Ribas Winery Visit

“Passion and dedication in a coupage of creativity and unforgettable wines.”

Ribas logo
www.bodegaribas.com
+34  971 62 26 73
Consell, Mallorca, Spain

Established in 1711, Bodega Ribas is one of the oldest wineries on the island and has been in the same family for 13 generations; thus it is the oldest one-family winery in Mallorca. After the Phylloxera plague, the family went to olive products, almonds, and carob until they replanted local grapes with American rootstock around the turn of the last century. The current generation, a sister and brother in their late thirties, have completed their oenological degree on the mainland and are the new and highly regarded Ribas winemakers.

Ribas Bodega

Designated organic, Ribas has 40 hectares of vineyards (98 acres) with 160,000 vines planted approximately 2 kilometers from the estate, direction Santa María. Ribas produces 130-150,000 bottles per year. That’s almost 1 bottle per plant, which is generally considered a low yield. However, Ribas’ focus is on quality, and the oldest vines produce less volume, but great flavor. Their local grapes include Manto Negro, Callet, Gorgollassa, and Prensal Blanc. All production is done here at this beautiful historic estate winery.

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Experiencing Ribas was like falling in love. Practically in the industrial district of Consell, we followed discreet signs along anonymous inland streets until we turned into the estate, or finca, of Bodega Ribas. We have driven through this town for years, and never realized that there was a bodega here. It is a diamond in the rough. It has been the family home as long as it has been their winery, and it is rare that you get to see one of these inland empires. Clearly, it was once a magnificent country estate – until the town swallowed it up. Our French born tour guide, Sylvia, told us that – incredibly – the family still lived here up until this last decade, and all generations still meet here daily for the family lunch.

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We had booked in advance and paid for the full tour and tasting – exciting! Starting the facility and production tour, Sylvia told us that this winery is certified organic, using only natural copper and sulphur dusts to eliminate fungus and pests. August through October they go over every vine by hand as it is less aggressive than machines, includes no branches or snails, allows first selection of early bunches and elimination of weak ones. After that, the grapes are brought in 15kg boxes so no grape is crushed by the weight of others, and then spread onto a table and hand culled before they are put into the de-stemming and maceration machine. It sounded incredibly labor intensive, and yet fantastic that they want to ensure that each wine comes from the best grapes.

They use a pneumatic press, selecting the pressing pressure by grape variety. For red wines they use skin and seed during fermentation/maceration, and then press the grapes after. Rosés are pink (rather than red) because of less time with red-grape skin. Ribas wines are not sold in super markets and are mostly available in restaurants and vinotecas (wine stores). 40% of their product stays here in Mallorca, 10% goes to the mainland, and 50% goes to Switzerland and Germany. Their fermentation area is flanked with stainless tanks, and they add yeast as necessary to complete the processing of sugars in order to achieve the desired flavors and dryness.

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During fermentation, skins and seeds rise, so they use a delicate pump to remix. Otherwise those float, known as “the sombrero,” and can mold and the ingredients aren’t available for fermentation. When ready, they lower the temperature to slow or stop fermentation, extract the wine without pressure, press if not already pressed, and go to oak barrel.

Ribas Wine

Sylvia told us that historically, Mallorcan wineries produced inexpensive wines with no oak barrel aging, no structure, to be ready in three months for the December and January village festivals. Mallorcans in the towns would come to buy “a granel” which is “in bulk,” bringing their own bottles. This is the young wine that towns still provide for the island Saints’ festivals like San Sebastian and San Antoni.

Bodega Ribas

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Then we were taken across the estate to the bodega, where they have all the barrels. This is a beautiful, peaceful place. It is an original building and has the thick 1m walls, which helps with the acclimatization. On to the tank room, Sylvia also showed us the 60-year-old cement tanks lined with red non-toxic sealant, historically lined with tile.

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These tanks are still used for certain wines and kept at 25-27° Celsius, a temperature slightly higher than the steel tanks can handle without their releasing a steel flavor and aroma. She told us that the Ribas routine is to ferment individual grape types first, and then blend wines as desired (coupage), and age in oak barrels. Over time they taste and sometimes mix further, and finally move the desired wine to bottles for final aging.

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Over all, Ribas uses 85% French oak, and 15% American oak barrels, and have them elegantly placed one on top of the other. It is beautiful to see how at Ribas, the modern mixes with the traditional; here the doors are glass and the building centuries old. They are experimenting with different sizes of barrels to see how they affect the wines. We asked Sylvia to explain to us why Ribas and other wineries choose to ferment in oak barrels from multiple countries. She told us that generally speaking, French oak comes from older trees and imparts milder flavors of chocolate and tobacco.  American oak barrels come from younger trees (they are dried artificially for timely use), are more porous, and impart robust flavor of coco and vanilla, and they allow more oxygen transference.  Who knew???? The year of the barrel is listed on its face (not the year of the wine as we had thought), so the vintners know how long it has been in use, and thus what amount of flavor it is imparting. While still in barrel, they sample the wines to check their evolution, and then top up the barrels as needed; wine evaporates (particularly in porous American oak) and a barrel must stay full to avoid oxidation. [Remember the technique used at Ca’n Pico where the oxygenation was purposeful?] A barrel’s use is a maximum of 12 years (often less). They re-use the barrels 3-4 times then sell them as decorations. They also give them to artists who paint or sculpt them in a project called BotArt that Ribas started. They feel that both winemaking and artistry are creative processes, and this is where they bring the two worlds together in a coupage

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Before we went to the tasting room, we were asked if we wanted to see the original house of the familia Ribas.   Oh, you bet.   We were shown through the home’s “entrada” (or entrance salon), which was set with tables for an event that night; and then into the home’s 1776 kitchen, still intact and fully functional. The Grandparents are the last generation to have lived here, and they still eat here every day with the family in that wonderful Mallorcan tradition.  This kitchen is a glimpse back in time to when the island was still largely unchanged for centuries, and we were in awe of its grand and traditional beauty!

