Play it cool with wines from chile
Torres is a name that most wine drinkers will be familiar with. Family owned and run, the company, from their Catalonian homeland, ventured into other regions of Spain and beyond, most notably California and Chile. Miguel Torres Carbo bought a small vineyard in Curico in 1979 long before Chile's potential as a wine producer of quality wines became apparent.
This week, winemaker and technical director Fernando Almeda flew into Dublin to showcase Torres' Chilean wines: the new Las Mulas organic range (€12.99), the recently certified Fairtrade Santa Digna range (€11.99), the premium Cordillera wines and the impressive high-end red, Manso de Velasco.
The tasting kicked off with the Las Mulas Sauvignon Blanc reserve 2010, a wine that didn't quite do it for me as it lacked the bracing minerality I find appealing in young Sauvignon. The Las Mulas Cabernet Sauvignon was quite another matter; lashings of clean, sweet fruit, coupled with relaxed tannins should make this red a popular choice. Whether you'd like the 2009 Santa Digna Gewurztraminer depends on your attitude to this spicy, lychee-and-mango-flavoured grape. In this one, the OTT exuberance is restrained by a generous dollop of Riesling, making it a tad more food-friendly than most.
The Santa Digna Carmenere 2009 was very decent. Carmenere is a tricky grape; one of the very last to ripen, if it's picked unripe it shows a peppery character that few find appealing. Torres has a deal of experience with this grape and this one avoided most of the pitfalls.
The Cordillera Chardonnay 2009 was not to my taste, although generously fruited. I like my Chardys leaner and more laid back. On the other hand, the Cordillera red, Carignan with a dash of Syrah and Merlot and vinified at a (these days) moderate 14pc of alcohol, was universally acclaimed as a real class act, easily over-delivering for the €19.99 ask.
The Manso de Velasco, as befits a wine costing €35, was stunning, from the complex nose to the extended finish. The aromatics, in particular, were beautiful and, on the palate, the elegance and restraint spoke eloquently of top-class winemaking. Fernando Almeda can be very proud of this wine.
The real hero of the tasting, for me, was the Santa Digna Rose (above). Made from Cabernet Sauvignon, it has long been one of my favourites for summer drinking. Indeed, one scribe present judged it "so delicious it's dangerous".
WINE OF THE WEEK: The Santa Digna Rosé has a clean, floral nose, decently fruited, with enough acidity to make it refreshing. Fine value at €11.99.
Torres wines are widely available from all good local shops