A crianza reserva, an ice wine and a mystery wine – all from Mallorca
Because of the many similarities between the English and Mallorcan wine industries, I think it’s well within the “one-degree of separation” rule of English Wine Lovers to devote a post to the standout wines I tasted in just one day during a recent trip to Mallorca.
The morning started with a trip up the mountains. Any time we had discussed wines with the locals, the name Mortitx came up (pronounced More-titch). These guys are the new kids on the block, having made their first wine in only 2005, but they are already making quite a name for themselves and winning awards. Having thoroughly enjoyed a bottle of their entry level Mortitx Blanc 2011 with paella the night before at Los Zarzales restaurant in Port de Pollença, I was directed to the vineyard.
The hairpin bends on a deserted road reminded me of one of those “Best roads in the world” Top Gear programmes. It was stunningly beautiful, but I was quite grateful to count the mileposts up to 12km and see a well-signed track to the vineyard. I followed it until I could see vines before me. Stopping the car, I got out to a resounding delightful din of bells one would expect more from the mountains of Switzerland than a Mediterranean island; I almost expected “Heidi” and her goats to appear, although what greeted me was a flock of sheep with huge noisy bells. Further around the track I came to the very modern building housing the winery and a small tasting area.
I was welcomed by a lady who appeared from the office and was invited to taste a selection chosen by her, or any that I fancied. I tried several wines, of which the standout one for me, for being both unusual and delicious, was the Dolç de Gel. This is, would you believe, an ice wine. It is made from 80% Moscatel and 20% Malvasia grapes and is not excessively sweet, delicious as an aperitif or at the end of a meal. Not surprisingly, they said this was the only ice wine made on Mallorca.
Having tasted a few other wines, I walked further and down a winding track to the main part of their 25 acre site nestling on a flat plain with mountains and sea beyond – quite a sight.
After a traditional lunch of Pa amb oli (Mediterranean toasted open sandwich) on the square in Pollença it was time to head back to Binissalem for the tour I had booked earlier at José Luis Ferrer. So from the new upstart to the old master. For just 6 Euros, I had a tour of the winery and tutored tasting of 4 wines all to myself. We toured the old and new wine-making facilities and the cellars. The wine is all made in stainless steel and then matured, usually in new French oak barrels – the site of all the barrels was quite something. Another storage room contained all of the magnums they produce, highly recommended for parties.
Back up to the tasting room and shop, I tasted their white organic wine, which was very pleasant. This is Ferrer’s first attempt at organic wine and they are rather pleased with it, while still believing that they can do better next time. I wasn’t sure what I was going to make of the reds after the overwhelmingly oaky wines I’d tasted earlier in the week – this time they gave me some of the Signature crianza, followed by the excellent Reserva (60% Mantonegro, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Callet). This wine has 24 months in French and American oak barrels and at least another 12 months before going on sale. I was delighted to find this wine on sale at Palma Airport, so that I could bring a bottle home to see if tastes as good back in England.
Earlier I mentioned the restaurant Los Zarzales. We’d first gone there and met the delightful host Yolanda who taught us a lot about local food and wine. We had so enjoyed it that we had made a reservation for the following evening and had been promised a special wine. So after a brief sit down on the hotel balcony, it was time to end my day of wine-tasting with a walk along the beautiful bay at Port de Pollença. Yolanda wanted to hear about my wine exploits and poured us each a glass from a carafe of red wine. It was one of the smoothest, fruitiest wines I have ever had and went perfectly with the suckling pig we ate. I’m afraid there is little more I can tell you about the wine – her father had come across it some years before and she goes now and again to buy a small barrel. Yolanda has previously sent interested customers to the vineyard, but the old couple there asked her to stop doing so – people kept asking questions like “What grapes is it made from?” (Answer: “Those we’ve got growing over there”) and “What’s it called?” to which the answer is apparently “Do you like it or not?” Well we certainly did, very much.
So all in all a really lovely day and some super wines. If you would like to try any of them, you can buy Mortitx wines from Alexander Hadleigh and the UK distributor for José Luis Ferrer is Iberica Food and Culture. Alternatively, keep drinking English Wines here, but visit Mallorca and try the wines there – we’re definitely tempted to a research trip for their wine week.
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