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Excitingly, the “Cata,” or Wine Tasting came next. The tasting room is beside a courtyard off the fermenting rooms and offices, and we felt like we’d been taken into a secret garden! Here we saw the old barrels that have been transformed into pieces of art, the BotArt Sylvia was telling us about. We always love to see things recycled and repurposed, and creating art out of unneeded wine making ‘equipment’ is an incredible initiative. Eagerly, we sat down amid modern interiors, beside the antique patio with ArtBarrels, and the tasting began.

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We are starting to understand that many wineries have lines of wine, and within these lines are selections, generally including white, rosé, and red wines (for example the José Ferrer Winery’s organic line Pedra de Binissalem).

At Ribas their lines are:

  • Ribas – 2 whites, 1 red
  • Sio – white, rosé, red

Special releases including

  • Soma — White, 100% Viognier
  • Ribas de Cabrera – Their signature Red Coupage
  • Desconfio de la Gente que No Bebe – Red

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We were in a heat wave and Sylvia politely pointed out that to keep a chilled white wine cool as long as possible, you hold the glass by the stem to keep the heat of your hand away from it; whereas in the winter you might cup your hand around the glass to help warm and open a red.

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As we sipped the marvelous Ribas wines, Sylvia said their red Ribas Negre is very representative of the Mallorcan terroir. School in session: Terroir is the unique flavors and aromas of a wine that come from the growing environment, including soil and climate: In this case from the red Mallorcan earth, rich in salts and limestone. As example, it makes sense that 100% Cabernet Sauvignon wines would present differently (taste and aroma) if produced in the exact same way but with grapes from different terroir.

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On the tasting table were six glasses – one for each wine to taste, and crackers, cheese, and Ribas olive oil. Sylvia started by explaining a little bit about each wine, then poured and left the bottle on the table as we are given time to enjoy the surroundings and talk as she came and went.

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We were very inquisitive that day and asking lots of questions. Our enthusiasm, we guess, was noted so much that we were introduced to one of the family members: daughter enologist Araceli Servera Ribas. The first thing Tawnee noticed was her shirt! It was a Pink Floyd copy, but with a wine glass instead of a prism, and their web address on the back. Ingenious!  Tawnee proceeded to ask her a question that had been bothering her forever: “I always see people sticking their noses in the wine…and I wanted to know what they were really looking for… exactly how does a person smell a wine? ”

Truth be told, as self-educators, so far we have been stabbing wildly to describe aromas. Here we confided in Araceli that there was nothing consistently, logically, obvious to us like “I detect notes of immature lowland moss and gummy bears;” and yet “experts” are confident, direct and concise. Smiling with beautiful wide eyelids like Shelley Duvall, Araceli slowed us down. She said there is a platform to start from, and in enology education they teach the first detections:  Fruity or mineral? If fruity, tropical or forest berries like strawberry, blackberry, or stone fruit like plum? If mineral, which one? Maybe iron, old vine, rain on earth? And do you detect barrel aromas? American vanilla or coconut? French cacao, licorice or tobacco? Many barrel-makers burn the barrels to eliminate resin, the scorch lends sometimes-desirable flavor, so wineries clean and choose according to objective:  Do you detect a hint of smoke = new barrel? The function of the barrel is to mature the flavors – like when pasta sauce is better the next day because the flavors have bloomed and mingled. Did we detect the balsamics of a young vine? Menthols? Etc. It isn’t a free-for-all as it seemed to us, it is a narrowing, a detection, and recognition. Tawnee made a simple aroma chart:

how to smell wine ribas

Soon the conversation took off excitingly on the subjects of grape selection, her winery recommendations, and island wine history. Somewhere in all of this she told us that many red wines in Mallorca are 14% alcohol like a sweet white; because of the amount of sun the island gets, the red grapes get very sweet, and thus it takes a long fermentation period as the yeasts consume the strong sugars before achieving a dry red. We also learned that the Ribas winery is also partly responsible for recovering other indigenous grape varieties of the island, as Gorgollassa and Escursac, which were practically non-existent after Phylloxera. Voracious and exuberant, we moved on to the topic of tannins, which before Araceli had pretty much eluded us as well. Tannins are astringent:  they are color stabilizers in wine just as in the leather industry, and lend structure or balance to flavorful wines. Young grape skins and seeds are more astringent, as is new oak; they have bitter macro tannins. Flabby structure in a wine means no tannins, or overly soft tannins (hmmm, we’ve had those wines…). Old vines, like old wood barrels, impart smoother tannins, mellower perhaps, but not considered weak.

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Everything was coming clearer. Sylvia poured, we breathed in aromas and washed flavors around our mouths… and we continued to converse with Araceli about her family, the bodega, and why she decided to become an enologist. We could see the passion she holds about wine and doing things right – she has been all over the world in her studies learning about how different wineries make their wine. What we enjoyed the most was that she took the time to hang out with us and help us learn. She was willing and positive, offering ideas and answering questions with patience. We didn’t feel stupid asking the silly things we had always wanted to know. To top things off – she then told us that the shirt she was wearing was for sale there! We both bought one!

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A diamond in the rough,
overflowing glasses of good
wine and knowledge.

We sipped on as we talked, so please see our Ribas Tasting Notes for descriptions of the truly gratifying wines we enjoyed here at Bodega Ribas.

