Son Prim Visit

“Excellence through passion and commitment to each varietal”

son prim logo
+34 971 872 758
Sencelles, Mallorca, Spain

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Son Prim sits elegantly in the center of its vineyards.  A hub of wine production and sales, it is also set up beautifully for tastings and cuisine pairings. The winery was founded in 2002 by a family originally from Valencia, and their first release was in 2004. Now their son Jaime works with them, currently taking over their marketing and business needs. The varietals they grow are Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and they recently planted Chardonnay for the first time. Members of Vi de la Terra, they produce 50-60,000 bottles per year, depending on the harvest. They sell all of their wines online through their website, and through a distributor. 40% of their wines are exported to Switzerland and Denmark, and they have a small market in Japan and the United States.

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We entered through the big heavy wooden door to be greeted only by wine bottles elegantly on display. As we took in our surroundings we became excited! The tasting area is new – finished and inaugurated last year. Natural light was the first thing that struck us, unlike many Spanish buildings, this room is wall to wall windows, with stunning views of their vineyards and the Mallorcan countryside. This spacious room features a huge fireplace with seating area, and a large open stainless steel kitchen for chef prepared meals and pairings.

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Out came a smiling woman, Marianne, who introduced herself and asked us how many of their wines we would like to try today? Exuberant to the end we blurted out “All!” Smiling, she asked us where we would like to sit for our tasting. We chose the shady veranda, and sat outside at a big wooden table facing the ripening grapes; heavenly! Beside us stood an ancient and traditional wine press from here on the island; we enjoyed the wonderful union of modern and tradition here at Son Prim.

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Marianne poured  the first tasting, a refreshing white made from red grapes! Please see our tasting notes for more details on the wines we tasted.

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Between pours, Marianne came and went, talking to the vineyard workers who were already culling the vines, answering questions, providing masks, conducting business as usual. We asked her what her connection to the winery was, and she told us she first came to Son Prim just to help out her friends temporarily. The work never ended, and now she is an integral part of the daily running and routine of this evolving winery.

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Pouring, Marianne told us that for 2015, they expect to buy 15% of their grapes from other local vineyards, and the rest will be their own grapes. All grapes are kept in separate tanks so they can understand which is best. Believing in the virtues of each grape, they produce all single variety wines except for one coupage called Cup, which varies each year depending on the harvest. In 2014 they produced no white or rosé because they weren’t good enough for their standards (they make their white wine from red grapes), though their reds decidedly were. They use only natural French cork, and we learned that the Spanish word for cork, and the cork tree, is Alcornoque; a great word!

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On a side note, we have yet to pin down the proper uses of the terms coupage and blend, as well as the terminology for multi-varietal grapes fermented together to make a wine, compared to wines fermented separately and then blended to create a new wine; and again compared to what we were told earlier that technically a coupage is a wine made mainly from a grape like Manto Negro, then supported with a structured wine like Cabernet Sauvignon to give the desired finishing strengths. It seems whenever there is more than one grape it is casually called a blend or a coupage, but we will get to the bottom of this mystery of semantics!
After tasting all of their wines, we found them to be bright and good, carefully and solidly produced with no surprises in aroma or flavor. They express consistently in the middle of the palate, differently than Castell Miquel wines did, but with the same intentional constancy.

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After slowly enjoying each pour and discussing its attributes, we were taken on the physical tour. Marianne went and found owner/son Jaime for this part (what a privilege!). She stayed with us as well, and we all enjoyed our exploration and exchanges, making this tour one of the best experiences ever on our Mallorca Wine Trail! Jaime led us through the back door to the original bodega rooms (the new part was an extension) and showed us the stainless steel fermenting area. With indicative candor, Jaime told us that one of the mono-varietal wines in tank was not good enough for them, and they were now looking into what they might do with it, as they will not be selling it as a Son Prim wine. We love this commitment to excellence!

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Enjoying our doggedly enthusiastic self-education, Jaime asked us with a wry smile, “Have you tasted the grapes of the wines you drink? No? Then how the hell do you expect to understand the wine that is being made from them?” Then he whisked us out and we all jumped down into the vineyards in search of early maturing grapes to taste!

