Vins Toni Gelabert Visit

“Following the moon’s cycles, superb organic wine from Manacor.”

Toni Gelabert Logo
www.vinstonigelabert.com
+34 971 55 24 09
Manacor, Mallorca, Spain

VinsToniGelabert_7-29-15_#2

Toni of Vins Toni Gelabert is a 1st generation winemaker. Registered with D.O. Pla i Llevant the Consell de la Producció Agrícola Ecològica de Balears, Vins Toni Gelabert produces 30,000 bottles per year from biodynamically and ecologically cultivated vines and grapes. In August 1996 he planted his first vines. In 1997 they built their bodega and processing facility according to Feng Shui. In 1979 they sold their first red, and in 1981 they sold their first white. They have seven hectares of grapes planted. The red varietals they grow are Manto Negro, Callet, Syrah, Prensal Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, and Merlot. Their white grapes are Chardonnay, Riesling, Viognier, and Macabeo (Macabeu in Mallorquin, and on the label) for their Cava. They are a progressive winery with a style of the traditional Mallorca we love!

VinsToniGelabert_7-29-15_#7

This was our second try at Tasting here, the first time was the same day as we went to Vins Miquel Gelabert = his brother’s winery (Please see our visit to Vins Miquel Gelabert!). That time Toni had to cancel for real life reasons, so this time he kindly allowed us to tag along with a group of six fun German women who were visiting Mallorca. They had booked in advance a €20 ‘cata de vins’ = wine tasting, of six different wines paired with Toni’s homemade Sopresada sausage on rustic Pan Moreno (brown bread) with Menorcan Cheese – we thought, why not?!

VinsToniGelabert_7-29-15_#10rt

Vins Toni Gelabert is a gem of a bodega because they follow the moon’s cycles. Biodynamics is a method of organic farming involving observation of lunar phases and planetary cycles which correspond to the plants cycles, and it is very time consuming. You have to be very observant and aware. During our visit we commented about how the summer has been extremely hot with very little rain. He pulled out his calendar and told us it didn’t rain in April, and that the last day it rained was May 24th — and we were in August! They plant the grapes at the correct time, prune and pick the grapes by the moon cycles. Their picking process is usually done somewhere around the 15th of August. This year they picked around the 25th because of the moon’s stage.

VinsToniGelabert_7-29-15_#5

Like a few other winemakers we’ve discovered, they choose or select the grapes right on the vines. They make as many as five passes to remove the less desirable grapes, until all that remain on the vine are good, which are then collected and used. The bottling schedule is also done in accord with the moon, and if it needs to be done on Sunday, then Sunday it is. Toni says it is more work, but from the heart. He told us he considers winemaking as an art like making music and cooking. He said he is all at this winery, and nothing. Not an Oenologist, he is self-taught through providence, study, love of wine, trial and error.

VinsToniGelabert_7-29-15_#16
This bodega has been carefully thought out all the way down to the orientation of the building. They called in experts from Palma who specialize in Feng Shui (A Chinese system of spatial arrangement and orientation regarding the flow of energy (qi), and whose effects are considered when siting and designing buildings and room or garden lay-out) and Dowsing (finding the water underground). After their recommendations, Toni built the house a little on an angle to the plot layout, in order to keep the light and flow of energy the best for their developing wines. However, like Toni says: When you follow the moon or Feng Shui, these are suggestions, but you make the final decision about what feels right. We’ll say that all the energy put into building and grape work can be found in the results of his wine: Delicious!!

VinsToniGelabert_7-29-15_#15

After harvesting his grapes, Toni ferments the majority of each different variety in it’s own unique tank, and the blending is done afterwards. There is a wine or two where he mixes the grapes and then ferments (which we finally learned is called co-fermentation, as opposed to blending where separate wines are blended into a cuvée, or batch, after fermentation). Toni makes about 15 different bottles of wine, but not all the bottles are made every year; if the grapes aren’t exactly what he wants that year, then he doesn’t make the corresponding wine. That is dedication.

VinsToniGelabert_7-29-15_#19

All the bottles have very different labels and names. At first, every year the label changed according to Toni’s choice of art or picture, which really spoke to that wine and that vintage; it was part of the labor of love. However, eventually Toni saw the marketing advantage in making a brand name. Now, there are two lines if you would: The Son Fangos, and the Torre des Canonge. He started experimenting making whites in 1981, and feels that his whites are the strong point of his bodega, however, we feel that all his wines are recommendable!

