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Mallorca wines, growing demand for quality produce


Mallorca gets more and more famous for its delicious high-quality wines. The wine related industry on the island develops very quick. Wine tastings, wine tours and organic wineries are more popular than ever. Production (and export) of Mallorcan wines is limited. Better grab your chance when you are on the island and try some of these lovely wines. Before we talk about today´s Mallorcan wines, we start with some wine history on the island.

History

Wine cultivation came to Mallorca in the Roman period, about 100 years AD. When the Moors invaded the island, wine production stopped. Although the Arabs used the grapes to produce raisins. After the Catalan conquest vineyards reappeared on more than 90% of the whole island. Most houses had a bodega. In the 15th century a plague hit Mallorca and again most vineyards vanished. Three centuries later wine cultivation revived. One of the reasons was that wine cultivators got a tax release of 20 years. The wine pest hit France and the French imported wine from Spain. In Mallorca, land that peasants used for other crops was now in use to grow grapes. It was all about quantity and not about quality. Unfortunately, the wine pest (phylloxera) appeared. The majority of the vineyards disappeared again, and a huge economic crisis was a fact. Many of the cultivators emigrated to South America. In the 20th century wine production returned to the island. But again, in the 1980s, another crisis hit the wine sector. Once more, many vineyards disappeared. Nowadays, the wine sector revives. In the last 20 years new vineyards appeared on the island. All with an emphasize on quality and authentic grapes. The real change in Mallorca came with Jaume Mesquida from Porreres. He produced the first cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay of Mallorca. Followed by pinot noir, merlot and syrah. Wine drinkers loved the great taste of the wines. Hotels and restaurants bought the wines quicker than produced. Other winemakers recognized the success and invested in new technologies of wine production. All resulting in a better quality of the wine.

The vineyard of Jaume Mesquida still exists. It is now a traditional vineyard that uses biodynamic methods, like organic techniques. They introduced a small ecosystem in their vineyard. All to let plants and animals grow in harmony.

Mallorcan wines – Denominación de Origen (DO)

In Mallorca are two regions that received the “Denominación de Origen”, also known as DO. A region receives the DO when it can prove it is different in soil, climate and altitude than other regions. In Mallorca many factors influence the quality and taste of the wines. Think of mountains versus flat regions and the influence of the sea.

Binissalem was the first region to receive the DO label. This was in 1990. Nine years later, in 1999, the area of Plá i Llevantalso got the DO. A major difference between these two areas is the altitude. Binissalem is high, while Pla i Llevant (Felanitx area) has a lower altitude.

In both DO areas they grow the varieties of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. As well as the authentic red variety Manto Negro and the white variety Moli.

Mallorcan wines – non-DO

When you explore Mallorca, you see vineyards everywhere and not only in the DO regions. Most wines that are not “Denominación Origen” fall under a “Vi de la Terra” label. There are three in total. Vi de la Terra Mallorca, Vi de la Terra Serra de Tramuntana-Costa Nord and Vi de la Terra Illes Balears.

Quality and Taste of Mallorcan wines

In general wine experts judge the quality of a wine by a few factors. The balance of sweetness, acidity, alcohol and tannin. In a balanced wine none of these components taste stronger than the other.

If you taste a Mallorcan wine, you will taste the high quality. Many factors influence the taste of Mallorcan wines.

First of all, the varieties used are very important. Many of the Mallorcan red wines have a full body. Its acidity is high. It has black fruit flavours and firm structured tannins. Many of the white wines of the island have an average full body. They are very aromatic and have a high acidity.

Furthermore, the altitude and the location of the vineyard influence the wine. In general, high altitudes generate a higher acidity. Also, the closeness to the sea is of importance. As well as the vinification (the wine making process) and maturation methods. Many grapes are handpicked. And organic production becomes very popular

In the last years wines of Mallorca won prizes everywhere in Europe. And they beat the best wineries. Have a glass and you understand why!

Autochtone grapes

In Mallorca you find more than 40 different grape varieties. All with a unique taste because of the Mediterranean climate. Forty different varieties are too many to list here, but we will introduce you to a few typical ones.

Manto Negro

This is a black grape with the aroma-mix of cherry, lilac and caramel. Production of this grape is popular in the Binissalem region. The Manto Negro alone gives a light red wine. More common is to mix this variety with other grapes like the Callet. It has a lot of sugar so tends to be high in alcohol.

Callet

Another black grape. Low in alcohol. The use of the Callet variety was for the creation of rosé or light red wines. But now they mix this grape with other varieties like the Manto Negro or Cabernet. It adds spice and allows the wine to age-

Monastral (Mourvedre)

The classic grape of the island for red wine. No highflyer in itself, but combined with other varieties it can be exceptional

Moll (Prensal Blanc) A white grape used to produce refreshing wines. Light and floral. Many times the wineries blend this variety with Chardonnay. In that case a more complex wine is the result.