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In the Merlot area, Jaime told Tawnee to pick a green grape and then to pick a ripe one, and said “I bet you can’t taste the green one without getting the sourpuss face!” Ha ha! He was right! Jaime showed us that the grape seeds are what tell them when the grape is ready for harvest. They are white when young and turn brown and wood-like when the grape is ripe. He showed us that all the Merlot grapes were still a little green, but in two weeks the team would start tasting the grapes to see how this varietal was shaping up for picking.

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Next we went walking through the beautiful rows to find the Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, and Jaime gave us some select dark grapes to taste. Ooohhh the flavor was so much better! They were already sweet now, but he told us they would be the last to harvest because a good Cab wants a sweet grape and a long time fermenting out the sugar. He told us that just before the Cabernet grapes turn red, they cut out half of the crop so the plant focuses on what is left.

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What an experience to walk through the vineyards, taste the grapes and see the vines, notice the differences in the leaves of the grapes that we just tasted.  A complete experience that created a very personal relationship for these wines.

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We learned that the bodega has gone through a few different wine masters from three different countries, and the family has learned much from each of them. With these changes they have seen production changes as well; the biggest of those is that now they pick all grapes by hand because when they used machine harvesting methods the grapes were always broken and oxygenating, which changed the flavor of the wine markedly and made batches irregular. Now they pick into small 15-kilo crates so no weight crushes the bottom grapes, and move them to cool rooms so no fermentation begins prematurely.

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They hand sort, manually de-stem, and then put them into stainless tanks for five days at very low temperature so they marinate with the skin and seeds (called maceration) but no fermentation takes place before the fifth day. Next they allow the temperatures to rise so the yeasts activate. With reds they allow 10-12 days of alcoholic fermentation with skin and seeds – tasting and keeping track of the tannins so the wine will end up dry but not astringent. During this time they use a process called ‘pump over’ which circulates the wine and breaks the skin/seed hat, which furthers maceration and extraction of tannin and color. Finally they press the solids, and remove them, then with most of the wines it is off to barrel!

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Next we were taken down to their barrel room, which is always one of our favorite places to see. We were told that at Son Prim they do not do any fermentation in barrel – it is only for airing and aging. They use French oak barrels primarily, some American, and a little Hungarian; but are thinking of phasing out the Hungarian now. Even in the barrel room there is quite a lot of natural ambient light because of small slits in the top where glass allows light in from the tasting room. Excellent harmony between the architecture and its natural vineyard surroundings!

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We ended the tour back in the modern addition, up in the airy mezzanine offices. Here we learned about the different bottle names: a Magnum is 1.5 Liters, a Balthazar is 12.0 Liters, and a Melchior is 18 Liters!

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Son Prim was a wealth of knowledge for us – we feel so privileged that they wanted to help us on our journey to become informed! They really shared their magic, not just in facts but also in enthusiasm and commitment! Clearly it’s part of this winery’s recipe for success! Thank you Marianne and Jaime! Walking to our car, bottles in hand, we realized that for future wine tasting forays, we need a cooler in the trunk! – you might too!

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Merlot, oh Merlot
you are a very sour little grape
with too much skin
and bitter seeds!
But with age and attention,
your wine is a staple and gift!

son prim map

When driving from Inca towards Sencelles you will see vineyards and the sign for Son Prim on your left hand side. It is on the final curve before you arrive in Sencelles. You can not miss it!

See Wines Tasted at Son Prim: Click Here

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Son Prim Wines Tasted

son prim logo

Wines Tasted:

¸◊   1 White   ◊

Blanc de Merlot 2012

◊   1 Rosé   ◊

Rossat 2013

◊   4 Reds   ◊

Merlot 2012
Syrah 2012
Cabernet Sauvignon 2012
Cup 2013

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This is a red skinned grape bodega! Every bottle is made with red grapes! How unique! Additionally, Son Prim keeps it simple – all single variety wines, with the exception of one blended coupage of that years yields. Every bottle you can tell has been selected for excellence and carefully worked, we saw a testament to this while on tour. The quality control, specifically temperature, is at its max, and it is notable in the finished product. We would be happy seeing someone bring any bottle from Son Prim to a dinner party!


Blanc de Merlot 2012
Grapes: Merlot 100%

Son Prim Blanc de Merlot


Tawnee: A white wine from a red grape! This wine goes directly from fermentation to bottle, but for some reason on the nose I identify a slight woodish aroma. I like it! It has a straw color and is delicious to enjoy sitting on the patio watching the grapes grow.

