If the grandmother's name appears on the label, the content must also satisfy her strict judgment. Its noble ageing in barriques shows Sió with notes of coconut, honey and cigar box. A hint of rose and hibiscus, the impression of sun-ripened raspberries and rose hips, cinnamon and star anise form its aromatic fan. The Mallorcan presents itself full- bodied, with a strong, balanced body and pleasantly perceptible tannins: A red wine with an expressive Mediterranean character.
|Origin:||Spain / Mallorca|
|Grape variety:||Mantonegro, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot|
|Label:||Certified organic or biodynamic wine|
|Ripening potential:||2 to 8 years|
|Drinking temperature:||16 to 18 °C|
|Food Pairing:||Rabbit ragout with olives, Saddle of lamb fillet with herb jus, Roasted lamb gigot, Roast saddle of venison, Wild fowl|
|Vinification:||long must fermentation, fermentation in steel tank, protein fining, fermentation at low temperatures|
|Harvest:||hand-picking, strict selection, in small boxes, selecting the grapes (by hand)|
|Maturation:||in partly new and used barriques/ Pièces|
The island wines from Mallorca have been blessed for years with high quality and Mediterranean charm. Along with Syrah, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, it is above all the indigenous varieties such as Mantonegro, Gargollassa, Callet and Prensal blanc, that make Mallorca a true “treasure island”. Grapes that exist only here reflect the unmistakable character of this unique wine island.
The Ribas winery in Consell has been preserving these Mallorcan treasures for more than 300 years. It is the oldest winery on the island, and it features a stately mansion from the 18th century. The first vines were planted by Pedro Ribas in 1711. There are now 40 hectares, located approximately 150 metres above sea level, on sandy, calcareous and sometimes very stony soils, which are farmed with certified organic methods.
Merlot is the most charming member of the Bordeaux family. It shines with rich colour, fragrant fullness, velvety tannins and sweet, plummy fruit. It even makes itself easy for the vintner, as it matures without issue in cool years as well. This is in contrast to the stricter Cabernet Sauvignon, which it complements as a blending partner. Its good qualities have made the Merlot famous worldwide. At over 100,000 hectares, it is the most-planted grape in France. It also covers large areas in California, Italy, Australia and recently in Eastern Europe. The only catch is that pure Merlot varieties rarely turn out well. Its charm is often associated with a lack of substance. Only the best specimens improve with maturity. They then develop complex notes of leather and truffles. This succeeds in the top wines from the Bordeaux appellation of Pomerol and those from Ticino, among others.
A hint of pepper
The legend stubbornly persists that the Syrah variety came from the Persian city of Shiraz. Yet, researchers have shown that it is a natural crossing of two old French varieties: the red Dureza from the Rhône Valley and the white Mondeuse blanche from Savoy. Wines from Syrah are gentle and concentrated. They smell of dark berries, violets and liquorice, and amaze with a piquant touch of white pepper. As varietal wines, they are found on the northern Rhone, as in the Hermitage or Côte Rôtie appellations, as well as in Swiss Valais. In the southern Rhône Valley, Syrah is often wedded with Grenache and Mourvèdre. In 1832, a Frenchman brought the variety to Australia, where it became the emblem of the national wine industry. There, the weightiest versions develop with typical notes of tar and chocolate.
The prince of Mallorca
The word “negro” – black – in this variety’s name is misleading. It refers to a red wine grape, and a relatively light one at that. Some grapes even shimmer more pink than red. The Manto negro is the most important variety, and a real native, of the holiday island of Mallorca. It yields bright-red, soft wines with plenty of alcohol and an unusual bouquet of blackberry, fig and pomegranate. A small amount of Callet – a slightly stronger Mallorcan variety – is usually added to lend it structure. Wines from Manto negro are well suited for barrel maturation, especially if they come from old vines. These provide particularly concentrated musts that are full of character.
The backbone of Bordeaux
The Cabernet Sauvignon gives the Bordeaux its backbone, yielding deep violet wines with powerful tannins and endless ripening potential. It is the top dog in Médoc, and is placed in all five premier crus of Bordelais. When young, it often appears strict and unapproachable, but with advancing years, its tannins round off. It is wonderfully velvety, and yet always maintains its freshness. Typical flavours include cassis, graphite and cedar. Wherever Cabernet Sauvignon is found, Merlot is not far away. It complements the robust structure of Cabernet with softness, fruit and richness. The Cabernet Sauvignon is the most-exported vine in the world. It delivers persuasive qualities in Italy as an ingredient of the Super Tuscan, or as the flagship variety from California. There, it is lovingly titled “Cab Sauv”. Meat fans should be aware that it fantastically accompanies a grilled entrecôte. The family tree of Cabernet Sauvignon is surprising: its parents are Cabernet Franc and the white Sauvignon blanc.
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.
Spain – Variety and perfection
“Somewhere in la Mancha, in a place whose name I do not care to remember...,” begins Don Quixote's odyssey.
The most famous part is definitely when Don Quixote thinks windmills are his enemy and wants to fight them – until they nearly kill him. It’s possible there was a bit too much of the La Mancha wine at play. Spanish vines fight for their survival in rugged landscapes, battling fierce drought and rough soils. But they fight well.