VinsToniGelabert_7-29-15_#9

We arrived and Toni gave our group a talk about the different grapes he grows, and where they are outside the bodega.  Then we were shown the fermenting tanks and explained how he ferments.  Next he took us down to the barrel room, which is somehow always our favorite! We got to see the barrels that he has brought in for this year’s harvest, and the beautiful quality of light and energy there.

VinsToniGelabert_7-29-15_#11

 

VinsToniGelabert_7-29-15_#20rt

We were able to ask all the questions we wanted to, about Biodynamics and varietals, and then he took the group to a rustic kitchen for our tasting. We all sat down at his table, with an old barrel underneath, and Toni began to pour!  Please see our tasting notes for wines tasted at Vins Toni Gelabert.

VinsToniGelabert_7-29-15_#42

As we tasted, and our questions poured, Toni told us that all their red wines are kept one year in oak, and that the older the grape, the softer the tannins – a nice way to put it.  Their whites are only 4-5 months in oak. They only use old French oak barrels, often burnt on the inside for flavor which he called ‘tostado negro.’ They produce 5 whites, 1 rosé, and 7 reds. Every year the grapes are different, so his wines are different blends to get a finished product he thinks is worth selling. The wines are 80% consumed locally, and 20% for export. They used to sell by Internet, but it was too hard because of customs. Now they only sell through distributors. He also told us that they buy cork from Gerona and Asturias, Spain. And he explained about Batonage – done with a special wand – which is a circulation process that keeps the yeasts in suspension in all wines in oak, and keeps the healthy amino acids active.

VinsToniGelabert_7-29-15_#29

This was a different experience for us as we usually do the tour and tasting by ourselves… one-on-one with the owner, family, or trained employee. We thought it would be fun to try something different to join the tourist group, and it was enjoyable because our group was lively.  However we would have preferred to do our typical one-on-one with Toni because he was such a wealth of information!  The biggest drawback was that the lovely ladies we were with spoke mostly German, and we conversed in English; and Toni doesn’t speak either German or English… so he missed out on interacting with us more… That said, we felt we missed out on his interaction and information – and he was the star!

VinsToniGelabert_7-29-15_#4

A side note about the Gelabert brothers: although they have the same last name and some similar traits like experimentation and innovation, their winemaking histories traveled different paths. Toni’s vineyards come from his wife Maria’s family. It was her father’s land where the bodega is built, and where they have 90% of their vines. Whereas, Toni’s brother Miquel took over the vines of their father, who had always sold his grapes to other bodegas. Two brothers – two lovers of wine – two histories: two Must Stops on our beloved Mallorca Wine Trail!

VinsToniGelabert_7-29-15_#3
Directions:  Toni Gelabert Map
Driving from Manacor to Felanitx, at about 2km on the road you will see a pullout or park-like area, slow down. Immediately after that you will see a very narrow road on the right and a small yellow sign that reads Vins Toni Gelabert. Follow that sign through a few turns and you will see the bodega on the left. When you drive along the driveway you’ll have Chardonnay grapes on your right and the newly planted vines on your left. Beautiful!

See Wines Tasted at Vins Toni Gelabert: Click here

### Vins Toni Gelabert ###

Advertisements

Cellar Jaume de Puntiró Visit

“Organic wines with character and artisanal artistry!”

Jaume Puntiro logo

www.vinsjaumedepuntiro.com
+34 971 620 023
Santa Maria del Cami, Mallorca Spain

Jaume de Puntiró_7-24-15_#1

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.

Jaume de Puntiró_7-24-15_#13

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.

Jaume de Puntiró_7-24-15_#3

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!

Jaume de Puntiró_7-24-15_#15

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.

Jaume de Puntiró_7-24-15_#9

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.

Jaume de Puntiró_7-24-15_#2

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.

Jaume de Puntiró_7-24-15_#6

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.

Jaume de Puntiró_7-24-15_#16

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!

Jaume de Puntiró_7-24-15_#4

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!

Jaume de Puntiró_7-24-15_#5

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

### Jaume de Puntiró ###

Cellar Jaume de Puntiró Wine Tasting

Jaume Puntiro logo

 

Wines Tasted

◊   2 Whites   ◊

Blanc 2014
Moscatell Dolc 2012

◊   3 Reds  

Carmesi 2013
Buc 2011
Porprat 2012

Jaume Puntiro Wine.jpg

Jaume de Puntirò is the oldest certified organic wine maker in Mallorca. Their wines are bursting with character and values. They have 2 different lines of wine: their normal selection and a Crianza line with artistic labels, plus a special red and sweet white. Most of the wines are named after colors in the Mallorcan language, and they each have their own symbol that represents that wine and is known as the Alphabet Puntirò; a beautiful blend of creativity and wine.