Merie: Our first wine was the Blanc de Merlot 2012. Exciting for me to taste a white wine from a red grape. So it spent minimal time with its skin and seeds, which gives it a whole new character than what we normally think of a Merlot. This wine is 13.5% alcohol, and a lovely pale yellow. For me it had aromas of the vine wood, but no fruit. The thick tears of alcohol on the glass made me think it would be sweet, but it is not. It is dry, fresh and tart, with notes of black pepper and hints of before-ripe yellow fruit like melon or peach.

Rossat 2013
Grapes: Manto Negro
Other red skinned varieties

Son Prim Rossat


Tawnee: The Manto Negro grape – a staple in the Mallorca Wine Trail. This Rosé goes directly to bottle from the stainless steel tanks. It has a light plum color and tastes of sour apples and prunes. I would love to have tried it with some crackers or cheese. A great wine to serve with the appetizers at a summer party!

Merie: Rossat 2013 is also 13.5% alcohol. The primary grape here is Manto Negro, blended with other of their red varietals for support. No oak with this rosé, it is aged in bottle for a refreshing bright appeal. Wanting to be served chilled, it is nicely dry with aromas again of vine, alcohol, strawberry and pepper. The flavor too is strawberry without sugar, and tart green pepper. As it opened in the heat of the day I detected more aroma, fuller, sweeter (not sugary), maybe plum?

Merlot 2012
Grapes: Merlot 100%

Son Prim Merlot


Tawnee: A cherry in the glass. Now the red Merlot grape in its element – a red wine! This wine is one year in oak. The aromas are of musk and the taste like gummy bears (yes gummy bears!) – smooth and with a dry finish. A great wine to combine with a honey glazed ham, or at a Thanksgiving feast!

Merie: Basking in the sun and loving the view, the third wine we tasted was their Merlot 2012. Aged for one year in French oak, the aroma is of dark forest berries and pepper, the taste dry and oaky. A nice clean Merlot, it presents evenly in the palate, and is lightly robust and fresh.

Syrah 2012
Grapes: Syrah 100%

Son Prim Syrah


Tawnee: This is a great wine – slight aroma of plums and matching in color of the match. This is a wine with character and some acidity, but a smooth and delicious finish.

Merie: The Syrah 2012 is a gorgeous dark color in the glass. I found the opening aroma enticing, mouth watering, perhaps better than the flavor. The flavor is lightly peppery and nicely dry, with subtle but present tannins.

Cabernet Sauvignon 2012
Grapes: Cabernet Sauvignon 100%

Son Prim Cabernet Sauvignon


Tawnee: Bacon bits! Yes – the aroma of this wine is bacon bits! It has a bold spicy flavor and deep dark red when poured. Just delicious. It would pair well with grilled pork or a meat and potatoes meal. This is my favorite wine from Son Prim. Of course I bought one to take home!

Merie: Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 is dark, voluptuous wine has notes of dark berries and spices, in both aroma and flavor. It is rich yet bright. Aged in oak, it has the support that lends, but no strong oaky flavor.

Cup 2013
Grapes: Syrah
Cabernet Sauvignon

Son Prim Cup


Tawnee: Coupage – a blend of the three single grape red wines – Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot. Every year this wine is a different percent of each grape. It is a very deep cherry almost plum color. The aroma is sweet, raisinish with a hint of coffee. It has a full beginning, and is slightly sweeter than the Cabernet Sauvignon that we just tried. I like that it will change every year according to their taste.

Merie: Our last tasting was the Cup Son Prim 2013. Cup is short for coupage, and each year they combine a different selection of grapes depending on the highlights of the harvest. This year their coupage is very berry and chocolate, with bright red fruit notes. Refreshing and dry, well suited to a good meal of meat or red sauces.

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Thank you Jaime and Marianne!

Please see Son Prim Visit: Click Here

### Son Prim ###

Cellar Jaume de Puntiró Visit

“Organic wines with character and artisanal artistry!”

Jaume Puntiro logo
+34 971 620 023
Santa Maria del Cami, Mallorca Spain

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Cellar Jaume de Puntiró was founded in 1980 by Jaume Calafat i Nadal. Currently, his sons Pere and Bernat Calafat i Vich run the winery and produce classic Mallorcan wines emphasizing local grapes, all harvested from their registered ecologically tended vineyards. It is, in fact, the oldest certified 100% organic winery on the island, and they produce around 40,000 liters annually.