Directions:
Bodega Ribas MapOn the Highway Palma-Inca take off the exit for Binisalem, Alaro, Consell and at the round about take the ‘left’ or three quarter around turn. That will bring you into the town of Consell. Here you must  look for the signs for Bodega Ribas. Follow them (curving through the town) until you reach an estate with an entrance with sign Ribas.

See Wines Tasted at Ribas: Click Here

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Ribas Wine Tasting

Ribas logo

Wines Tasted

◊   1 White   ◊

Ribas Blanc 2014

◊   2 Reds   ◊

Sio 2013
Ribas Negre 2012

Ribas tasting

Wine tasting at Bodega Ribas is really like going over to a good family friends’ place. It is a loving and welcoming environment. Even though it is one of the oldest wineries on the island, you feel their desire to evolve with the times and keep current. It is a wonderful juxtaposition. They are driven to perfection and dedicated to the Mallorcan authentic grapes. A must on the Mallorcan Wine Trail!


#1
Ribas Blanc 2014
Grapes: Prensal Blanc 87%
Viognier 13%

Ribas Blanc

Comment:
Tawnee: This is a beautiful colored white-fresh, delicate and clean. It is summer sunshine in a glass. It is a great combination of sweetness and citrus flavors, perfect for sipping on the patio while watching the kids or for combining with a great summer lunch of rice and fish.

Merie: The Ribas 2014 is a fresh, light, clean and crisp young white wine. The grapes are harvested by hand, and then again hand culled for perfect quality. They are gently pressed at low pressure before a long fermentation in Stainless Steel tanks at low temperatures to retain the subtle aromas of these unique grapes. The wine is 12.5% alcohol in strength. Enologist Araceli helped us understand the aromas: Prensal Blanc gives a delicious white fruit and citrus nose. The taste was crisp, and white-fruit, like pear and citrus, with a slight desirable-bitterness. Our guide Sylvia told us the Viognier gives characteristic complexity and smoothness as a balance and complement to the bright Prensal Blanc.


#2
Sio Negre 2013
Grapes: Manto Negro 50%
Syrah 25%
Cabernet Sauvignon 15%
Merlot 10%

Ribas Sio

Comment:
Tawnee: There is something beautiful knowing that a bodega honors their heritage, and this line of wines is named after the grandmother of the family Ribas – Concepsio thus Sio! This was my favorite wine we tasted. A very bold wine, it fills the mouth as a deep rich smooth velvety carpet unrolls for royalty. There is a hint of sweetness that mixes with some spice that makes it a perfect compliment. This wine is a great combination for grilled meats either on the BBQ or on the open fire.

Merie: Next Sylvia poured the Sio Nerge 2013. What a marvelous wine! Sio is aged 12 months in Oak barrel: 50% in new French oak, and 50% in second year French oak after it has aged their Ribas de Cabrerra wine! These vintners really know how to delicately weave their magic! Sylvia opened a new bottle for us and it needed to breathe; but then as the tannins softened, a great, complex flavor developed. The aromas were of ripe black fruit and spices, and the flavors almost tobacco and later to chocolate; Stunning!  Araceli told us that in her view the 2013 was not quite ready – that the 2012 would be better now.


#3
Ribas Negre 2012
Grapes: Manto Negro 50%
Merlot 25%
Syrah 20%
Cabernet Sauvignon 5%

Ribas Negre

Comment:
Tawnee: The Ribas Negre 2012 has a beautiful deep red cherry color. The aromas match the color being full of red and black berries. This is an excellent stable wine that has just the right amount of tannins.  A great compliment to a long lunch. Great for combining with lamb chops or rabbit in the autumn or winter.

Merie: Last, Sylvia poured the Ribas Negre 2012. It is aged 12 months in oak barrel: 75% French oak and 25% American oak for the different flavors they provide. It has 14.5% alcohol strength. Again, these grapes are all hand picked and then further hand selected. The fermentation is at a moderate temperature to preserve the desired aromas of red fruit from the Manto Negro, and the smooth tannins of the other grapes. The aromas are rich but light, almost chocolate, oh I was stretching to figure this out! I DID know that the flavor of this wine is so good, robust but not forceful. A true gem. Aracelli tried a taste and quieted: as today is unbelievably hot, she felt it had over-opened in our glasses – but I thought it was perfect.


Note: Because it was sold out we didn’t get to taste their signature red: Ribas de Cabrera 2012 which is 55% Manto Negro, 40% Syrah, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon, and aged 12 mo in 100% new French oak.


Desconfio de la gente

As we paid for the bottles of wine and T-shirts we had decided to buy, we noticed a special edition wine they made this year called: “Desconfio de la Gente que No Bebe.”   The English translation: “I Don’t Trust Anyone Who Doesn’t Drink.”   It has a unique label with a skeleton sitting in a chair and takes its inspiration from Humphrey Bogart.  We couldn’t resist. We splurged and decided to buy it. It is a first year vintage and is Ribas’ tribute to the Manto Negro grape:  95% Manto Negro and 5% other grapes. There has been a lot of controversy over the Manto Negro grape as it can be a difficult grape and some think it cannot stand alone.  Well, Ribas took the challenge and has created this rare wine. We look forward to uncorking it on a special occasion that will do honor to the passion and dedication to making this wine.


Ribas thank you
Thank You Sylvia and Araceli!

See Bodega Ribas Visit: Click Here

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José Ferrer Winery Visit

“Deep rooted tradition, with modern innovation.”