#1
Jaume Puntiro Blanc
Blanc 2014
Grapes: Prensal Blanc 100%

Jaume de Puntiró_Blanc 2014

Comment:

Tawnee: A very vibrant wine! It is a pale color of yellow. There are notes of fruit, and it has a delicate finish. A young white wine made from white grapes – named appropriately – Blanc is white in Mallorcan.  Perfect for a fruit salad or a salad with nuts.

Merie: Blanc 2014 is a blanc de blanc (white wine made from white grapes) made from 100% Prensal Blanc. This tasty wine has a beautiful, sweet aroma, with bold flavors consistent of a young wine. It is refreshing, dry and tart like a green apple, very even and fresh.


#2
Jaume Puntiro Dolc Moscatell
Moscatell Dolç 2012
Grapes: Muscatel 100%

Jaume de Puntiró_Moscatell Dolc 2012

Comment:

Tawnee: A delicious sweet wine – I bought a bottle immediately! There are floral aromas. It is very balanced and has a wonderful honey finish. An excellent end to a summer meal!

Merie: The Muscatel Dolç 2012 is a lightly sweet wine aged in oak. The aroma is not sweet, but full and interesting! The taste is lovely! There is some sweetness but it is not sugary. It is a very light, refreshing wine and perhaps my favorite here.


#3
Jaume Puntiro Carmesi
Carmesi 2013
Grapes: Manto Negro
Callet
Cabernet Sauvignon

Jaume de Puntiró_Carmesi 2013
Comment:

Tawnee: A good blend of traditional Mallorcan grapes and a solid Cabernet. Crimson in color, just like the name states. The Mallorcan earth tones are definitely notable. This is a good organic table red to have around the house.

Merie: Next Pere poured us the Carmesi. Like the name, it is crimson red in color. The flavor is oaky, as well as lightly tart. I was told that winemakers like a bit of acid in the right proportion, as it promotes salivation = mouth-watering!  This wine is a blend of Manto Negro, Callet and Cabernet Sauvignon varietals, and aged 12 months in American oak barrels.


#4
Jaume Puntiro Buc
Buc 2013
Grapes: Manto Negro
Cabernet Sauvignon

Jaume de Puntiró_Buc 2011

Comment:

Tawnee: A spicy wine! This comes from the Crianza artistic line. I personally did not enjoy the nose on this wine very much, but the flavor was dynamic and enjoyable! It was earthy and spicy. Good with a rack of lamb or grilled goat.

Merie: The Buc 2011 is made from a blend of Manto Negro and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes from older vines. The name Buc comes from the region the grapes are grown: Es Plà de Buc. It is a 12 month Crianza, aged in American oak barrels. Pere described it as “fuerte y duro.” Strong and intense, it has aromas of pepper and cinnamon. This wine has personality!


 #5
Jaume Puntiro Porprat
Porprat 2012
Grapes: Manto Negro
Prensal Blanc
Giro Ros
Callet

Jaume de Puntiró_Porprat 2012

Comment:

Tawnee: A bold wine! The nose is full of spice and earth. Drinking it is very easy as it is well balanced. It would be great with braised beef or a shoulder of lamb. It is from the Artistic line of Crianza wines.

Merie: The last wine we tried was the Porprat 2012. Porprat means purple in Mallorquin, and is named for the deep color of this blend of Manto Negro, Prensal Blanc, Giro Ros, and Callet Grapes. Note there is a white grape in this red wine!  That might be a first for us!  This is a rich, hearty red with strong aromas and flavors, and a good tannin structure.


 

26.07.15 063

Thank you Pere!

Please see Jaume de Puntiró Visit: Click Here

### Jaume de Puntiró ###

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.

Ribas_7-9-15_#4

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.

Ribas_7-9-15_#5

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.

Ribas_7-9-15_#8

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

Ribas_7-9-15_#10

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.

Ribas_7-9-15_#6 Ribas_7-9-15_#7

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.

Ribas_7-9-15_#11

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

Ribas_7-9-15_#13

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!

Ribas_7-9-15_#15

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.

Ribas_7-9-15_#18

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

Ribas_7-9-15_#22

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.

Ribas_7-9-15_#20

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.

Ribas_7-9-15_#19c

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.

Ribas_7-9-15_#23

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!

IMG_5221 IMG_4506sm

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

###   BODEGA RIBAS   ###

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  ###