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The family has owned vineyards for decades, always growing and harvesting by traditional methods. All their grapes currently come from the seven vineyards they own in the Santa Maria area; and all production is done on site in their Santa Maria del Cami facility on Plaça Nova. Their clients are mostly Mallorcan, with 20% of their bottled wine exported to Denmark, and 5% to Germany. The name Puntiró comes from an area from which the paternal family came. The winery is distinguished with the Carta de Mestre Artesà, and the Document de Qualificació Artesanal. They belong to the Consell de la Producció Agrícola Ecològica de Balears, and the Consell Regulador de la Denominació d’Origen Binissalem-Mallorca.

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It was a scorching July afternoon when Pere (Peter) Calafat i Vich opened the locked front door for us and we asked if a tour and tasting were possible. He grinned and waved us in “Sure! It’s all here, the whole production; we are only missing the grapes!” He introduced himself, and then said with a big smile that he is both the President of Cellar Jaume de Puntiró, and the sweeper. Pere does not speak any English. No matter, we enjoyed a wonderful tour of the small production facilities, and he told us that come September, all the front area tasting and sales decor leaves, and the grapes come in the door and own the place!

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He told us that his grandparents on both sides of the family grew grapes before and since the Phylloxera blight, and they were always ecological because it was the only option in the past. Today, they do not use herbicides to kill weeds or toxic chemicals, and use only natural products to control molds and fungi. They follow strict ecologic guidelines of what you can or can’t use; he told us that the natural products are much the same today as the family used before chemicals became available. They feel strongly about their vines, wines, and clients, and carefully tend their vineyards accordingly.

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They grow eight varieties of grapes in their five vineyards: Their reds are Manto Negro, Callet, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Merlot, which they age 12-24 months in oak barrel; and their whites are Prensal Blanc, Giro Ros, and Muscatel which they generally age 6 months in oak barrel or steel tank. Pere said his grandfathers and father made one red wine, which they sold from the cask and never bottled, whereas now Cellar Jaume de Puntiró makes two full lines and sell both from cask/tank and bottles. All the grapes ferment individually in a tank and then they are blended as desired, except for the JP wine where the varietals are fermented together.

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Pere told us that one has to understand the nature of each grape to make a good wine; for example, in his opinion, the Callet grape make a good 100% Rosado, but Callet 100% red is not as good: it is nicely aromatic, but lacking flavor strength and structure.  On a related note, we learned that technically a Coupage is where you take a trusted wine like Cabernet Sauvignon and cut it into wine made from a grape varietal that needs bolstering for any reason (i.e. color, tannins) like most wineries do with Callet and Manto Negro.  So a coupage is a blend with a specific supportive role.

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The winery has a close link to the arts and music. Not only having artists paint their Crianza line labels, but also they have concerts and poetry readings in the winery. We love the idea of serenading the grapes as they ferment and mature! On their FaceBook page it shows they had a Glosses competition, which is the traditional chants that they sing at the fiestas Sant Antoni. They even have a symbol that represents each bottle- Pere says it is the Puntiro Alphabet. They bring a lot of creative arts into this bodega!

Puntiro Alphabet

We quickly found ourselves chatting with Pere like old friends.   He told us that the family tradition of naming continues:  Jaume the grandfather, then our Pere, and he has named his son Jaume — We are thinking perhaps the future owner?!  Pere happily shared facts about their production, telling us they use only American and French oak barrels, and that the same wine aged in barrel becomes “golos,” or rich, and without barrel is bright and refreshing. He also told us that nowadays, most Mallorcan wine goes to German clientele on island and as export.

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We asked him about how they temperature control their steel tanks in such hot weather, and he told us that the stainless tanks are fine in an above-ground hot room now because they are empty, otherwise they air-condition the room in addition to temperature controlling the tanks. He guesses the tanks we saw outside at Macia Battle and Pere Seda are not filled until the day temperatures are low enough that the solar heat doesn’t affect the temperature-controlled tank interiors. Ah ha! We’d been worrying about that!

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As we were leaving, bottles in hand, Pere showed us the old rust-colored pine bough hanging outside over the front door. He told us that a pine branch in front of an entrance is a centuries old symbol indicating that wine is made there! A new pine bough announces when the new wine is ready each year. This lovely dried one was still here from last November!

All in all we loved our experience at Cellar Jaume de Puntiró: when an owner is this comfortable and passionate about his trade, it comes through in the Tour and the Tastes!  Cellar Jaume de Puntiró is a Must Stop on the authentic Mallorca Wine Trail!

