Mallorca: new premium wines from old varieties
The party island is showing an entirely different, more delightful side: every year, more premium wines are produced in Mallorca. While international varieties like Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot yield excellent wines in Mallorca’s terroir, top winemakers increasingly use the best native varieties, such as Manto Negro, Callet and Prensal Blanc. The results are independent wines with Mediterranean charm and surprising freshness.
White wines from Mallorca
Rosé wines from Mallorca
Red wines from Mallorca
Mallorca’s vintners have elevated their wines to a new level in recent years, making the island one of the leading viticultural regions in Spain. It is interesting that a significant number of the premium Mallorcan wines are assemblages.
The Carthaginians and Romans established viticulture in Mallorca, but it was only after the Christians recaptured the island from the Moors in 1231 that wine culture could really flourish. When phylloxera raged on the mainland in the late 19th century, there were around 30,000 hectares of vines in Mallorca. However, Mallorcan vineyards eventually succumbed to phylloxera. The 1990s saw the beginning of the quality development that continues today. Currently, around 2,500 hectares on the island are planted with vines. There are two superior indications of origin – Vinos de la Tierra de Tramuntana-Costa Nord Serra and Vinos de la Tierra Illes Balears – which give winemakers great freedom in formulating varieties. There are also two more narrowly controlled DOs.
The Binissalem DO is located in the western interior of the island, where the vineyards are protected from chilly northern winds by two mountain ranges. In the brown limestone soils, the long-established Manto Negro variety yields velvety wines with alluring ripe fruit and spice, while the autochthonous Callet variety, along with international varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah, supply the necessary structure and freshness.
In the second DO area, Plà i Llevant, in the eastern part of the island, vines grow in calcareous, reddish clay soils with high iron oxide content. In addition to the native Callet variety, international varieties like Cabernet
Long-established varieties on the way up
The trend is clearly moving towards native varieties. Besides Manto Negro and Callet, near-forgotten red varieties like Gorgollassa and Fogoneu are once again playing a role. White cuvées from varieties like Prensal Blanc, Macabeo, Parallada and Giró are fresh and multi-facetted.
A pronounced, yet not too hot Mediterranean climate prevails in Mallorca, with an annual mean temperature of 16 degrees. Annual precipitation, averaging at 500 millimeters per square metre, is sufficient.