Visiting the gorgeous Miguel Torres winery in the Penedes is a bit like visiting Disneyland in that there is all manner of entertainment to help visitors understand what Miguel Torres and the Torres family wines are all about. The journey begins with a short film (available in virtually all languages) that introduces this historical wine making family, and the strides that Miguel Torres took to create an icon winery now making wine in various parts of Spain as well as California and Chile.
After the film, lucky visitors are led into an “aroma tunnel” where they learn about the life cycle of the grape, and can smell incredible floral aromas with the changing seasons.
The adventure continues with a tram ride (yes, similar to Disneyland) where visitors are first taken into a rather “spooky” dark tunnel where the “ghost” of a monk can be seen, and visitors learn about the history of winemaking and the monk’s part of it.
Serious journalists, however, get to see more “secret” parts of the winery, such as the giant fermentation tanks, the more expensive of which are used for the icon wines, as well as the vat room with its barrels of new and first and second year wood.
We learn that the family’s mission is to “turn every customer into a friend.” The family owns 1700 hectares of vineyards and also buys grapes from local farmers, paying top dollar and demanding excellent quality in return. On our visit, we saw the laboratory where scientists are busy at work to ensure this.
The different vineyards are cultivated using the most advanced viticultural techniques, always motivated by a responsible concern for the environment. We saw this too, for even though Torres follows organic practices he does not want to be defined by being organic – rather the goal is to create the best wine possible using these healthy methods. In the winery, there is also a special room where visitors can see the many things that the winery is doing to save the environment, such as using electronic cars and even using seaweed to save energy and conserve resources.
In addition to the surprise of seeing so many giant stainless steel fermentation tanks, one is also taken aback by the more than 20,000 oak barrels that extend through two kilometers of underground galleries excavated on different levels.
In the tasting room, I taste through the various ranges, beginning with the whites and finishing with the red reservas. The winery seems to like blends, for the whites creating a fabulous chardonney and parellada blend that has the sultry seductive flavors of a fine Merrsault. This wine is produced using 100% French oak (on 30% of the chardonnay grapes, with the other 50% aged in tank), as well as some interesting tempranillo blends.
Torres stands preeminent among Spain’s wineries for its fruitful combination of deep roots and innovation. It was very exciting to see this absolutely giant operation, and especially their respect and devotion to the environment.