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Please see out Tasting Notes for wines tasted today at Cellar Jaume de Puntiró!


Directions:Jaume Puntiro Map.jpg
As you drive into the town of Santa Maria from the highway, you will see a sign for the Urgencias PAC  on your right hand side. Follow this sign and you will come to the main square called Plaça Nova. Jaume de Puntiro is there. You need to drive all the way around the square since it is all one-way roads.

See Wines Tasted at Jaume Puntiró: Click Here

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ANA Vins Wine Tasting

Ana Vins
Wines Tasted:

◊   1 White   ◊

Blanc 2012

◊   1 Rose   ◊

Rosat 2014

◊   2 Reds   ◊


Ana wine Mallorca

We love the simplicity of ANA Vins – four wines. A White, Rosé, Red and special red, all called by their Mallorcan color names; Blanc, Rosat, Negre and Selecció. The normal red and special red are made with the same grapes, but with different percentages and different aging time in French Oak. The bodega is relatively new, and they are working hard to preserve the work they have done. The tasting room is in a beautiful country room with a wooden round table. Perfect for a lengthy conversation over a good wine.

Blanc 2012

Grapes: Prensal Blanc

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Tawnee: The color is a delicate yellow, like dry straw. This is a fruity wine. Fresh and clean. Incredibly, it smells just like it tastes – A first on our Mallorcan Wine Trail! I can see why it was sold out. It would be great with fresh oysters.

Merie: Next Francisco opened a new, chilled bottle of the Blanc 2012 for us, made from Prensal Blanc, Chardonnay, and Muscatel grapes. Interestingly, it had very subtle aroma and then bold flavor! I have not encountered that yet!

Rosat 2014

Grapes: Manto Negro 50%

Ana Vins #06 c

Tawnee: The color is a very soft red. It matches the delicacy of the taste. Made similar to the wine I really liked in Ca’n Pico where the grapes were pressed and then put inside at a cool temperature and they then removed the grapes and seeds fairly quickly allowing for a very clean crisp wine. This process is called Baja Magracion. This wine is very floral and is wonderful because it tastes just as good as it smells. It would be excellent chilled on the patio in the early afternoon.

Merie: We started with the Rosé, a first for us as every other tasting experience has started with their dry white and moved through rosé to reds. This wine is 50% Monte Negro, then a mix of Callet, Merlot, and Syrah. It has extremely inviting color and aroma, light fruit notes, and is satisfyingly dry. A very good rosé!


Grapes: Manto Negro 35%
Syrah 10%
Cabernet Sauvignon


This coupage is beautiful – both in color and in taste. It is a mix of native Mallorcan grapes and classic grapes. It is a very easy wine to drink full of red berries and a small hint of spice. Perfect for pork chops with a light gravy or turkey.

Merie: Next came the red/Negre. Aged in French oak, the aroma tempted with chocolate and raisin scents. Xisco called it joven = young, because it only had one year in oak barrel – but in our experience most people call a no-barrel wine young. The grapes are 35% Manto Negro, 10% Syrah, then a mix of Callet, Cabernet, and Tempranillo. There was also light raisin in the flavor, in a surprisingly nice, dry way!

Grapes: Manto Negro 42%
Cabernet Sauvignon

Seleccio Negre

Tawnee: I love that this winery is using Tempranillo that I have tasted a wine made with Tempranillo. I have not come across it here on the island very much. A beautiful bold red. It is incredible to see what the difference a few subtle differences in proportions of grapes and time in oak can make to a wine. This would be great beside the roaring fire with some cheese, cold cuts and crackers.

Merie: Our last taste was the Selecció. Made from the same grapes as the Negre, in different proportions, and aged longer. With 42% Manto Negro it is aged 2 years in French oak barrels. The aroma was great, and the wine flavors very parallel to the aroma once it opened a bit in glass. The color is deep ruby. Xisco called the taste “suave,” and said “Tiene cuerpo.” Have your dictionary? Suave means soft, and tiene cuerpo means full bodied.

Ana Vins Xisco

Thank You Xisco!

