“4th generation winemaking brings contemporary standards to a fine tradition!”
+34 971 56 11 17
Petra, Mallorca, Spain
Bodegas Miquel Oliver was founded in 1912 by Melchor Oliver, who began by planting his grapes after the Phylloxera blight. In 2012, his grandson Miquel and great granddaughter Pilar celebrated their winery’s 100th anniversary in their beautiful old 1868 Petra facility.
A member of D.O. Pla i Llevant, Bodegas Miquel Oliver currently produces around 220,000 bottles of wine per year. 85% of their wine is sold locally, and the rest is exported to northern countries. 95% of the visitors that come through this winery for sales and tastings are German tourists. Here on island, their distributor delivers to restaurants, markets, and shops with different bottles going to different markets like Corté Ingles, Eroski, and Al Campo. At the time of this writing they are just finishing a new facility which will bring all production under one roof and they will only keep this historic bodega for special events.
Señor Miquel Oliver is in his eighties now and mostly retired. The current owner is Pilar, the great-granddaughter of the original Melchor. Sadly for us, Pilar wasn’t there that day to meet; she sounds like an incredible woman. She is the bloodline owner, winemaker, and now innovator. She studied winemaking in Tarragona and then traveled around before perfecting her education and returning home to make wine.The opening summary of their wine tasting booklet sums up the bodega very well:
“By blending the traditional values of a one-hundred year old family cellar with a love of innovation, we’ve succeeded in making wine a form of self-expression.”
We drove in to Petra via the old road from Sineu, which was lined with lovely rolling fields spotted with hay bales: definitely a suggested drive! Petra is a historically rich inland town, and the birthplace of recently Sainted Father Junipero Serra, the Franciscan Friar who colonized/converted California through the famous Missions in the mid 1700’s.
Parking on the tiny urban street, we made our way to the big delivery doors of Bodega Miquel Oliver. We were met by Ana, our tasting host, and she walked us from the office and display rooms, across the tiny street to the beautiful 1868 tasting area and former barrel rooms.
Taking in the gorgeous vaulted ceilings and barrels lining traditional plaster walls, Ana told us that 2015 is the last year that most of their production will have been done over in Manacor, their barrel aging and bottling done here, and their storage kept elsewhere in Petra. That reminded us of Vins Miquel Gilabert which is also stretched across multiple locations! But in this case, within two weeks of our tasting, a new Bodegas Miquel Oliver facility on the Manacor-Petra road will open and house it all!
We asked Ana for the deluxe tasting, and she poured us seven wines! Please see our Miquel Oliver Tasting Notes for details.
As she poured, Ana told us that the varietals they work with are Prensal Blanc, Muscatel, Merlot, Syrah, Callet, Fogoneu, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Manto Negro (which they use only for the Mont Ferrutx Crianza). She told us they put a lot of energy, love, and sweat into raising these grapes and making these wines!
We learned that currently they are experimenting with new French oak barrels, but the barrels in this tasting room turn out only to be for decoration now. Ana told us they only use their barrels for four years, and then retire them for décor or sale. We asked about a huge old wooden tank standing regally in the corner. Ana told us it was a storage tank, made of Chestnut wood, and she was not sure of its age.
Further discussing oak barrels, Ana told us that new French oak is intense and in time smooths and matures to the traditional “chocolate- or coffee-like” notes. American oak barrels start with strong tannins, and later impart a softer almost vanilla flavor. Russian oak is more neutral, and Romanian and Hungarian oaks are like milder versions of French. She also told us they use only natural cork from Portugal and Spain.
Ana told us Bodegas Miquel Oliver is the first bodega to bring stainless steel tanks to the island back in 1986, and that Pilar was the first to make dry Muscatel wine on the island (having learned of it in France when she was apprenticing). As you surely know, the Muscat grape is very sweet and aromatic when ripe, and is usually used to make a sweet aperitif or dessert wine.
We learned that the wines in their Son Caló line are their house-wines for easy drinking with meals. It is named after a beautiful cove on the north of the island, where Tawnee has been by boat, so the Son Caló line resonates with her!
It turns out that this bodega has the majority of its older vines in that area. This is very common as historically, the inland farms were the most valuable for food and feed crops and the coastal properties were for luxury and the summer. Each inland town had a coastal area that the inhabitants visited every summer. Colonia Sant Pere and Son Calo, where Mont Ferrutx is located, is in the summer coastal land of the Petra people. Bodegas Miquel Oliver only just recently started planting in Petra at the new facility.
For the last few years, making 200,000 liters each year has been quite a big job for a team of only seven people (that number will change in the new facility!) — and they make a large variety of wines too, eleven in total. One of the things we really like about these wines is their character, not only in the flavors, but also in the naming. For example, the names Mont Ferrutx and Ses Ferritges come from the land where the grapes are planted. Another bottle that is unique is named 1912, a Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot blend made in 2012 as a celebration of their 100 year anniversary. It has a really cool label and we’ve added it to our list of wines to try. They also make a bottle called Xperiment, which is a new experiment every year. They only make 700 bottles, two barrels, so it is always a limited edition!
Probably the best wine that comes from the bodega is called Aia (which we were not able to taste), and it is named after Pilar’s mother; we love that tradition and ode! All the barrels used for this bottle are new French, American, Russian, Romanian and Hungarian oaks, and we look forward to being able to try it at the new facility! We love all the traditions that this bodega has! Like how the great grandfather Francisco started putting a bottle from each new year under the big Chestnut storage barrel, and they still continue doing it to this day!
We understand that they were in the process of moving, yet of course we were disappointed not to see and discuss more of the traditional processes of barrel aging and bottling. However Ana was very knowledgeable about the wines! We feel very lucky to have experienced the original bodega as we did; and now look forward to coming back and starting all over again with a tour and tasting at the new Miquel Oliver Winery. One bodega with two stops on our Mallorca Wine Trail!
Driving in direction from Inca to Manacor or visa-versa, you will see the Miquel Oliver bodega on the main road just outside of Petra. You can not miss it!
See Wines Tasted at Miquel Oliver: Click here
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