Jose Ferrer Logowww.vinosferrer.com
Tel. +34 971 51 10 50
Binissalem, Mallorca Spain

The José Ferrer Winery is still family owned and run since its founding in the 1930s, and is one of the largest and most organized wineries on the island. A smaller vintner told us the family is now island aristocracy. So well established, José Ferrer is one of the primary symbols of Mallorca for wine. They have made their name, reinvested their profits, are large and efficient, and have an inviting facility for welcoming people who come tour and taste. They make wines of all grades, from young table wines to select reserves, reasonably priced and available in stores everywhere. Their current production is 800,000-900,000. bottles per year. They are registered in the D.O. Binissalem and Vi de la Terra Mallorca, and have some vineyards registered in the association of Ecological Agricultural Products. Their wines are well known throughout Spain, and as Spanish export wine. At their stylish winery in Binissalem, they offer many levels of tours and tastings.

Jose Ferrer grapes

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We showed up without a reservation, and overheard the tour guide Miguel tell the people in front of us that there was a tour about to leave; but it was a closed tour, pre-booked by a small group and not open to the public. We wandered away, looking at the vast display room, and the tour left without us. A cheerful employee came up and asked if she could help us. We inquired about the next tour, and she immediately lead us to Miguel, they spoke in Mallorquin, and we joined Miguel’s closed tour that had just begun! Another example of the nice way even large island businesses can be personal! We followed bursting with questions, but not wanting to dominate the tour that we were so lucky to get on…

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In fact, the tour was fairly formal. First, we were shown the original bodega area, with lovely old fermentation tanks painted red with a product that seals out oxygen. Next we were taken upstairs to see the contrasting enormous stainless-steel fermenting tanks now in use since the bodega’s 1990s upgrade and remodel. Their size was astonishing; we were on the second story and they still towered above us! We then toured the clean and efficient bottling plant; then on to the gorgeous old original cellars that are still in use. The main cellar is a vast room and beautifully lit. Miguel mentioned that there was a basement with more barrels below, not surprising because of the sheer volume of their production; their website says they have 2000 barrels in use!

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Here we learned that at José Ferrer, if they age a wine in oak, they generally age in bottle the same amount of time. All wines ferment first in the stainless steel tanks. Fermentation stops when they lower the temperatures, which kills the yeasts, after which time the sediments are removed. They stop the fermentation of their red wines as soon as they separate it from the skins. And the local Manto Negro varietal is the red grape they use most, by choice and in keeping with DO Binissalem requirements.

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After seeing the attractive new climate-controlled barrel rooms, we passed to where the wine was aging in bottles. Here we were told that José Ferrer makes one of the only Cavas, on the island.  So you know, Cava is the lovely name for Spanish sparkling wine.

Jose Ferrer Cava

It can’t be called champagne because the name “Champagne” is a Designation of Origin that can’t be used anywhere outside of Champagne, France. Anyway, at José Ferrer, the Cava never goes to oak, it goes straight from stainless to bottle. It is a coupage of Prensal Blanc (aka Moll), Muscat & Parellada grapes. Ok, we learned “Coupage” is a term for the blending of wines to create a new wine that is intended to be better than any of its parts alone.

Jose Ferrer tasting room
The tour moved on to a beautiful tasting room with magnum bottles lining both sides and a gorgeous long wooden table in the middle. We were told that they do private tastings in that room, but for bigger groups. We would have been delighted if we could have stayed and tasted there, the ambiance was that of Spanish Knights meeting around the table in preparation for victory.

Jose Ferrer Magnum Bottles
Gesturing to all the bottles, Miguel told us there are multiple lines of wine at José Ferrer, each include whites, rosés, and reds:

  1. José L Ferrer
    Traditional wines made the same way since their beginning in 1931
  2. Veritas
    Innovations and newer trends
  3. Dues
    Blends of 1 each Mallorcan and foreign grape varietals
  4. Pedra de Binissalem
    certified organic wines
  5. Special Editions

Back upstairs we saw rail tracks around the stairway. We were told that the rail used to come right through José Ferrer to ship their wine across Mallorca and to the island ports destined for Europe. Clearly it is one of the biggest wineries on the island, and rich in local history!

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After the very interesting tour, Miguel stayed with us and we continued our talk and started our personal tasting.  Perhaps our enthusiasm and true interest in wine opens Cellar doors for us!

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Jose Ferrer MapHow to get there:
From the Highway Palma-Inca, take the exit for Alaro/Binissalem and at the roundabout go in direction Binisalem, which is right. José Ferrer Winery is on the main road on the right hand side. There are big signs and a parking lot. You cannot miss it!

See Wines Tasted at José Ferrer: Click Here

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José Ferrer Wine Tasting

Jose Ferrer Logo

Wines Tasted:

◊   3 Reds   ◊

Pedra de Binissalem Negre 2013
Reserva Veritas 2007
Veritas, Vinyes Velles

Jose Ferrer multiple lines

There is no shortage of wines to choose from for tasting! With five different lines of wines produced at José Ferrer, we wanted to taste them all! However, we must have told Miguel we are red-centric, because we only tasted red wines today. In retrospect, of course we should have tried a white and a rose, because it is hard to understand the full spectrum of the winery when you only taste one type. But, one really can’t taste everything as a drop-in; and we were going with the flow – as one does!

Putting our glasses beside a plate of Quelly biscuits and Mahon cheese (great authentic Mallorcan products for our tasting), Miguel poured, and we dove into a sea of red.


#1
Pedra de Binissalem Negre 2013
Grapes: Mantonegro
Cabernet Sauvignon

Jose Ferrer Pedra de Binissalem

Comment:
Tawnee: I am so happy to see that a major producer on the island is getting into organic wine! We had to try this red! It was delicate, with ripe berry tones and a distinct finish.

Merie: The first wine was the Pedra de Binissalem, Negre 2013. This deep red wine is organic, from their own Vineyard at Finca Sa Pareteta which is registered Ecological. It is a blend of Manto Negro and Cabernet grapes. They cool the bunches of grapes before squeezing, and maceration and fermentation are done in stainless tanks before following with 6 months in new American and French oak barrels. This wine has aromas of berries and ripe fruit, with the chocolate and coffee notes of French oak.


