Cellar notes #23: A buyer's guide to Torres

Anthony Rose
Saturday 06 March 2004 01:00

2000 Gran Sangre de Toro, £7.29, Unwins; £6.99, Waitrose, Sainsbury's. This is the third vintage in which this seductive Catalonian blend from Miguel has contained a dollop of syrah, emphasising the spice and blackberry fruit quality of a good value red with considerable bite to it. A versatile food red for all manner of grills, casseroles and pasta dishes.

2002 Torres Fransola Sauvignon Blanc, £10.29, Mill Hill Wines, 020-8959 6754; £13.95, Harrods; £13.99, Wimbledon Wines, 020-8540 9979. This underrated dry Bordeaux-style white from Torres has a distinctly fresh and grassy nose, with crisp, assertive fruit and toasty oak, adding a Graves-like feel, while the whole thing is topped off with zesty acidity. An excellent wine for seafood and salads.

1998 Mas La Plana, £19.95, Oxford Wine Company, 01865 301144; £21.50, Harrods; £22.50, Harvey Nichols. This old-vine cabernet sauvignon starts out with a whiff of liquorice spice and chocolate, enveloping the tastebuds with a coating of glossy savoury, sweet cassis fruit, encased in a cocoon of firm tannins; it's an accomplished Spanish red with fruit, spice, oak, tannins and acidity all in seamless balance.

1998 Grans Muralles, Conca de Barberà, £40.75, Laymont & Shaw, Cornwall, 01872 270545; £57.57, Le Pont de la Tour, London. This powerful, distinctively spicy red is made from five Catalan grape varieties, two of them, garró and samsó, restored by Torres, and blended with grenache, monastrell and carineña to produce a concentrated, robust and pruney Spanish answer to Châteaneuf-du-Pape. It should go on improving for at least 10 years.

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