12 May 2023

The Traces of Wine and Time

Every return to Milmanda is a journey back in time. When walking through the estate’s vineyards, the vestiges of its history are all around us. The future beckons on the horizon, but below our feet, the past and present are very much alive. 


Part of the DO Conca de Barberà appellation of origin, the Milmanda estate is nestled into the foothills of the Sierra de Prades, enveloped in the scent of rosemary, juniper, and thyme. 


The site is ideally suited to growing Chardonnay, shaped by a vinicultural history that goes back to the cultural traditions of the Cistercian Order. Crowning the estate is the majestic castle of Milmanda, which seems eager to compete with the nearby monastery of Poblet, a local landmark.


Milmanda castle and estate, a Familia Torres property, surrounded by Chardonnay vineyards. 


History speaks to us. At Milmanda, archaeological findings point to a past when Iberians, Greco-Phoenicians, and Romans left their imprint on this enclave. The latter were responsible for establishing a villa not far from the present-day estate, taking advantage of the site’s proximity to what was then the Via Aurelia, which connected Tarraco and Ilerda (Tarragona and Lleida).


Virgil wrote about the local wines: “the land is fertile, especially in the mountainous terrain, and the wines compare to those of Italy.”


The Visigoths built the first castle, later fortified by the Arabs.  In 1136, Count Ramon Berenguer IV liberated the county from Islamic rule, and Milmanda became a feudal and abbatial property. From that time on, a written record was kept of the estate’s various owners. It is one of the oldest documented vinicultural histories in the wine world. By the 16th century, the rugged military fortress had turned into a peaceful palatial enclave where prominent individuals and dignitaries stayed during their visits to Poblet.

The abbot, a man by the name of Copons, was a legendary figure in the history of Poblet. He was a champion of the county, and his vision and actions brought great prosperity to the entire area. 

After arriving at Milmanda in 1320, he ordered the construction of the fortified tower which still presides over the castle. At the entrance, he placed his coat of arms, which depicted a goblet in reference to his surname, Copons. 


The abbot envisioned Milmanda as more than a castle, as an estate with an agricultural heart, where the monks could make wine, both for their own enjoyment and to sell to others. This marked a turning point which brings us all the way to the present.


Nowadays, the estate lies at an elevation of 500 metres above sea level (on average). The soils are limestone and greyish-brown limestone. The climate is Mediterranean with a continental influence and an average temperature of around 14.5ºC. Mitigating the summer heat is the Sierra de Miramar, which ushers in a gentle sea breeze at sunset. The Chardonnay vines face south to take full advantage of the sunlight. This allows for healthier plants and harvests. 


The Prades mountains condition the maritime influence and imbue the area’s Mediterranean climate with a certain continental tendency. Under these climatic and geological conditions, the variety unfolds its full typicity, the unmistakable signature of this thousand-year-old land.


Environmentally conscientious winegrowing practices and excellent grape ripening make up the foundation of the resulting wine. Milmanda is among the country’s most prized and celebrated Chardonnays.


The Milmanda estate is nestled into a forested area, well suited for regenerative agricultural practices. These include maintaining cover crops, both those that occur naturally and those that are sown, as well as compost applications which return plant and pruning residues to the vineyard. 


In the winery, the wine undergoes fermentation in new French oak barriques, giving Milmanda its distinctive profile. Under carefully controlled temperature conditions, the wines can remain on their lees for several months, assimilating their own yeasts and thereby enriching their aromas. This natural fermentation and ageing process does not require any oenological manipulation whatsoever. 


Milmanda is renowned and admired the world over. A wine of utmost elegance and unique personality, firmly structured, with mature, sensual aromas reminiscent of praline and hazelnut, honey and honeysuckle, yellow clingstone peach, and oak-imparted tertiary notes of toasted bread, smoke, and coffee.




Enclaves like Milmanda trace their mesmerizing character to the crossroads of cultures, bellicose vicissitudes, and monastic winegrowing experience. These places bear the imprint of a past that has shaped modern viticulture and wine tourism, transforming them into common spaces where people can come together and share knowledge. The old and the new. The very essence of life itself.