By Neil Shrodo, Super Buy-Rite Jersey City
The Spanish wine scene has been a treasure trove of incredible wines for decades. There are renowned reds from regions like Rioja and Ribera del Duero that compete with the best in the world. And while their success is the result of years of hard work, few have succeeded in as many regions as Familia Torres.
The estate was established in the 1870s, when Jaime Torres Vendrell returned from Cuba and with his winemaking brother Miguel. Together, they built the family winery in the Penedès region of Spain. The original winery, unfortunately, was bombed in the Spanish Civil War. After rebuilding, the family established themselves as the largest vineyard holder in Penedès, and Miguel became a promoter of Spanish red wines to the outside world. The key to their popularity were incredible value reds like Sangre de Toro, but they were constantly experimenting and expanding with wineries in Rioja, Ribera del Duero, whites from Rias Baixas, and even an estate in Priorat.
Here are several excellent Spanish wines that show you the modern face of this classic family winery:
Pazo das Bruxas, Rias Baixas, Albarino
From the northern coastal region that faces the Atlantic Ocean comes this brilliant white made from the grape Albarino. Pale gold in color with an elegant aroma of white flowers, limes and lemon curd. Medium bodied, with crushed stone and light citrus all on a savory, crisp finish. Delightful with white fish, but crisp enough for creamy goat cheeses. $18.99
Pago del Cielo, Ribera del Duero
Made from 100 percent Tinto Fino, otherwise known as Tempranillo, and grown at 895 meters above sea level, this impressive red is packed with impressive aromas of wild blackberries and cherry preserves touched with a hint of roasted coffee bean. Dense and velvety on the palate, which adds blueberries and mulberries to the mix, it finishes with edgy tannins and a fresh acidity. $21.99
A more recent addition to the line up, Priorat dates back to the 12th century when Torres planted their vines back in 1996. Generally a mix of Garnacha Tinta and Carinena (Carignan), this one also adds 5 percent Syrah, and has an intense almost black-violet color.
Aromatically it is all dark berries with earthy edges and a hint of smoke. The palate is bold with blackberry jam, cassis, and tart cherry flavors that roll over wet stone, cedar wood and vanilla tasted oak notes. A great introduction to the region, this is one that is meant for drinking over the next few years with its chewy tannins and well-knit structure. It pairs well with big beef or pork dishes, pepper-finished steaks on the grill and sweet, sticky barbecue sauces! $38.99
Main photo by Rodrigo Abreu