Malvasia

We want to highlight the Malvasia variety as well as it is a very important grape in the region where we operate. The microclimate of the mountains makes this variety special. Used for a fresh dry white wine with aromas of melon and pear.

Mallorcan wines and tourism

Wine tourism develops in high speed on Mallorca. Many bodegas organize tasting and tours through their premises and / or vineyards. Wine tastings are often combined with some local food. Try the delicious wines with typical quelitas, authentic oil and salt etc.

There are possibilities to combine the wine tasting with a helicopter flight. Or do a tour by train (the Wine Express). Have a look here to see some of the options. In many regions there are wine festivals during the year, like the Fair in Pollenca or Binissalem.

Bodegas

There are so many wineries and vineyards on the island that it is undoable to mention them all. Below you will find a shortlist of excellent bodegas. They are worth to visit and/or try their delicious wines.

Macia Batle – Santa Maria del Cami

This is an icon under the bodegas of Mallorca. Existing since 1856 when they started with the production of wines. This winery produces high quality wines using local grapes. Less than half of their wines are exportd to various European countries. The majority of their wine stays on the island. Many of the wines won international awards. Macia Batle is not only well-known for its excellent wines but also for the wine labels. All masterpieces of art. The bodega is very tourist orientated. It offers tours in many different languages followed by a nice wine tasting. We have done a tour and tasting ourselves and can recommend it!

Can Feliu – Porreres

The Feliu family produces wine since 1790. Grapes grew on vineyards that belonged to the family. These were Son Barbut, Son Dagueta and Son Drago. Until the end of the 1800s the wine production was steady. Up to the moment the wine pest appeared on Mallorca. The century that followed was one of decline. Grapevines disappeared from the plots and almond and olive trees appeared. The year 1999 was the beginning of what is now a very successful bodega. Carlos Feliu planted a vine in the family estate of Son Dagueta. This experiment was the start of Bodega Ca´n Feliu.

Since 2004 they produce certified quality organic wines. In 2010 they received the International Demeter certification in biodynamic vinification and production.

Now they have 18 hectares dedicated to growing vines. Harvest of the grapes is by hand.

All wines have the Vi de la Terra de Mallorca tag. The mission is to grow bigger internationally. But always with quality and biodynamic production coming on the first place.

If you want to have a real cool wine experience you definitely should visit this bodega. You can take part in harvesting grapes and you can design your own wine.

The bodega does not only produce wine. It is also a pretty agri-turismo where you can stay for a few nights. A unique concept combining hospitality with eco wine production.

Vinyes Mortitx - Escorca

In this Blog we do not want to emphasize on the big and famous bodegas only. The area in which Soller-Properties operates is less known for its wines. Still there are some bodegas not far away. Like Vinyes Mortitx in Escorca. Existing since 2005. Not as popular as Macia Batle, Ribas or Castell St. Miguel but worth to mention. The fact that the vineyard is 400m above sea level is already something special. This gives a unique taste to the grapes.

They own about 19 hectares of vines and have a yearly production of about 100.000 bottles. For their white wine they use the Malvasia grape. A grape that is typical for the Sierra de Tramuntana.

Bodegas Ribas - Consell

This is the oldest bodega on Mallorca. For more than 300 years the Ribas family produces wines in the heart of the island. On their vineyards they grow the largest range of authentic grape varieties. But they also re-introduce old grape varieties that almost vanished, like the Gargollasa. They were one of the first who started to select grapes by hand to contribute to the quality of the wine. The vineyards are 155m above sea level. You find Ribas in Consell in a typical 18th century house. Today it still has the original barrel cellar. Ribas organizes different types to tastings and tours. Check their website to see what suits you best.

Bodega Oloron - Alaro

Before this was the bodega of Vinyes d´Alaro. A glorious winery in the past. Due to private circumstances production paralyzed for a few years. But now this winery revives with new owners. Their mission is to be successful. They changed the name into Oloron. This name goes back to the 13th century, when Alaro had the Islamic name Oloron.

The family relies on traditional production methods. Like this they ensure the production of quality wines. The Chardonnay and Malvasia grapes are the main varieties. This winery triplicated its land in a short time. Production increased very strong. aIt is possible to visit this young and ambitious winery. They offer different wine tasting options, but always by appointment.

There are many excellent wineries on the island. So is was difficult to choose only five to highlight in this Blog. Wine lovers that visit the island must try the Mallorcan wines. It is your best chance to find them easily. Be impressed by the quality and taste of it. Combine the delicious wines with the excellent Mallorcan food. This will give you a fantastic gourmet experience. Our team can only say: ENJOY and CHEERS!


Mallorca property with vineyards

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