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Unknown makes unloved: Mallorca

When you think of Mallorca, you don't immediately think of wine. Mallorca is best known for its beautiful beaches and high child friendliness. Ideal for family holiday.But you will also find vineyards all over Mallorca, that makes it perfect for a Winefathers holiday! Did you know that it'sthe only Balearic island to even have 2 DOs? Time for a short deep dive in Mediterranean Mallorca!

At Alicante, turn right

First things first, the topography. Mallorca is one of the 4 Balearic Islands. The three others are Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera. Mallorca is the largest, with an area of 3640 km², comparable to the province of Friesland. Also in terms of population, although there are often more tourists than residents on the island. Mallorca is located in the middle of the Balearic Sea, between Spain and Italy, and on the same latitude as Alicante. The island has a real Mediterranean climate; warm summers and mild winters. Especially in the summer it is very sunny with hardly any rain. Spring and autumn are slightly wetter and can be quite turbulent.

The winevalley

It's quite strange that we're not so familiar with Mallorcan wines in the Netherlands, despite the island is very suitable for it. This is mainly due to the alternation of mountains and 'flat' ground. If you look at the map of Mallorca, you will see that there is a large mountain range in the northwest: the Serra de Tramuntana. In this mountain range is also the Puig Major, with 1445 meters the highest point of Mallorca. A large area with many hills runs from the southeast to the east. Just in between is a valley with some hills on either side; ideal for growing grapes. The great advantage of the valley is the constant wind. If the grapes have become wet from dew, fog or rain, the wind blows them dry and prevents mould.

Ancient tradition

Viticulture in Mallorca goes way back to the classical Roman era. From the 14th to the 19th century, the sweet Malvasias were immensely popular in England, Germany and the Netherlands. Unfortunately, the phylloxera also came to Mallorca with the trade, although they were able to stop it initially. Still, most of the vines were attacked and destroyed.

Fortunately, farmers came in action, and the local grapes were replanted. Just enough for own production. Mallorcan wines did not get further than the Spanish mainland. In the 1990s this changed. Winemakers saw the light and started investing heavily. In equipment such as stainless steel tanks, the barrels and irrigation systems. But also in experimenting with popular grape varieties such as Merlot and Chardonnay. This resulted in quality wine that competed heavily with Rioja and Ribera del Duero due to the price. The trend was set! Because of all the effort, Mallorca now even has 2 appellations: DO Binissalem (at the foot of the Serra de Tramuntana) and DO Pla i Llevant (in central eastern Mallorca around Manacor and Felanitx).

Quite native

What Mallorcan wine makes special is that, despite the phylloxera, they have managed to preserve the indigenous grapes. To this day, about 40 mainly blue grape varieties grow there that are not found anywhere else. That ensures that you can really taste the taste of Mallorca. The most famous grape is Callet, which is reminiscent of the Cabernet Sauvignon due to its complexity and spiciness. Manto Negro is the hero around Binissalem. A grape that produces light red wine with aromas of cherries, caramel and flowers. White wine is mainly found from the Prensal blanc, also called Moll. Gives straw yellow, light wine. A summer drinker that is often blended with Chardonnay for some complexity.

In short

Mallorcan wine is worth trying! It is a style on its own, in which you can taste the traditional Mediterranean style. Small disadvantage: you have to search very hard for Mallorcan wine in the Netherlands. If you really want to discover the style, get on a plane. Within 2 hours you are in Palma and the vineyards are at your feet. A visit to those vineyards mjst be on your bucketlist! For example the very large ones like Bodegas José L. Ferrer, the more compact ones like Bodegas Miquel Oliver, the small family vineyard Vins Nadal in Binissalem or the special winery Can Axartell of the Schwarfkopf family. Gravity does almost all the work in the wine cellars! Check out our review of the Can Axartell Blanco.

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