Mireia Torres Maczassek

Mireia Torres Maczassek

Jean Leon (Director of Winemaking)

Winemaking was likely an inevitable career path for Mireia Torres Maczassek. She was born in Barcelona in 1969 and grew up in a family in which nature was salient — as an inspiration for her mother’s art and as a necessity for her father’s vineyards. Her mother is a well-recognized painter, and her father, who initially studied chemical sciences in Barcelona and ultimately specialized in oenology and viticulture at the University of Dijon, is a well-known winemaker.

Mireia attended the Institut Químic de Sarrià in Barcelona and graduated with a degree in Chemical Engineering in 1994, specializing in Analysis. The next year she moved to France to study oenology and viticulture at the Ecole Nationale Superieure Agronomique de Montpellier. A few years later, after working for a chemical manufacturer of resins and flocculants, she decided to join the family company, where she thought she could better develop her scientific interests.

She led the analysis laboratory for the company for one year and then was asked to head up its Research & Development (R&D) and innovation areas. In 2004, she became Head of Winemaking of the company, and over the next eight-year period led many successful projects in the areas of winemaking and viticulture, including the development of Torres Priorat.

Mireia, who currently holds the title of Director of Bodega Jean Leon in Penedès and Torres Priorat, is an impressive winemaker and research scientist. We were able to visit both facilities during our visit in April. Doing so helped us to understand the breadth of her work and her passion for creating wines that are in balance with nature.

Although Mireia was not available to meet with us at Bodegas Jean Leon, we were left in the very good hands of her assistant, Asier Vivanco. The winery has an interesting history. It was founded in 1969 by Jean Leon, a friend of Mireia’s father and creator of the now legendary La Scala restaurant, originally located in Beverly Hills and a favorite of Hollywood’s movie stars. The winery was intended to be the source of the wines for the restaurant. Two years prior to Jean Leon’s death in 1996, the winery was acquired by Bodegas Torres with the understanding that the family would continue his legacy of producing high quality wines, a promise that Mireia has met and continues to do so. Her single vineyard wines include Vinya La Scala Cabernet Sauvignon Gran Reserva and Vinya Gigi Chardonnay, among others.

The Wines. Our discussions about Mireia’s career path took place over lunch at Mas Rabell, the historic Catalan country house that has been in her family for many years. The food was wonderful, of course, and the pairings with the Torres Priorat and Jean Leon wines excellent. What we most learned, having already read a great deal about the Torres family, was how likeable Mireia is! We talked about her wonderful children, her interest in psychology, and the goal we all have to live an authentic life. And naturally, we talked about wine. Bottles of Torres Priorat 2012 Salmos and 2012 Perpetual made the trip back to California with us, as did the 2001 Jean Leon Vinya La Scala Cabarnet Sauvignon Gran Reserva Penedès.