“Where Wine meets Art, a perfect pairing.”
Santa Maria del Cami, Mallorca Spain
Founded in the 1850s, Bodegas Macià Batle currently produces approximately 1 million bottles per year, the largest producer on the island we are told. Don’t let the size deter you!! We love this wine; and the tasting and tour are high on our list of “Don’t Miss” wineries! Located in Santa Maria del Cami, they are in the Binissalem Denomination of Origin, (DOB), and currently have 100 hectares of vineyards. They can produce 140,000. bottles at one time. 40% of their wines go for export to the UK, Germany, Austria, Denmark, Switzerland and Denmark, and 60% for the island in grocery stores, wine shops, and restaurants. In 2004 they enlarged to current production levels. Mallorcan Chairman Sebastià Rubí loves art, so every year their Crianza and Reserva wines get special artistic labels, and label-art decorates the winery like a private gallery!
The grapes they grow include local varietals Manto Negro, Gorgollassa, Giro Ros, Prensal Blanc, Muscatel, and northern grapes including Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Syrah. Bodegas Macià Batle grows most of its own grapes, but an interesting fact is that in the Binissalem Denomination of Origin (DOB), wineries can buy grapes from other vineyards, as long as they too are in the DOB. It is our understanding that the DOB red wines must be made with a minimum of 30% Manto Negro or Gorgollassa grapes. The Whites must have a 50% minimum of Premsal Blanc (also known as Moll), or from the variety Moscatell. And the Rosés require a minimum of 30% Manto Negro or Gorgollassa. Go local grapes!!!
While the scale at Macià Batle seems enormous compared with our previous Wine Trail Bodegas, this winery is well laid out with pleasing architecture, good light, and we certainly got the feeling of a care for excellence rather than mass production. Our tour was fun and truly informative, led by multilingual Isabel who seemed to be as excited about winemaking as we are. There are scheduled tasting tours at specific times that can be booked in advance. Or, like us, you can gamble and hope to just show up and be a part of one. Either way, we highly recommend it and think this is one of the best winery tours on the island.
Arriving at Macià Batle, you first enter via the main showroom. It has all the glorious certificates and bottles on display, wonderful label art on the walls, and interesting books and deli products for sale. It sounds touristic, but the layout and colors are so good that it is a pleasure to enter and browse.
Beginning the tour we learned that their entire bottling process is automatic. We walked through high-ceilinged halls past enormous machines that clean bottles, fill them, label, cap, seal, then load them into cases. Their Italian bottling machine is enormous, filling up to 3,000 bottles in an hour! They use real cork from the mainland and Portugal, despite its increasing cost due to global over-harvesting of the slow-growing cork tree bark. [Actually, later on in our self-education Wine Trail we learned that real cork is the norm in Mallorca. We haven’t come across plastic yet!]
Stopping briefly at the back of the Production hall, we were shown a display of all the artistic labels to date. Chairman of Bodegas Macià Batle, Sebastià Rubí, is a true art lover. It is incredible to see the collection on display from the different years and artists. A real collectors’ piece! Believe us, reading their website about these bottles and artists adds a wonderful dimension to enjoying the wines!
Next Isabel led us downstairs into the underground cellar, as the cool musky smell of oak rose to greet us. Below, oak barrels filled the long rooms, and arched halls framed expanses of dark gleaming bottles coming of age – the lighting creating the feel that we were in the wine cellar of a beautiful Spanish Castle. Continuing, we were shown the area where they use the old process of carbonic maceration, fermenting the whole grape 2-3 weeks before pressing.
Isabel told us that for a wine to be called Crianza, it must be aged at least 6 months in oak ( but you knew that, right?). Some of their wines ferment in oak, some ferment in the tanks then age in oak. She told us French oak is a thinner wood and creates high quality chocolate and coffee flavors and aromas. German Oak has a similar quality and is less expensive. They buy barrels new, and sell them after 4 years to Port and Whisky makers. They keep the barrel rooms at 80% humidity and at a temperature of 11-12° Celsius (51-53° F). Walking further along Isabel showed us their Bordeaux French tanks which are steel inside and cement on the outside. The tanks have an egg shape, and fermentation circulates differently within. We can’t wait to taste and compare these!
Leading us down the halls of resting bottles, Isabel talked about the local grapes. She said that the wines from this region of Mallorca are so good because of the soil, because there are around 300 days of sun each year, and because the wine country is not far from the cool sea yet sheltered from sea storms.
Upstairs again and into the tasting salon, more original art adorned the walls surrounding a large raucous group of French tasters who were having a ball! It was great to see that they can accommodate such a big group and still have it feel like a personal party. We would have loved to have snuck in and tasted with them, but Isabel took us to a room near the entry showroom and proceeded with a phenomenal private presentation and wine tasting including Macià Batle “deli” products like spicy marmalade, olive spreads and oils, as well as paté and Mallorcan Sobresada sausage on Mallorcan Quelly biscuits to help open our palates!
Our advice? Don’t miss this winery. At the time of this posting there is a charge of $10.00 per person for “tour and tasting with delicatessen,” well worth the cost. We thoroughly enjoyed the extensive and informational experience, and loved these good wines with distinct character and structure.
How to get there:
Take the Santa Maria exit from the Autopista Palma-Inca and after winding through the town- head in direction Consell. You can not miss the beautiful architecture of this bodega on your left hand side as you leave Santa Maria del Cami town.
### Bodega Macià Batle ###