Victoria Torres Pecis - Rare releases from La Palma

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Today we have the great honor of offering a handful of wines from Victoria Torres Pecis, whose wines were previously bottled as 'Matias i Torres' until she recently transitioned to just using her name. When we received most of these wines about a month ago, it seemed odd (or possibly insensitive) to send out a newsletter while wildfires were raging through La Palma in July ("La Palma's on fire, but check out these wines!"), plus I may have had a personal issue of not wanting to sell any of the wines because we cherish them so much. Now that some time has passed, we should take a moment to acknowledge and send our sympathies to the people of La Palma, the most northwestern of the Canary Islands, who have experienced a destructive volcanic eruption in 2021 and, more recently, the damaging wildfires that destroyed 4,650 hectares (18 square miles) of land in July. We should also celebrate the magic of La Palma and the Canary Islands, and not hoard Victoria's wines!

Cellar gymnastics with Vicki! (photo: Ariana Rolich)

These are not mainstream wine collector wines, but there is a small group of wine-lovers who have discovered Victoria's wines, through travel or curiosity,  along with many friends from the wine and restaurant world who recognize how special they are. They are high quality wines, that transcend the place they are from (which is hard when that place is the Canary Islands!). Though I am a big fan of Pablo Matallana, have had Borja Perez bottles (under the Ignios label) that I will never forget, and Envinate wines that transported me (just to name a few memorable Canary producers), none have stood out to me as consistently as Victoria's wines. They are singular, aromatically astounding, with layers and layers of texture, brain-twisting aromatics, and drinkability. Maybe there is something about La Palma or just something about her wines, but they are all remarkably accessible on opening, and feel good to drink, with both body and mind finding pleasure and beauty.  - Eben Lillie

Grapes from the Chupadero vineyard, and harvest on the hills

A bit of info on the winery and the winemaker (paraphrased from a previous article written by former colleague Ben Fletcher): La Palma is the northwesternmost island in the Canary Island chain, and among the youngest of the volcanic isles. Characterized by intense altitude variations (the highest peak rises nearly 2,500 meters above the sea) and a stark contrast between black ash soils in the south and the lush and very green north, it has a long history of viticulture, with grapes grown in the wide variety of microclimates across the island. In particular, La Palma was long known for its sweet Malvasía wines, which were treasured on both sides of the Atlantic in the 18th and 19th centuries. As the Canary Islands have managed to insulate themselves from phylloxera, these vineyards are living representatives of this history, with many vines dating back to the 19th century and beyond.

VIcki in the vines (photo: David Bowler Wines)

Victoria Torres Pecis and her family are an important part of that history. Based in Fuencaliente, on La Palma's southern tip, the Torres family have been farming the local grape varieties and making wine for five generations. Founded in 1885, it is one of the oldest wineries in the Canary Islands. Victoria Torres currently works roughly seven hectares of vines spread across the island, from Fuencaliente in the south to Garafia in the north, where altitudes reach 1400 meters. The vineyards are planted with the indigenous varieties of the Canary Islands: Malvasía, Negramoll, Lístan Negro, Lístan Prieto, Albillo, Listan Blanco and Forastera. Working organically and by hand, restoring old vineyards, Victoria produces wines of impressive purity and intensity. Her approach in the cellar is tradition and low-intervention. She ferments the grapes with indigenous yeasts in very old pine lagars or in stainless steel tanks, and she uses sulfur sparingly. Production is very limited, and we look forward to the arrival of our allocation of these wines every year.

Victoria Torres Pecis, 2014 (photo: Ariana Rolich)

 

 

 

 

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Victoria Torres Pecis 2018 La Palma Las Migas (Listan Blanco)

Las Migas is a fascinating Lístan Blanco bottling, sourced from several plots in Southern La Palma at altitudes of around 600m. The name of the wine translates to "the crumbs," which is perhaps what Vicki feels like she's picking as she goes from tiny parcel to tiny parcel! Grapes from the plots were picked at different times and were added to concrete eggs as they were brought in. Once all of the parcels were harvested, the wine took 24 months to fully ferment. This wine, that was finally bottled in 2021 is the result of that patient process. It is layered, textured, and enticing from the nose to the mid-palate to the finish. We're already fans of Listan Blanco, which is such an interesting grape on its own, but this takes it up a notch! -EL