Please see ANA Vins Visit: Click Here


Miquel Gelabert Wine Tasting

miquel gelebert logo

Wines Tasted

◊   4 Whites   ◊

Golós Blanc 2013
Vinya Son Caules Blanc 2013
Sa Vall 2011
Chardonnay Roure 2013

◊   4 Reds   ◊

Autonom 2011
Torrent Negre 2009
Seleccio Privada
Gran Vinya Son Caules

Miquel Gelebert Wines

Going to a wine tasting at Vins Miquel Gelabert is a memorable experience! There is no shortage of wines to choose from!  Miquel has 10 vineyards on the island and produces wine from 30 different grapes. This is no small feat for a family run business and is why there are a variety of wines and lines to choose from! They take the time to share with you their knowledge and make you feel at home. Every wine we tasted here was full of life and passion – exquisite!

Golós Blanc 2013
Grapes: Riesling
Giró blanc

Golos Miquel Galabert

Tawnee: Golós is a wonderful fresh and crisp wine! ‘Golós’ means someone that tries something, and wants more; gluttonous. It is a unique white in that it is a mix of young wine and wine that has been fermented, around 40% of the grapes (Reisling and Moscatel) have been French oak for around six months. It would be excellent on a warm summer day by itself or paired with a fresh chilled salad or white fish. Delicious.

Merie: First we tried the lovely Golós 2013. It is 30% Crianza with Viognier and Giró Blanc grapes 4-6 months in oak barrel, blended with 70% Muscatel, Riesling, which did not go to oak barrel — so it still a young wine. It is a fresh, bright wine with just a hint of oak. The name Golós comes from the word “Goloso” meaning someone who loves to eat and drink, someone who “wants more,” understandably!

Vinya Son Caules Blanc 2013
Grapes: Macabeo
Prensal Blanc

Vinyes Son Caules Blanc Wine

Tawnee: The beautiful straw color is what I first noticed about this wine. It is a semi-crianza in the sense that it is only in French oak barrels for 3 months. This is different to begin with, white in oak and for such a short time. It adds complexity to the wine and I like it. It would be perfect to combine with any vegetarian dish as it is light, but won’t get lost in contrast to the vegetables.

Merie:  These three local grapes blend to make a truly unique white wine.  They are subtle, combine well, and the oak is used carefully to complement.  The color is mouthwatering on a hot day, as are the fresh white-fruit and nectar aromas (I’m trying!)  It is nicely dry but the fruity quality still shines.  I would like to take a bottle to an artisan cheese maker’s tasting!

Sa Vall 2011
Grapes: Giró Blanc

Miguel Gelabert Sa Vall

Tawnee: Sa Vall means the valley. It is a mix of two grapes that have been both fermented in new French oak for six months. The result is a very distinct white. I am not accustomed to drinking white wines that have gone to oak, but I like it. It is a white with structure and body. I think it would be excellent beside a grilled fish and veggies!

Merie: Next we tried the Sa Vall 2011: It is a White Crianza, 6 months in high-grade French oak and at least 6 months in bottle (3 years in our case!). The Giró Blanc and Viognier grapes are hand selected for this well-balanced blend.

Chardonnay Roure 2013
Grapes:  Chardonnay 100%

Miquel Galabert Chardonnay

Tawnee: I am not a fan of Chardonnay. I am trying to find it’s place in my palate, but I have not quite found it. I did enjoy this one. Perhaps the fact that it was 6 months in new French oak. It is a beautiful combination a French grape with French oak. It has around 14% alcohol. It is a very noble wine, golden in color and strong in the mouth with a dry finish. A good accompaniment to chicken or rabbit with gravy.

Merie: Maria poured the Chardonnay Roure 2013 next. It is a 100% Chardonnay Crianza, spending 6-10 months in top quality French oak. The grapes are selected very carefully by hand. It is smooth and crisp, with a dry finish. The grapes are purposefully grown in a small valley where there is less sun and they don’t over-sugar or burn. Many northern grapes are used to less sun, and they can over-mature in the sunny Mallorcan plain. Since aromas are in the skin, the Gelaberts are very careful with this. With less sun, the taste and aroma of this white are more in the French style Maria tells us.

Autonom 2011
Grapes: Callet 50%
Manto Negro 20%
Fogoneu 15% (old vines)
Gorgollassa 15%

Miquel Galabert Autonom wine

Tawnee: This is a special wine because it started out as a joint production between two bodegas- Bodega Ribas and Vins Miquel Gelebert. The name is Autonom, which is short autonomo, which means authentic to the place it is from, so Mallorcan grapes only. This is a delightful idea to combine two Mallorcan wineries, using only Mallorcan grapes to create a truly Mallorcan special wine. Recently, Miquel Gelebert has decided to take on full production of the wine. A dominant wine with notes of red ripe berries and wild herbs. I think it would be great with Mallorcan caracoles (snails) or stew.