#2
Reserva Veritas 2007
Grapes: Manto Negro
Callet
Cabernet Sauvignon

Jose Ferrer Veritas

Comment:
Tawnee:  I was happy to be able to try a Reserva on the tasting list, as usually they do not open them. This was a solid wine. The name is perfectly chosen – Veritas in English means “the truth.”  It would be good served with a traditional meal of Mallorcan lamb chops, fried garlic and French fries.

Merie: Next we tried The Reserva Veritas 2007 red. Fermented in stainless, aged one year in French and American oak, then aged in bottle over two years before sale. It is made from 60% Manto Negro, then Callet and Cabernet Sauvignon. It is a very rich, almost smoky wine, with aromas and flavor of ripe fruit.


#3
Veritas Vinyes Velles
Grapes: Manto Negro
Cabernet Sauvignon
Syrah
Callet

Jose Ferrer Veritas Vinyes Velles

Comment:
Tawnee: This is my favorite wine of all that we tasted, and I like the label with the big V! V for Veritas (the truth). It is a solid wine with a good rich flavor in mouth. Vinyes Velles means “the old vines” and that is where this wine comes from – José Ferrer’s oldest vines. Knowing this adds to the enjoyment of drinking it, it is deep rooted and full of heritage and wisdom.

Merie: Finally we tried the Veritas red. All the Manto Negro, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Callet grapes in this wine are hand chosen from old vines. Held in French and American oak for one year. It is rich, with smoky almost roasted, aromas and flavor.


Here is the rub: There is some quality about these reds that wasn’t to our taste. We are wondering if the grapes are pressed too ripe, or if a short fermentation period leaves some residual sugars, or maybe the tannins are too smooth… we really don’t know. These wines are rich and robust and have a ripe fruit quality; however, there was something different about them that was consistent in all. Further education is needed!


Jose Ferrer Miguel

Thank you Miguel!

See José Ferrer visit: Click here

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Bodega Macia Batle Visit

“Where Wine meets Art, a perfect pairing.”
Macia batle logo
www.maciabatle.com

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!

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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!!!

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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.

Macia Batle guided tour

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.

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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!]

Macia Batle Steel tanks

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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!

Macia Batle Art labels

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.

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Macia Batle_7-9-15_#21

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!

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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.

Macia Batle_7-9-15_#18

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!

Macia Batle_7-9-15_#45 Macia Batle Cover Image

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.

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How to get there: Macia batle map
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.

See Wines Tasted at Macia Batle: Click here

### Bodega Macià Batle ###

Macia Batle Wine Tasting

Macia batle logo

Wines Tasted:

◊   1 White   ◊

Blanc de Blancs Dolç 2010

◊   2 Rosé   ◊

Rosado 2014
Margalida Llompart Rosé 2014

◊   3 Red   ◊

 Crianza 2012
Crianza 2010
Margalida Llompart Negre 2012

Macia batle bottles

Macia Batle knows how to do a tasting! Isabel was extremely informative and knew her wines and their production. It was wonderful to learn so much about the wines while enjoying them. As we went along, each wine was paired with a specific cracker and topping. It was delicious to follow Isabel’s suggestions, and then to try our own pairing ideas as well. It is striking how much a pairing accents the wine! We suggest always tasting the wine alone before pairing, both to know the wine, but also to see how it develops. We were asked at the beginning if we preferred whites or reds and we, of course, said REDS!  That is why we didn’t try a dry white first – and only tasted the sweet white after the reds.  Live and learn.


#1
Rosado 2014
Grapes: Manto Negro
Cabernet Sauvignon
Syrah
Merlot

Macia batle Rosado

Comment:
Tawnee:  Rosado – the Spanish translation of Rosé. The blend of these four grapes creates a traditional rosé color and a slight sweetness to the wine. I noted soft aromas of apple. I would drink this wine chilled in the early afternoon on the terrace while reading a good book. It is very fresh.

Merie: We started with the Rosado 2014, a blend of Manto Negro, Cabernet, Syrah, and Merlot. Legs of sugar and alcohol glistened down the glass. 13.5% alcohol, tart, clear and young, with a fruity scent. We tried it with both black and green olive oils and spreads with great effect. A super rosé at a good price.


#2
Margalida Llompart Rosé 2014
Grapes: Manto Negro 100%

Macia Batle Margalida Llompart Rose

Comment:
Tawnee: I love to see tradition honored, and using the grandmother’s name for a bottle is beautiful. Normally in Mallorca you name your children after their grandmothers. This is why there are so many names repeated in families here on the island. This Rosé has aromas of cherries and contains 13.5% alcohol. Its delicate flavor matches the subtle rose color created from the Manto Negro grape. It is a wonderful appetizer drink on a summer’s day.

Merie: The Rosé Margalida Llompart has a photo of the grandmother as the label — somewhere we learned there is a tradition of honoring the mothers by naming a good wine after them! This wine is 100% Manto Negro so is lighter in color than the Rosado blend. I found it slightly more acid or tart, very fresh and lightly dry.


#3
Crianza 2012
Grapes: Manto Negro
Cabernet Sauvignon
Syrah
Merlot

Macia Batle Crianza 2012

Comment:
Tawnee: This is a smooth bottle of red. It is has lots of ripe berry flavor and good body. I enjoyed it.

Merie: Next we tasted the Crianza 2012 red which is 50% Manto Negro and 20/20/10 Cabernet/Syrah/Merlot, with 10 months in Barrel, and then 14 in bottle. It is 14% alcohol, showed more legs. Interestingly, it is the same blend of grapes as the Rosé Llompart – but it sits with its skins longer for the deep red color and tannins they give. It is smooth, elegant, and soft. And we were told the longer it ages in bottle the better it gets for special occasions.


