Torres to shine a light on ancient Spanish white

Having recovered over 50 ancestral Catalan grape varieties over the last 35 years, Familia Torres is now shining a light on ancient Spanish white Forcada.

Torres is restoring old dry-stone terraces and planting Forcada vines up to an elevation of 700 meters in Alts d’Ancosa

The family-owned firm has embarked on a project in Alts d’Ancosa in Penedès to restore terraced mountain vineyards at its Las Escostes estate.

The project involves restoring 25 old dry-stone terraces and planting vines up to an elevation of 700 meters on a small property in the municipal area of La Llacuna, in Anoia county.

Miguel Torres Maczassek

The vineyard will be dedicated exclusively to Forcada, an ancestral white variety recovered by Torres, trained in the traditional Gobelet style.

The mechanisation of farming led to the abandonment of terraced hillside vineyards due to being difficult to access and farm. The restoration of the dry-stone terraces is anticipated to take three years.

“We want to restore an exceptional, historical vineyard and contribute to the preservation of the landscape and the rural heritage of Catalonia as represented by the traditional dry-stone terraces where our ancestors grew their crops,” said Torres’s general manager, Miguel Torres Maczassek.

“At the same time, we want to explore the limits of Forcada, a late-ripening ancestral variety, by planting the vines at a higher elevation to compensate for the effects of rising temperatures,” he added.

Les Escostes provides optimum winegrowing conditions, with its high elevation, loamy-textured, calcareous soils and Mediterranean/Continental climate. The free-standing vines are grown organically and will be harvested by hand.

Torres recovered the late-ripening Forcada as part of its project to revive pre-phylloxera varieties, which began in the early ‘80s with the revival of Garró.

Over 50 varieties have been recovered so far, but Forcada is the only white with the right characteristics to produce great wines while coping with the ongoing challenges of climate change.

The family produces a small amount of single varietal Forcada from its Mas Palau vineyard in Santa Maria de Miralles planted at 550m. The wine is aimed exclusively at high-end restaurants.

“Forcada is a late-ripening variety with lovely acidity and a delicate floral aroma. These ancestral grapes won’t replace noble varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay, but are a nice complement to them and are something interesting for sommeliers to discover and get excited about,” Miguel A. Torres told db during a recent interview.

The full interview with Torres, which explores everything from climate change to the coronavirus crisis, will appear in the April issue of db.

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