca del Penedès near Barcelona, where Torres are based. I am especially looking forward to the sessions led by Miguel Torres himself.

I will blog about some of my experiences there if I get the time and the connection.