#4
Crianza 2010
Grapes: Manto Negro
Cabernet Sauvignon
Syrah
Merlot

Macia batle Crianza 2010

Comment:
Tawnee: What a difference just two years can make! I really loved the body in this red. It had solid tannins and a great finish. I would say it is worth it to buy a more recent bottle, and keep it to open a few years down the line.

Merie: The Crianza 2010 is the kind of red I want at my table!  A very balanced red which would go well with any meal.


#5
Margalida Llompart Negre 2012
Grapes: Manto Negro
Cabernet
Syrah
Merlot

Macia Batle Margalida Llompart

Comment:
Tawnee: With aromas of bacon, this red wine has 14% alcohol, strong tannins, deep color, and great body. I love that we were able to try almost the whole line of Margalida Llompart wines.

Merie: This is a stellar red, strong and rich, but never heavy. The high alcohol content suggests there were a lot of sugars in the grapes, but no unwanted residual sugars here! It is nicely dry and perfect for hors d’oeuvres or a great meal.


#6
Blanc de Blanc Dolç 2010
Grapes: Prensal Blanc

Macia Batle Dolc

Comment:
Tawnee: A lovely sweet white wine. It would be a lovely drink on a cold winter day, served ever so slightly chilled after a meal. Delicious.

Merie: The last tasting was the Blanc de Blanc Dolç 2010.  This lightly sweet wine is a Prensal Blanc. Interestingly, it doesn’t taste like the aroma. The scent is almost white-raisin sweet, while the flavor is more tropical and fresh.


Note: We were not able to taste the Red Reserva because there were only 10 bottles left in the winery stock. Good wines move fast! It is a Crianza with 2+ years in oak and 2+/- years in bottle. They carefully reserve the best grapes for this signature wine, the same blend of 4 red grapes as in the other reds we tasted.

While pouring the last tasting, Isabel said that at Macia Batle there is innovation and constant growth mixed with a love of the local grapes and a huge respect for wine and art.   That says it all!


Macia Batle Isabel

Thank you Isabel!

See Bodega Macia Batle visit: Click here

### Bodega Macià Batle ###

Es Verger Winery Visit

“Hidden away in a mountain valley, this precious jewel is worth every second spent searching for it.”

Es Verger Logo
http://www.esverger.es
Esporles, Mallorca Spain

The award winning Es Verger is a small, privately owned and run boutique winery. They have 7 hectares of vineyards on this magical mountain property, and all production is done on site.  Originally planted in 1995, the first wines went to market in 2001. They produce approximately 15,000 bottles per year; their wine is certified organic, and sold primarily to an international market and fine local restaurants. They produce 3 reds, a rosé, and a very special sweet white.

Bodega Es Verger Vineyard

So, after we left Celler Son Vives, we called Es Verger to see if they were open, since we had to drive through Esporles anyway to get out of the mountains. Friday night – 5:30 – what are the chances? A man answers the phone “Sure, come on over… I’m here.” And we are off to the next Winery!

Es Verger is situated way up in the Tramuntana hills above Esporles, accessed only by a small, beautiful, and winding road with hidden or invisible street signs. After a few more phone calls – in Spanish of course – we get directions by landmark: “In direction Palma, third right after the plaza, climb, wind, until the big tree in the middle of the road… then…” Unsure if we were on the right road the entire time… looking at the clock and thinking perhaps we don’t have time for this… and then, 4.5km winding through the mountain… there he is – the man on the other end of the phone – waving us down to stop at his gorgeous stone walled vineyard.  It felt like we were in a summer dream…

Bodega Es Verger bodega

Miguel, the owner and vintner, welcomed us onto his property through his stone pillared gate. Lean, tan, white haired and wearing shorts and a loose, pressed white cotton shirt, he walked us past his beautiful vine covered home amidst gentle sounds of young voices and tapping earthen kitchenware, and to the adjoining Bodega. Inside, the cool air greeted us, and the now familiar steel fermenting tanks lined one wall as we passed through to the tasting area. The first thing we notice were all the awards and certificates that are proudly, yet discretely, framed on the wall. For some strange reason, this did not mean anything to us, and we had no expectations before the tasting. Surrounded by maturing bottles, and speaking to us only in Spanish, Miguel brought out 5 bottles of wine, two glasses, and an elegant small bottle of light virgin olive oil.

Bodega Es Verger tasting

Pouring the first taste, Miguel starts telling us about his wine and how he makes it. He started the vineyard out of passion and interest, and only wants to make good wine. Producing around 15,000 bottles per year, they are mostly exported, or sold in high-class restaurants on the island and to private clients. After the first taste we love it! It is clear that this is his passion and that he makes the wine that he wants to drink. While we tasted, his daughters appeared, earnest and beaming, bringing rock salt and sliced rustic bread to frame the home pressed oil that is also for sale. The oil was lovely, light and delicate, a very welcome addition to the tasting and delicious! We tried four of the five bottles of wine; the only one we didn’t try is the Pinot Noir, because of demand it has sold out.

Bodega Es Verger Bottles

Please see our tasting notes for more detail on the wines.

Trying to let Miguel get back to his family, we asked him to show us his vineyards on the way back to our car. We walked along the stunningly healthy vines planted carefully in their lines, all certified and organically tended. Miguel explained that they plant their rows farther apart than standard because of the mountainous terrain, and the sun and air between the rows largely prevents disease. He told us more sun produces thicker skin, thus more flavor and tannins, becoming full bodied in fermentation.  Tannins are textural, and the perfect astringency in the mouth seems to make a wine ‘taste dry.’   8-10 days steeping with the skins creates the flavor; the ripe inside fruit providing the water and sugar for successful fermentation.