  • Out of Stock
  • white
  • 0 in stock
  • $37.99

  • Organic
  • Low Sulfur

Victoria Torres Pecis 2018 La Palma SIn Titulo Listan Blanco

The Sin Titulo wines feature a particular pick up truck that Victoria is fond of, and usually come from multiple plots, but then again almost all her wines come from multiple plots! The difference here is that the Sin Titulo wines seem to focus on combining fruit from the north and the south of La Palma, whereas her other wines (some which she makes every year, if possible) are often from multilple plots but always from a particular sub-region or side of the island. 'Sin Titulo LB' is, you guessed it, Listan Blanco! The 2018 is a blend Vicki made from plots in the northwest and southeast of La Palma with vine age ranging from 35-130 years old. The northwest vineyards are at around 1350m altitude, while the southern ones are around 400m. Grapes were fermented by plot, with a small amount of skin inclusion before press, giving texture and bite, but not color. The wines were then combined and aged in concrete for almost 2 years. Compared to Las Migas, a Listan Blanco wine from only southern vineyards, this one has more persistent acidity, high tone, and grip which I think comes from the high altitude sites, though the little bit of skin contact is clearly an influence too. It isn't reductive, but if subtle reduction met a dehydrated lemon rind, maybe that's what you get on the nose. I just chalk it up to being Listan Blanco from volcanic soils! Anyway, it's very good, and reminds me of the unique aromas and flavors that Listan Blanco wines always deliver. -EL

  • Out of Stock
  • white
  • 0 in stock
  • $48.99

  • Organic
  • Low Sulfur

Victoria Torres Pecis 2019 La Palma T Mas D Blanco

A wine that will likely just exist once, this is a relatively equal blend of Listan Blanco and Diego from two vineyards in Fuencaliente in the southern part of La Palma, both planted on volcanic ash. The "T" is for El Tión, a zone in the south of the island, near a volcanic crater sitting at around 2,000m, where Victoria has a vineyard at about 1200m. This is where the Listan Blanco comes from, some of which is used for her red wine called 'El Tión,' and some of which was used for this blend. The "D" is for Diego, which comes from a vineyard at 800m, not far from the El Tión zone. It's not clear if there wasn't enough Diego and she added Listan Blanco from El Tión, or if it was the other way around. Either way, it's a blend that might not happen again! The wines were fermented separately in stainless steel, and then blended and aged on the lees, also in stainless. We haven't tried it but we can offer this tasting note from Luis Gutiérrez of the Wine Advocate, who has tasted extensively with Victoria, and reviewed her wines very positively! ///  "It has a pungent nose with balsamic, spicy and medicinal touches, with hints of jasmine and some herbal notes. It has a velvety palate with a bitter and salty twist on the finish, which was very dry. 1,047 unoaked bottles were produced."  -Luis Gutiérrez Wine Advocate

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  • white
  • 0 in stock
  • $39.99

  • Organic
  • Low Sulfur

Victoria Torres Pecis 2020 La Palma Malvasia Aromatica Seca

Malvasia from La Palma has had a reputation for quality since the 17th century. Victoria Torres' expression of the grape variety is dry, aromatic, crystalline, and very special. With the 2020, Victoria did a brief 12 hours of skin contact during fermentation, which was in large old barrels. Aging was for nine months.

  • Out of Stock
  • white
  • 0 in stock
  • $48.99

  • Organic
  • Low Sulfur

Victoria Torres Pecis 2021 La Palma La Clarete

Though it seems to vary depending on region (or in some cases just who you ask!), a clarete wine is usually a field blend of red and white grapes - most often from the same vineyard - that are co-fermented, resulting in a wine that can resemble a rosé or a light red. Victoria Torres makes her Clarete from several plots in Mazo, in the Southeastern portion of La Palma. Though at times she has employed Negramoll, Albillo, Listan Negro, Listan Blanco, and Forastera, the 2021 seems to be majority Negramoll and Listan Negro, with Listan Blanco at a smaller percentage than the red grapes combined. The Listan Negro and Listan Blanco go through whole cluster fermentation, and the Negramoll sees 8 days of maceration before pressing. All of this juice is then co-fermented and aged in 500L neutral barrels.

