Visiting Torres, one of Spain's most important wine producers
Part 3, Priorat: Salmos and Perpetual

Over recent years, Priorat has become one of Spain’s most talked about wine regions, so Catalan giant Torres became very interested in starting to work here. There was, however, a significant hurdle: Priorat wines have to be made within the appellation, which meant the expense of building a separate winery here. So Torres made a €3million investment to build a winery and acquire vineyards.

They have 100 hectares of vines here, in two separate vineyards.  I began my visit in the Porrera vineyards. Torres have 75 hectares here, and it’s at an altitude of 500 metres. It’s quite a dramatic spot, with steep slopes, terraces, and bush vines eeking out an existence from the schist soils. You can hardly call them soils, actually: they are pretty much pure schist, very similar to that found in the Douro region of northern Portugal. 

Priorat soils: schist

Torres also have 25 hectares in Lloar, which is where the winery is situated—called La Solteta vineyard. This is in view of Gratallops, and it’s warmer here, with an altitude of 300 metres. 


The vineyards are planted with Garnacha, Cariñena and Syrah. Porrera was planted in 1996, La Stolteta in 1998. There are also some older, preexisting vines that are used. 

Interestingly, there is not a lot of Garnacha in Priorat, even though it does really well here. Almost all the old vines are Cariñena, which was what pretty much everyone planted after phylloxera, even though Garnacha was here in old times.

In Priorat it is possible to get ripeness plus good acidity. For example, some wines can have around 16% alcohol yet still retain enough natural acidity. Torres make two wines from Priorat, Salmos and Perpetual.

We began by looking at some wines in barrel. First of all, some old (70 years) Garnacha, a Perpetual component from Lloar. It’s sweet, ripe and spicy, with some elegance. The fruit carries the new oak, and it’s quite serious in a very ripe style.

Then a Syrah from 2011, from Lloar – again, a new barrel, from 13 year old vines. This is ripe, full, sweet and powerful with a seductive personality. Impressive. Once again, in a very ripe style, but it carries it off. 

Finally, a Cariñena from a centenarian vineyard in Lloar. This is ripe, rich and aromatic with lovely purity. Black cherry fruit with fine grained tannins. Extreme ripeness but still good acid, and tastes sweet because of the fruit. 

Some bottled wines:

Torres Salmos 2010 Priorat, Spain
50% Cariñena, 30% Garnacha, 20% Syrah. Sweetly aromatic with pure black cherry and plums, as well as some spice. The palate is fresh and spicy with intensity and generosity, as well as some mineral notes. Lovely freshness and ripeness in tandem. Ripe, modern style.

Torres Perpetual 2009 Priorat, Spain
This weighs in at 15% alcohol, and it’s a blend of 90% old Cariñena and 10 old Garnacha. Vivid colour. Sweet, lush nose shows blackberries and plums, with sweet vanilla and creamy coconut overtones. Powerful but rounded in the mouth with lush, creamy fruit and some spice and mineral complexity. It’s a lush, dense wine but there’s good definition to the fruit. 93/100

Torres Perpetual 2010 Priorat, Spain
Very deep colour. Concentrated, dense and ripe with mineral, spicy undertones to the black cherry and blackberry fruit. Concentrated and intense. Very sweet fruit profile with spice and mineral undertones. Very impressive in this super-ripe style. 95/100


See a short film of this visit:


Wines tasted 07/12  
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