Victoria Torres Pecis - Rare releases from La Palma

8/11/23 -

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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