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $37.99

  • Organic
  • Low Sulfur

Victoria Torres Pecis 2021 La Palma El Tion

Importer Note:  "El Tión is a zone in the south of the island, near a volcanic crater sitting at around 2,000 meters of elevation.  Vicki owns a parcel here and is accustomed to working other plots where a lot of young winemakers are now situated.  It is a very isolated and also very difficult place to access, but the vineyards here are special.  The 2021 wine was made from 95% Listán Negro and 5% Listán Blanco.  An amount of the grapes were pressed on whole clusters, and the wine was aged in cement." (note courtesy of David Bowler Wines)

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  • red
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  • $40.99

  • Organic
  • Low Sulfur

Victoria Torres Pecis 2021 La Palma Mazo LB (Listan Blanco)

Importer Note:  "El Mazo is in the same southern zone of the grapes that go into her Clarete, in the south of La Palma. The Listan Blanco here comes from 75-year-old vines, and the grapes have thicker skins, adapted to the fierce Atlantic winds. The wine macerates shortly with the skins before being pressed and fermented. It is aged in Viki's famous chestnut barrels." (courtesy of David Bowler Wines)

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  • white
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  • $39.99

Victoria Torres Pecis 2021 La Palma Rosado

This wins my best rosé/rosado/rosato of the year award. To be fair there are probably a lot of rosés that I have missed this year, and I drank my bottle of Stein too fast, but also to be fair, this wine is delicious! All Negramoll from the northwestern part of La Palma, from a parcel at about 1,400m altitude. Grapes are destemmed, pressed by foot and fermented in oak barrels. Maceration is short here, but more than a direct press for sure, making this a layered and deep rosado that is a joy to drink! Savory, with herbs, but not herbal. Red fruits and wild berry notes, without any fruitiness or concentrated flavors. Fantastic acidity, endless pairing potential, it's really a special wine and one that transcends the category. I hope there are bottles left over after this offer because I already want another one! -EL

  • Out of Stock
  • rosé
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  • $46.99

  • Organic
  • Low Sulfur

Victoria Torres Pecis 2021 La Palma Sin Titulo Blanco Malvasia Alb

Importer Note:  "75% Malvasía Aromática and 25% Albillo.  The Malvasía comes from the Jerónimo vineyard in the north at 1,200 meters, while the Albillo comes from the Los Llanos Negros plantation in the lower south at 380m. Due to a heatwave in August Viki lost around 85% of her Malvasía grapes, and decided to bring in Albillo to add some savory notes and depth. Grapes were fermented and aged separately, the Albillo in concrete tanks and the Malvasia in old barrels." (courtesy of David Bowler Wines)

  • Out of Stock
  • white
  • 0 in stock
  • $46.99

  • Organic
  • Low Sulfur

Victoria Torres Pecis NV (18/19/20) 'LI' La Palma Tinto Negramoll

This is a fascinating and wispy, volcanic wonder, consisting of all Vicki's 2019 fruit, combined with some 2018 and 2020. Dusty, smoky red fruit and herbs, very delicate grip, zero reduction, very aromatic and inviting upon opening!  //Importer Notes: "Negramoll from three different vintages (2018, 2019, 2020), and three different zones (east, south, and north, each one with distinct terroirs and micro-climates and ranging in elevation between 340 and 1,400 meters high.) Grapes were partially destemmed and macerated for about 6-12 days with daily punch downs. Gentle extraction, spontaneous fermentation in oak barrels"

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  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $39.99

  • Organic
  • Low Sulfur

Victoria Torres Pecis NV (18/19/20) 'LII' La Palma Tinto Negramoll

LII is a second bottling of the multi-vintage Negramoll wine from Victoria that is the first release of Negramoll from her since the 2018 vintage. This is quite simply the same wine and aged in the same way, but for longer. My assumption was that LI would be a bit lighter and more fragrant, and LII a bit deeper, and perhaps darker or broader from the additional aging in barrel. It does seem the case. I thought I liked LI "better" after trying them both, but I don't know if I'd feel the way in a few years. In the end, LI is ligther and more energetic in spirit, and LII does have more meatiness and subtle oxidized notes. Something tells me LII could handle Sichuan food but LI might not. Maybe LI is an appetizer and LII is the main course? Maybe I'm just hungry.  -EL 

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $39.99

  • Organic
  • Low Sulfur