NEWS RELEASE BY DRINKS BUSINESS (Patrick Schmitt, 16th July, 2020):
Spain’s Familia Torres is set to launch an Albariño from Galicia’s Rias Baixas wine region that has been fermented and aged in egg-shaped vessels made from granite.
While winemakers have trialled fermentors made into egg-like shapes from a range of materials, most commonly concrete, but wood too, along with ceramic, this is the first example that db has been made aware of where a wine has passed through a vessel made of granite.
Indeed, the only granite fermentors we have seen are called lagares, which are large, shallow, open vessels used in ancient times for winemaking, as well as commonly today in Portugal’s Douro valley, where they provide the perfect medium for foot-treading grapes for making Port.
The choice of granite for egg-shaped fermentors at the Torres winery in Rias Baixas, which is called Pazo Torres Penelas, was inspired by the fact that this is the bedrock of this region.
Indeed, for those who have visited this part of Galicia, and the area over the border into Portugal, called Vinho Verde, you will know that granite is used for most structures, from the historic buildings to the fence posts.
Having acquired Pazo Torres Penelas in early 2017, the Spanish wine group quickly commissioned the innovative ovoid Galician granite tanks for the vinification and ageing of wines.
The retail price and exact launch date of the Blanco Granito has yet to be confirmed
And, in a webinar on the top wines of Torres, which are collectively called Torres Antologia, on Monday this week, Miguel Torres Maczassek announced the group’s plan to shortly launch its first vintage release of this granite-aged Albarino – called Finca Pazo Torre Penelas Blanco Granito – which will come from the 2018 harvest.
Dubbing it just “blanco granito”, he said that he hoped “we could soon taste it together”, having made 200 cases of the inaugural release, using grapes from a walled six-hectare vineyard containing 40 year-old Albariño vines.
Explaining the decision to use the specialist vinification vessels he said, “In the past, everything [in Rias Baixas] was made in granite, using lagares, but with time and modernity, stainless steel came, but we wanted to replicate wine fermented in granite rocks, so we asked a specialist to make granite eggs, with each one using four pieces of granite and holding 730 litres.”
Continuing, he said that the first vintage of this pioneering wine was from the 2018 harvest, commenting that the naturally cold nature of the stone means that it wasn’t necessary to cool the wines during fermentation, while recording that the granite vessels retain more of the “salinity” that he said was inherent to Albariño from Rias Baixas, especially the Salnés valley where the Torres estate is based.