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Grans Muralles & other wines

by Tom Cannavan, 05/08

I guess Torres' first single vineyard wine, the Mas La Plana featured in part I of this report, inspired Miguel Torres to follow a path of researching and restoring some of Spain's best vineyard terroirs, in order to follow a dream of producing truly great wines from Penedès and surrounding regions.

Whilst Rioja, Jerez, and latterly Ribera del Duero took the plaudits as the homes of Spain's greatest wines, Miguel Torres - proudly a son of this region as where previous generations of the Torres dynasty - quietly developed such wonderful vineyard sites as the Finca Milmanda, now home of some of Spain's best Chardonnays, Finca Fransola where the Fransola Sauvignon Blanc is grown, and Grans Muralles.

Grans Muralles is a beautiful vineyard, surrounded by the walls of a 13th century Cistercian monastery, and planted with a range of indigenous Spanish grapes: Monastrell, Cariñena, Garnacha, Garró and Samsó.

That is in complete contrast to Mas La Plana, made from 100% Cabernet Sauvignon of course.

Grans Muralles

Grans Muralles in the DO Conca de Barberà has been cultivated since Cistercian monks introduced vines here in the 13th century.
  

Situated between the Milmanda Castle and the Monastery of Poblet, the site spans 94 hectares, though just 32 are dedicated to its eponymous wine. It took Torres' viticultural team over 15 years of experimentation to select the vines best suited to these 'licorella' soils (slate and gravel). Torres has brought a new lease of life to the almost extinct Garró and Samsó.

Grans Muralles costs around £49.00, and stockists include Great Gaddesden Wines and Soho Wine Supply Ltd. See all stockists of Grans Muralles on wine-searcher.com.

Also included here are notes on one or two other single vineyard wines tasted whilst in Spain, including Torres impressive new Priorat project.

the wines

Grans Muralles 2001
This wine spent 18 months in new French oak from Nevers and Vosges. It has a deep, dark crimson colour. Much creamier and apparently more ripe and cassis-like than the Mas la Plana, with very ripe and full, forward black fruit showing no sign of the truffle and vegetal character that so marks Mas la Plana. Lovely quality of coffee and cedar oak, and hints of a thyme-like fragrance. On the palate that ripe, sweet, very concentrated and supple black fruit floods across the palate. There's plenty of grip, with liquorice and plum skins adding svelte but grippy edge. Very good balance here, with fantastic richness and harmony. 92/100

Grans Muralles 2002
Quite gamy and fleshy, with grilled meats and lots of cedar. More open than the 2001, which is not surprising given vintage conditions in 2002. Lots of gamy, structured depth and richness, with chewy tannins and very good balance. More open and approachable, and whilst this doesn't have the ultimate concentration, and nor, I suspect the staying power of the 2001, it is a very, very good wine that makes for delicious drinking now. 91/100

Grans Muralles 2005
Very dark, but vibrant crimson/black. Hugely closed, muscular, dense and concentrated black fruit aromas. There's a certain meatiness here. A tiny hint of something violetty and floral too, and again that little herbal hint. The palate has really intense, creamy and muscular fruit. There's massive concentration here, with dry, savoury, slightly leathery black fruit. This broadens to show some spice, but that leathery, dark, tightly-wound muscularity is brooding and impressive, and suggests this certainly needs time. 93/100

Mirador del Castell 2006
From the Milmanda vineyard, this wine blends 85% Chardonnay with 15% Parellada, with part of the Chardonnay aged in Limousin oak. Very attractive, fresh nose, with a hint of grassy cut, but a lovely, refined stone fruit character with a background of sesame seed smokiness. The palate has a similar combination of ripe, quite luscious peach and pear, and that crisp, lemon and grassy, endive edge. The oak just adds a creaminess in the finish of this delicious and stylish wine. 88/100

Salmos 'Perpetual' Priorato 2005
Only 6000 bottles of this wine are produced, from old vines Cariñena and Garnacha, aged 15 months on the lees in French oak. It has a vibrant, deep colour, with very ripe, fruit-forward nose, with lots of juicy redcurrant and cherry crunch. Lovely freshness on the palate too, some chocolate and dense black plum, but retains its bright and crunchy structure with supple, creamy tannins and excellent length. 92/100

go to part I - Mas La Plana.

See all stockists of Grans Muralles on wine-searcher.com.