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Torres: the world’s most-admired wine brand

Although the 2.9 million acres of vineyards planted in Spain is more than in any other country its actual wine production lags behind France and Italy.

This is explained by the facts that the vines are planted further apart and quite infertile soil results in low yields.

Torres is arguably the best-known wine family in the country and in their respect of the earth and their desire to minimise the impacts of climate change they have implemented many admirable policies. They use solar power, their waste water treatment returns clean water to the ecosystem, in fact like us, they also collect rainwater to use.

Organic fertiliser is kept to the minimum of doses and 99.3 per cent of all waste is recycled. They even use electric vehicles for deliveries and so on. Torres has the distinction of being awarded by Drinks International the World's most-admired wine brand for 2014 and 2015.

Their Vina Esmeralda is a delicious blend of 15 per cent Gewürztraminer and 85 per cent Muscat grapes that are grown in high mountain vineyards in the North East of Spain in an area called Catalonia. It is fragrant and floral with lime blossom and acacia honey. A sensual and silky feel on the palate make it a perfect match for shrimp cocktail and most fish. Really well chilled, this is a delicious summer white. Torres Vina Esmerelda 2015 costs $15.30.

Crianza (cree-ahn-zah) is a Spanish word meaning nursing or bringing up, and this is how the categories of Rioja wines work; Rioja uses little or no oak and ages one to two years before release, Crianza has to spend a year in oak and a year in bottle, Reserva has a minimum of one year in oak and two in bottle. Gran Reserva must spend at least two years in oak followed by three in bottle.

Torres “Celeste” Crianze 2013 is so named because at an altitude of 895 metres the vineyard is close to the heavens. The Tempranillo grapes give us rose petals, cherry, sweet blueberry and boysenberry. In this hot season one should be careful about the temperature when serving red wine. I have never been a fan of “cellar temperatures” of say sixty degrees or so as it seems to make red wines rather hard and tightly bound. Eighty or even above just allows the alcohols to boil away and deliver a knockout punch. Half an hour in the fridge works for me, unless of course your house is kept around seventy degrees. $24.80.

I wonder if you would mind if I shared a couple of wine stories about a good friend who I am sure never touched a drop, as his faith would not have approved. Over 20 years ago when we built our family home off Pomander Road, my 5.30am walk took me past the roundabout on my way to town and back. After a few months Johnny asked me “what is your title brother?” “Michael Robinson” I replied and so I became “brother Robinson”. Soon after we just settled on Michael and we had some excellent chats together, for instance when he asked about a bright light in the dawn sky I printed out a diagram of the International Space Station and we chatted about it.

Anytime that I was planning to be away I would tell Johnny and I would be summoned over to the roundabout where he would say a few words to the close and holy darkness (Dylan Thomas), for my safe return.

But this is wine column; once I stopped and told Johnny that we had a young lady in the wine trade staying with us, her name was Mary and in about an hour I would be taking her to the airport to fly back to San Francisco. I suggested we have a little fun. On cue I pulled the car over near Johnny and wound down the window so Mary could say hello. Johnny pops his head in and says “I hope you enjoyed our island Mary and you have a good flight back to San Francisco”. As we pulled away I could tell that she was quite flabbergasted. In fact she asked me how in the world did he know. “That's why we have him there” I replied. “He knows everything”.

Just one more; there are others, but last summer the rain was coming down and Johnny admired my golf umbrella and mentioned that his had been rather mangled by the wind. I told him that I could have a brand new one for him the very next day, but knowing of his beliefs, I did mention that it had the name of a Champagne House on it (Laurent Perrier). He said that he did not mind as long as it kept him dry and so it did for a few months. I miss my friend.

This column is a paid for advertorial for Burrows Lightbourn Ltd. Michael Robinson is Director of Wine at Burrows Lightbourn Ltd. He can be contacted at or 295-0176. Burrows Lightbourn have stores in Hamilton (Front Street East. 295-1554), Paget (Harbour Road, 236-0355) and St. George's (York Street, 297-0409). A selection of their wines, beers and spirits are available online at

Delicious summer white: the Vina Esmeralda is fragrant and floral with lime blossom and acacia honey

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Published July 15, 2016 at 9:00 am (Updated July 14, 2016 at 10:15 pm)

Torres: the world’s most-admired wine brand

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