Friday, March 19, 2010



• By Rupali Dean

My trip to Spain could not be complete without a visit to the local wine region nearest to Barcelona called Penedes. I researched and signed up for a one-day tour of Miguel Torres’s vineyard complete with the winery visit & tastings, as well as lunch at “Mas Rabell” the family owned restaurant. My visit included not only a tasting of their higher end wines, but also a bottom to top view of their vineyards and viticulture practices.

A wine expert met us at the reception and took us around. After a brief presentation, we went into the “Tunnel of Seasons”, a stupendous Multimedia experience in honor of the vineyards. It was the contemplation of the wine through all the seasons and following the climatic changes, until the harvest and the transformation of the grapes into wine. Next was the Tour by a train through the vineyards, crossing the “Finca Mas La Plana” which has been their flagship wine since 1979 when, in its earlier manifestation as Coronas Black Label, it trounced an array of clarets at a tasting organized by the French foodie sages Gault Millau. The visit also took us around the facilities, and to the interior of the new cellar “Bodega de Vinos de Finca”. Inside I discovered an atmosphere as inviting as the wines themselves. I gathered on my tour that White wine production dominates with a variety of traditional grapes in use such as Parellada and with innovative wine making techniques over the last few years, new wines being created with Chardonnay, Riesling and other noble varietals are coming to the fore. (Take home produce is also available from their shop). I could see that the winery is one of the most modern (and biggest) there is.

Best was next, lunch at “Mas Rabell” along with wines to match and I can say that Chef Sergi Millet ( has worked under Ferran Adria of the “El Bulli” Fame) serves some of the best contemporary , fresh and thoroughly flavorsome regional produce; celebrating the link between wine and food . I was particularly impressed by wines such as the elegant “Fransola” , which matched very well with my Cream of Navarra Asparagus with a decadent fish cake in the centre, it couldn’t have been any better. My roasted Iberian Pork with apple sauce was a culinary Paradise along with the “Gran Coronas” which was Superb and a great wine. Though of course the star of the show was but of course the “Mas La Pana 2005” , lush, spicy wine with density of fruit and smooth tannins and very elegant….Great with Cheese.

Truly it is difficult to understand the history of Spanish wine in the past 50 years without speaking of the family Torres. Miguel has taken his wines and, therefore, the wines of Spain to the highest benchmarks of quality to the last corner of the world. Having said that, although there is so much to see and do in Barcelona, I’m glad that we spent some of our time taking this trip to experience the picturesque wine country.

published in Asian Age