All Es Verger wines are produced thoughtfully, with high personal standards, and are ecologically tended and certified organic = subject to the strict regulations of the Island Council’s CBPAE body (Consell Balear Regulador de l’Agricultura Ecològica).  These delicious wines deserve the recognition received, and our tasting visit was characteristic of the quality at Es Verger … a summer dream come true!

Open Sesame
Through the rabbit hole
Finding passion, friendship
A desire for perfection
A jewel of Mallorca

Es Verger MapHow to get there: When you come from Palma to Esporles, you will see a sign for Es Verger on the left. Take that turn and follow the road for 4.5km. It is a long winding road out of town. Keep driving until you get to a tree in the middle of the road. At this fork take the left where it says Es Verger.

See Wines Tasted at Es Verger: Click here

###  ES VERGER  ###

Es Verger Wine Tasting

Es Verger Logo

Wines Tasted:

 ◊   1 white   ◊

Fita del Ram 2010

◊ 1 Rose ◊

Sensual

◊   2 Reds   ◊

Ses Marjades 2008
Els Rojals 2010

Bodega Es Verger_7-3-15_#2

Es Verger pays attention to detail. They put quality before quantity and have set the standards high being an organic winery. We tasted four of the bottles available, because their Pinot Noir is a specialty wine that Miguel produces only in small quantities when the harvest is good enough for his standards. The bottle in this picture was the last one from the year, the rest of the stock sold out. He has very loyal clients internationally and also from the island’s first class restaurants. We learned all his red wines are aged in French oak. All processing is done on this land and in the tasting cellar we were in. It is a beautiful small scale family production with exquisite results.


#1
Fit del Ram 2010
Grapes: Viognier

es verger fita del ram

Comment:
Tawnee: The Fita del Ram was a sweet delicious wine. Perfectly refreshing on a hot day! It had fruity aromas and was fresh and smooth. I think it would be great after a meal instead of dessert!

Merie: We started with the Fita Del Ram, made from Viognier grapes. I don’t drink sweet wines normally, but this was light and delicious, with a smooth honey-like texture. I bought a bottle of this treat for a dear friend of mine who grows Viognier in Napa, secretly hoping he’ll bring it out for our band of friends!


#2
Sensual
Grapes: Mante Negro 100%

Sensual

Comment:
Tawnee: Wonderful summer wine. I love that it is made with 100% Mante Negro grapes. It is a true native Mallorcan delicate wine with a name to match the feeling it gives you.

Merie: Next Miguel poured their rosé, Sensual, made from Manto Negro grapes. I don’t normally drink rosé wines either, yet found this one extremely drinkable, fresh and lightly dry. If you haven’t liked rosés, rethink with this!


#3
Els Rojals 2010
Grapes: Manto Negro
Cabernet Sauvignon
Merlot

Els Rojals

Comment:
Tawnee: This wine is delicious organic Mallorcan wine. You can taste the passion and attention to detail when you drink it. I think it would be lovely with a steak and mashed potatoes.

Merie: On to Els Rojals, their “everyday red” and a Manto Negro, Cabernet and Merlot blend. I would drink it every day too and found it really well balanced, thorough, smooth, and full-bodied. I loved this ‘modest table wine,’ and proudly bought a bottle for my Uncle who lives in the central California Santa Ynez Valley and has no shortage of good wine!


#4
Ses Marjades 2008
Grapes: Manto Negro
Cabernet Sauvignon
Merlot

Ses Marjades

Comment:
Tawnee:
This is an incredible wine! I just love it! I have re-named it the the black pearl because it is like the sea at night that flows smoothly and luxuriously over your tongue when you taste it. It was delicious on its own, but I can only imagine it with a good red meat. Divine. I bought a bottle immediately.

Merie: The label name Ses Marjades means the [stone] terraces – for which Mallorca is famous. Aged in new French oak casks, this is the award winning red for the special occasion. Made from Manto Negro, Cabernet and Merlot grapes, Miguel called the flavor “larga” and advised to let it breath in a wide mouthed glass container 20 min. In fact it is not a pretentious or overly serious wine, it is very balanced and complex, and perfect to honor one’s guests with.


EV Sign crop

Thank you Miguel!

See Es Verger visit: Click here

###  ES VERGER  ###

Celler Son Vives Visit

“Millionaire views paired with artisanal winemaking techniques”

Son Vives logo 1
Banyalbufar, Mallorca, Spain
www.sonvives.com
[Website in Castilian and Catalan only]

Featuring the rare native Malvasia grape, beautiful Celler Son Vives opened in 2003, and Mallorcan proprietor Toni Darder Alorda answers the phone himself, in Spanish – because as of this writing the main number for this Tasting Room is his cell phone!  A small winery, Son Vives produces approximately 15,000. bottles each year, with four labels. They distribute mostly to restaurants on the island, and to select retail stores in the lovely capital city of Palma. The location and views at Son Vives are stunning, and the coastal climate ideal for the rare Malvasia grape which is the signature of all Banyalbufar wineries, and their reason for existing in this unique spot.

Bodega Son Vives

Mariona was just locking the gate when we pulled up at 5:00, and although she had a fair drive home to Palma, she readily agreed to reopen the tasting room for us. We walked together along a broad terrace amidst olive trees, lavender bunches, and amazing views of the terraced coast and azure sea, to a small outside counter-style tasting bar where Mariona poured from inside the shady Bodega. Tasting room ambiance just doesn’t get better than this!