Merie: Next we tasted the Autócton, which was designed in tandem with Bodegues Ribas in 2011. It is a very savory, smooth, Crianza red made with only native grape varieties including Callet, Manto Negro, Fogoneu, Gorgollassa, and Giró Negro grapes, and all from old vines! The grapes were mixed and then fermented together. If you can find a bottle of this it is well worth drinking. The Ribas Winery is in a different D.O. and their Distributer is different, so after collaborating, apparently big Ribas “gave” it to Miquel Gelabert for distribution.  What a partnership!

Torrent Negre 2009
Grapes: Cabernet Sauvignon

Miquel Galabert Torrent Negre wine

Tawnee: This is a common coupage that we are tasting, but I just love how every winery does it different. Miquel Gelebert has decided to age it in French oak and New American oak so there are notes of vanilla, smokiness and spice. It is a solid full body red. Like the name says- Torrent Negre- the Red River – it is a beautiful river that floods your mouth. I like it!

Merie: Maria then poured Torent Negre, 2009. This wine was aged 12 months in new French and American oak barrels, followed by further aging in the bottle.  Maria called it “elegante y redondo.” I was comparing this complex bottle to the Autònom, tasting back and forth trying to get different words to describe them, seeing which I liked best. Maria smiled and said  “Son buenos los dos, y ya esta.” – Get your Spanish dictionary out, you might as well learn some vocabulary too – “They are both good, and that’s that.”

Seleccio Privada
Grapes: Cabernet Sauvignon 100%

Miquel Galabert Seleccio Privada

Tawnee: This is a specialty wine that they only produce when there are good enough grapes to make it, and only from the best vines in the vineyard. Hence, the quantity of bottles produced is low. A rare gem – they have named it at the bodega amongst themselves – the wine makers’ ‘capricho’,  the closest translation I can think of being ‘toy’….in the sense of a Ferrari is your toy. We tried it because we love strong, full deep bodied wines and this did not disappoint. Devine.

Merie:  I love a good Cabernet and this 100% was a pleasure.  Knowing these grapes were individually hand picked and then hand selected for this Selecció Privada lends to the joyful experience.  Vins Miquel Gelabert are good at creating a full bodied dry red, where the fruit notes are strong but no residual sugars thicken the flavor.  Give me this wine, dark chocolate, and some dry Spanish cheese and send me home!

Gran Vinya Son Caules

Grapes: Callet 90%
Manto Negro 10%
and other varietals

Miquel Galabert Gran Vinyes Son Caules Wine

Tawnee: This wine comes from the oldest grape vines of this bodega – more than 50 years old (the Vinyes Velles). This is a wonderful wine with the local grapes, Callet and Manto Negro. The aromas are of ripe berries and with the mix of French, American and Hungarian oak creates a wonderful blend of spices and chocolate. An elegant coupage.

Merie: Our last taste was Gran Vinya Son Caules, made from a hand picked selection of grapes from the oldest vines. It is 90% Callet grape, the rest is usually Manto Negro and Fogoneu, depending on the year. The other varieties help with color, as apparently Callet oxidizes easily.  Oxidation changes a wine’s hue and taste…as a wine ages it is oxidizing so winemakers keep track of this as they perfect their product.  (Remember the purposefully oxidized wine at Cellar Ca’n Pico?)  Maria said this is her father’s favorite.  It’s the one he is presenting to show that Callet is a good grape, but standing alone it would perhaps not appeal 100% in color and aroma, and that would hurt sales. She said (and I translate and thus paraphrase) “Blends let you create the wine you want, the look, the scent, and the flavor. 100% of one grape can be no more than what that grape can offer.”

Vins Miquel Galabert Maria

Thank you Maria!

See Miquel Gelabert Visit: Click Here

###   Vins Miquel Gelabert   ###

Ribas Winery Visit

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

Ribas logo
+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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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


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!


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.


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


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.


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.


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.

Ribas tastingRibas_7-9-15_#25

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.


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.

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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José Ferrer Winery Visit

“Deep rooted tradition, with modern innovation.”

Jose Ferrer
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