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

Sonoma – California’s Cool North Coast

Over the last year I have really rekindled my 25 year old love affair with California wines. Say what you like about them, but they are never dull – I am talking about proper grower wines here, not the big anonymous brands.

My trip to Napa last year really showed me what passion there was, what attention to detail in the vineyard and the winery and how it is not all glossy rich men’s toys – there are real down and dirty farms too.

All of this and more appears to be the case in Napa’s neighbour, Sonoma County.

I recently attended a couple of events hosted by the Sonoma County Vintners where I learned a lot and tasted some wonderful wines.

The wine regions of Sonoma - click map for a larger view

Continue reading