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Mallorca – an Old and New Wine Frontier!

Tasting Jose FerrerIMG_4449








As a Swedish – California person, Mallorca seems like a place I should know. Why, you ask?  Well, most Swedes have been to Mallorca on charter vacations at least once in their lives, and one of the most famous historical people of California is father Juniperro Serra, who brought Catholicism there (for better or worse)  and founded the 21 missions up and down the state was born in the small town of Petra in Mallorca.

But last week I went to Mallorca for the first time, not knowing much about the island in general or the wine production in particular. It is an incredibly beautiful place and reminded me a lot of California. The island’s west side is covered by a spectacular mountain range and the center is endless green plains with millions of olive trees, almond trees and sheep!

There was a thriving wine culture here for almost 2000 years, seeded by the Romans of course, but like much of Europe it was devastated by the phylloxera plague about a century ago. In the aftermath the Mallorcans planted almond trees – a safer agricultural alternative – and they were blossoming in a spectacular fashion as we arrived.

In the early 90ies the modern era of wine production began, with island wine makers concentrating on making good wine using native grape varietals. It’s still rare to find wine made of 100% Callet, Manto Negro (red) Premsal or Moll (white), usually they are blended with other varietals such as Monastrell, Cab Sav or Muscat or the Catalonian grape Macabeo, but usually no more than 25% .

The major wine district, Binissalem (DO), is in the central part of the island where we happily went wine tasting.  The bodegas cover the whole spectrum, from the smartly appointed José Ferrer with its tasting room staff and menu, tasting paper mat for the glasses and expensive snacks, to the ultimate local wine cellar, Ca’n Novell, where the woman wine maker was putzing around, hosing down giant barrels and telling us to help ourselves to the wines, set up on an old barrel with small glass cups on a tray for tasting. Some 20 bottles, from the lightest white to a fab dessert wine. No charge. Serra de Tramuntana & Costa Nord and Pla & LLevant  are other interesting wine areas.

We had some fantastic meals washed down with excellent local wine which, curiously, is often priced on the same level or higher than the wine from the mainland.

For sure, three days was not enough time to explore and discover all of what this beautiful island has to offer a wine lover. So, I think I’ll be going back. Soon!!




IMG_4647Ca'n NovellIMG_4434

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