Torres-Alegre: Knowledge and Love Nurture These Wines in the Valle de Guadalupe, Ensenada
by Carla White
Valle de Guadalupe, Ensenada, Baja California — Far off the beaten path, on the road that runs behind Adobe Guadalupe Vineyards and Inn, there is a vineyard (seven hectares of Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Grenache and Nebbiolo) and a very new winery…sort of a modern-day, high-tech palace where wine is king, and where winemakers serve its noble cause. The symbol of the winery is, indeed, a Spanish-looking castle, but in reality the name of the operation – Vinicola Torres-Alegre y Familia — reflects the passion and dedication of Dr. Victor Torres-Alegre, one of the most important wine makers in Mexico.
Leonardo Torres, himself an accomplished winemaker, will by appointment, guide small groups through the winery to see the seven stainless steel, conical fermentation tanks and the grape crushers. He explains the various processes, including the gravity filtration system and the winemakers’ desire to “let nature and natural phenomena” take their course in wine production. He expresses the family’s deep desire to promote sustainability in all aspects of their work…even pointing to the bricks that comprise the very walls of the wine cavern: these bricks were created from the earth that was removed for the building of the winery.
From tour to tasting room, Leonardo tells the story of Torres-Alegre, imbuing it with love and laughter and interesting family trivia. For instance, the wine labels have been designed by Victor, himself, who is also a graphic designer. These same labels tell stories, written by his sister who lives in Spain. And, another tidbit…the Torres-Alegre Sauvignon Blanc (crisp but with a soft after-feel) has been aged 11 years in oak. The Del Viko blend (named after his brother) combines Grenache, Nebbiolo, Tempranillo, Cabernet Franc and Merlot. The Cru Garage, of which 2,000 bottles are made annually, indeed had its beginnings in a garage. And so on…
The Torres-Alegre family winery is really the legacy of Dr. Torres-Alegre’s 30+ years of history of winemaking…and perhaps more than any other vinicola, it reflects the fact that Mexico is finding its place in the royal family of world wines.
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