Catalonia saw an excellent harvest in 2019, although yields were down compared to the year previous. The harvest of ancestral varieties in Penedès and the old vines of Mas de la Rosa (DOQ Priorat) concluded on October 18th after eight weeks of hard work.
“This season benefited from stable weather conditions, which kept the grapes in good health, but the lack of rainfall throughout the growth season caused vineyard yields to drop by around 20%, especially in the southern parts of Catalonia. Even so, the level of quality was outstanding, and all of the vineyards met our expectations.”
“The first whites of 2019 display good acidity, freshness, and great aromatic potential. The reds are very fruity, well-balanced, and persistent.”
Miguel Torres Maczassek
Familia Torres 5th generation
Except for a few isolated incidents, the year was generally dry with mild temperatures. After a rather dry winter with normal temperatures, the spring unfolded cool and rainy, giving way to a very dry summer with moderate temperatures and a few heat spikes during the last week of June and in July. These conditions brought about a noticeable drop in early-ripening varieties, whereas late-ripening ones were less affected. That being said, all varieties ripened well, stayed healthy, and developed normally.
Grape pickers at Mas La Plana (DO Penedès), a Familia Torres property
So far the Penedès whites show good aromatic intensity and lovely acidity on the palate. The reds promise excellent fruit concentration coupled with a magnificently balanced palate thanks to good phenolic ripeness.
At Mas La Plana, the family's core vineyard, every parcel delivered an outstanding, healthy harvest, although crop levels were slightly lower than in recent years. Tasting the grapes already gave us a sense of the slightly thicker, more turgid skins. The resulting wines have splendid color, fresh and fruit-filled aromatic intensity, and firm, elegant tannins.
Low yields made for a short harvest, but it was exceptional in quality. The 2019 vintage wines promise character and elegance.
During the last week of June, the region went through a severe heat wave, with temperatures soaring above 40ºC for four consecutive days and relative humidity below 10%. The Cariñena grapes were hit the hardest by this extreme heat event, and some berries dried out even though veraison was still weeks away. July and August, however, were not particularly hot, which allowed the maturation cycle to progress at a slow but constant pace, so that the vineyards reached the end of August without further risks or incidences.
Harvest at Mas de la Rosa (DOQ Priorat), a Familia Torres property
The 2019 vintage presents aromatically clean wines with distinct varietal expression. The midpalate is very promising, given the grapes' gradual, balanced maturation which has resulted in excellent phenolic ripeness.
At the old vineyard of Mas de la Rosa, we tilled the land with the help of a mule for several days during the winter. This traditional cultural practice is very characteristic of the region and mitigates the effects of erosion which tend to be quite significant in these steep hillside vineyards.
The harvest at the historical vineyards of Milmanda and Grans Muralles underwent slow, evenly paced maturation, resulting in optimal ripeness and very healthy grapes. Overall, the Conca de Barberà vintage saw dry conditions and moderate temperatures.
Harvesting near Milmanda castle (DO Conca de Barberà), a Familia Torres property
The grapes from the Milmanda vineyard were in impeccable condition and, thanks to the favorable climate, they ripened very evenly, reaching an optimal level of perfectly balanced alcohol and acidity. The wines are very aromatic and fresh, with good acidity on the palate.
The July heat wave caused some vegetative stress in the Muralles vineyard, which limited cluster growth and thus contributed positively to the quality of the red grapes. Furthermore, the temperatures at harvest time were lower than in previous years, resulting in red wines with good acidity. The wines from the old Muralles vineyard possess very elegant fruit, good aromatic intensity, and a beautifully balanced palate.
Cluster at harvest time, l'Aranyó vineyards (DO Costers del Segre)
The wines already indicate an excellent varietal nose that emphasizes the regional typicity. Polyphenol extraction was slightly more complicated than last year, and skin contact slightly shorter in order to obtain finer, more elegant wines.
This year also marked the very first harvest of the free-standing vines of the ancestral variety Gonfaus, which grow in the lower part of the vineyard. The resulting wines are more continental in character, but maintain the freshness and elegance that characterizes this ancestral variety.