Familia Torres Pazo das Bruxas Albarino 2020
In 2020, Familia Torres Winery is celebrating their 150th anniversary, but the family’s roots extend even farther than that. The first mention of the Torres wine family was in 1557, but the winery wasn’t established until 1870, when the profits from the family shipping company made it possible to enter the commercial wine space.
Miguel Torres Vendrell founded the company, and since then, the family has passed on the winery (and the name Miguel) steadfastly from generation to generation. They hit a setback when the winery was bombed during the Spanish civil war, but Miguel Torres i Carbó rebuilt, and began the bottling and exporting of the wine.
In 1991, Miguel A. Torres took the reigns, and remains president today. He made remarkable strides in environmental advocacy, social responsibility, fair trade, and research and innovation. Since 2012, Miguel Torres Maczassek has been at the helm, and has continued his father’s work, while also embarking on his own projects. Recognized year after year and Drinks Internationals’ “World’s Most Admired Wine Brand,” the story of Familia Torres is a known and respected one throughout Spain and the world.
Named after the rías, or estuarine inlets, that flow as far as 20 miles inland, Rías Baixas is an Atlantic coastal region with a cool and wet maritime climate. The entire region claims soil based on granite bedrock, but the inlets create five subregions of slightly different growing environments for its prized white grape, Albariño.
Val do Salnés on the west coast is said to be the birthplace of Albariño; it is the coolest and wettest of all of the regions. Having been named as the original subregion, today it has the most area under vine and largest number of wineries.
Ribeira do Ulla in the north and inland along the Ulla River is the newest to be included. It is actually the birthplace of the Padrón pepper!
Soutomaior is the smallest region and is tucked up in the hills at the end of the inlet called Ria de Vigo. Its soils are light and sandy over granite.
O Rosal and Condado do Tea are the farthest south in Rías Baixas and their vineyards actually cover the northern slopes of the Miño River, facing the Vinho Verde region in Portugal on its southern bank.
Albariño gives this region its fame and covers 90% of the area under vine. Caiño blanco, Treixadura and Loureira as well as occasionally Torrontés and Godello are permitted in small amounts in blends with Albariño. Red grapes are not very popular but Mencía, Espadeiro and Caiño Tinto are permitted and grown.
Bright and aromatic with distinctive floral and fruity characteristics, Albariño has enjoyed a surge in popularity and an increase in plantings over the last couple of decades. Thick skins allow it to withstand the humid conditions of its homeland, Rías Baixas, Spain, free of malady, and produce a weighty but fresh white. Somm Secret—Albariño claims dual citizenship in Spain and Portugal. Under the name Alvarinho, it thrives in Portugal’s northwestern Vinho Verde region, which predictably, borders part of Spain’s Rías Baixas.