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We tried 1 mono variety, 100% Malvasia of course, and 2 blends. Sadly, we were not able to tour the bodega production area because of how late we were. However, the tasting bar is on a lovely veranda, which overlooks the Mediterranean, and the views are exquisitely beautiful! In fact, it overlooks the gorgeous Celler Ca’n Pico estate, and if we didn’t know better, we would have thought those vines belonged to Son Vives. As Mariona poured, we noticed a menu on the wall showing that they can make Pa amb Oli here (bread & olive oil with sliced meats or cheeses) to pair with their wines. We’d highly recommend that, but book in advance. Or bring your own tasting-complementary picnic for the bottle you’ll want to buy here after tasting! The tasting area is right off the ‘main’ road, but you feel like a millionaire enjoying these wines with a view.  Combining a lunchtime tasting here on the veranda with an afternoon tasting at Ca’n Pico would make for a great day!

Banyalbufar View

As we sipped their three tasting wines, we learned their property always had vineyards which were for family consumption. In 2003 the family transitioned to commercial production without losing the artisanal techniques, including hand picking the maturing Malvasia grapes.

Celler Son Vives is part of the Island group Vi de la Terra Serra de Tramuntana which is comprised of 18 municipalities in the protected UNESCO World Heritage Serra de Tramuntana, reaching from Cap de Formentor to Andratx.  It is characterized by the famous stone “bancales” which are agricultural terraces mostly made during the Moorish occupation which lasted approximately 500 years from the 700s to 1200s AD. Built of local stone and rich soil, the terraces prevent soil erosion and allow the Malvasia vine roots to grow deep in well draining guarded soil. The North-facing coast offers maximum sun time with cooler temperatures, but it is more difficult to pick and creates differing ripening times – therefore requiring a lot of individual care!

Bodega Son Vives bottles

While Celler Son Vives grows their Malvasia in this vineyard, they also make two blends, a white and a red, and those grapes are brought here for production from the hotter and dryer central island plain. Please see the tasting notes for more details on that!

Doors closing
Hearts opening
Bottles cracked
Lips smacked
Gorgeous

Mariona was very knowledge about the wines, and we would have enjoyed touring the production areas and asking her more questions about their history and blends. However, we were very pleased with the kindness she showed us so late on a Friday evening!

We will have to return again and taste and tour with more time!

BanyalbufarMain Street, Banyalbufar

How to get there:Son Vives Map
As you leave Banyalbufar heading West in direction Estellencs you will see a sign for a parking lot on the right. You can park there and walk up or continue driving 10m and will see the sign of Son Vives from the road with 3 or 4 parking spaces out front. Very easy to find.

See Wines Tasted at Son Vives: Click here

### Celler Son Vives ###

Son Vives Wine Tasting

Son Vives logo 1

Wine Tasted:

◊    2 Whites    ◊

Juxta Mare 2014
Fusio de Blancs 2014

◊   1 Red   ◊

Negre

son vives two bottlesson vives negre2

Celler Son Vives has the most picturesque tasting area with views of the sea and terraces lined with Malvasia vines. It would be bliss to be able to watch the sun set while sipping on a chilled white. Son Vives makes two native Mallorcan grape mono-varietal wines, their Malvasia dry & sweet, one white blend, and one red blend made from grapes that come from the warmer, dryer center of the island.  Our tasting guide, Mariona, was informative and a pleasure to have helping us. We are thankful that she took the time to have a short visit with us late on a Friday summer evening. Cheers!


#1
Juxta Mare 2014
Grapes: Malvasia 100%

Son vives juxtamare front Son Vives Juxtamare back

Comment:
Tawnee: I always love tasting a mono-varietal wine because it helps me to really understand what the flavors of the grape are supposed to be like. This wine has fruitful aromas and is subtly dry with a distinct finish! Yum.

Merie: Lightly dry, with hints of ripe fruit and honey, the bottle sweat invitingly from the perfect chill. This Malvasia grape is the signature variety of Banyalbufar, and the reason for being here. Apparently Son Vives also produces a Juxta Mare Malvasia Dulce, but it was not offered in our tasting.  Juxta Mare means ‘Beside the Sea’ in Mallorcan:  The coastal climate is so important to the grape, and the sea views critical to the way of life!


#2
Fusio de Blancs 2014
Grapes: Malvasía
Chardonnay
Prensal Blanc

Son Vives Fusio de Blancs Front Son Vives Fusio de Blancs back

Comment:
Tawnee: This wine has a beautiful color and I like the name. A fusion of whites – with all white grapes! Also, it has been in oak which is not common for white wines. However, not my favorite, but that doesn’t surprise me as I don’t like Chardonnay very much.

Merie: Next Mariona poured the Fusio de Blancs, which we had enjoyed earlier in a local cafe on the main street of Banyalbufar. This delicious wine is made from Malvasia, Chardonnay, and Prensal Blanc grapes, and fermented in oak barrel.  The Chardonnay and Prensal grapes come from the center of the island in Sencelles and Santa Eugenia because they do not grow well in coastal Banyalbufar, and require the hotter, dryer inland plain.


#3
Negre
Grapes: Cabernet Sauvignon
Merlot
Syrah
Manto Negro
son vives negre

Comment:
Tawnee: I love red wine! Their Negre has a good fruitful aroma and a dominant presence in mouth. I enjoyed this wine more knowing that Son Vives is being resourceful and adding a red wine to their wine production by having a plot of land in the center of the island.

Merie:   Last, we tasted their red Negre 12 Meses. It is a Crianza aged one year in oak – hence “12 meses” – and made from Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, and Manto Negro grapes.  It is produced entirely in Banyalbufar, but the red grapes are grown in the island’s interior wine country, near Santa Maria.  A perfectly good red, (which normally I prefer), but today the Whites ruled and no coincidence that they contain the rare and wonderful Malvasia grape.


Bodega Son Vives sign

Thank you Mariona!

See Son Vives visit: Click here

### Celler Son Vives ###