Son Prim Visit

“Excellence through passion and commitment to each varietal”

son prim logo
www.sonprim.com
+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
Directions:

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

### Son Prim ###

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Bodegas Angel Winery Visit

Where passion and expertise meet – consistently dry wines to the owner’s taste.”

Angel Bodega logo
+ 34 971 621 638
www.vinosangel.com
Santa Maria del Cami, Mallorca Spain

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Owner Andreas Gelabert told us from the beginning that he had very specific ideas about how he wanted to make his wine.  He  looked a long time to find the perfect location to build Bodegas Ángel. Having found it here in the island’s most competitive wine region, he boldly decided not to join the local Binissalem Denomination of Origin because of the restrictive guidelines.  Instead, he elected simply to be a member of the island-wide organization Vi de la Terra Mallorca [wines from the soil/terroir of Mallorca], which allows for more freedom of grape choice. All of the wines he produces are dry, to his personal taste. The winery owns 17.5 hectares of vineyards, and the oldest vines were planted in 1960 on land Andreas bought. He planted new vines in 2006 and 2007, and Bodegas Ángel opened in 2008, which is also the year of their 1st vintage. This year they produced almost 200,000 bottles, including two whites, one rosé, and six reds. The lines are: Angel, Sa Bassetta (which is the name of the vineyard with the oldest vines), and Specialty releases.

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Tawnee was working the hands-free phone in the car to find which wineries in our area were open and accepting tasters. She had wanted to go to Ángel for a long time and luckily, they were open. However, when we got there, owner Andreas Gelabert (not related to the Manacor Gelaberts) was exhausted. He had endured a morning of tour buses and there were empty wine glasses all over the counter and tasting room. He said he couldn’t give us the tour, but if we wanted to hang out with him while he loaded the dishwasher, he’d give us a tasting. We love the individuality of all our tasting experiences!

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The winery name ÁNGEL comes from his names ANdreas GELabert, and he said he came up with it in one of the thousands of hours he spent on his tractor preparing the vineyard. Ingenious! And nicely translatable in both English and Spanish: An angel spirit in both languages, as well as a common first name in Spanish. It is a perfect blend of who he is and what he stands for. Tall and solidly built, Andreas is Mallorcan, yet speaks English fluently. We started the tasting in Spanish and when he heard we were conversing in English – he said “Want to do this in English?” in a startlingly perfect American accent! It turns out he went to school in Texas and California and loved it! In California, a distributor friend dropped off a few cases of different wines at his house one weekend, and with an inquisitive mind he started tasting, and comparing; and the rest is history: He began his understanding of wine by self-educating – like us!

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Andreas started the bodega from personal interest and has a lot to show for it; his intent and interest are palpable from architecture to aroma. His passion is for dry wine, so Andreas is very careful with full yeast fermentation, allowing no residual sugars in the finish. He is refining his wine selection to make only what he considers to be very good wine; so whereas in 2014 he had three whites, this year he produced only two. He pays attention to detail and is willing to sacrifice for perfection… and one feels the nice mix of old world and new world in his character and this bodega. About returning here to start his winery, Andreas said simply “Mallorcan’s always come back. There is nowhere better.” Living in California with the wine hype probably added to his passion for wine at a young age, because it was there that he decided to make a real go at wine making; not everyone can do it and be successful! He received his BA degree in Business, not Oncology, which we are sure helps in his business model and the success of Ángel. There are definitely American notes to all that he has done!

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While pouring, Andreas shared a lot. He told us that Manto Negro grapes give raspberry notes. The local red earth, “Call Vermell” is rich in iron oxide, which contributes to the earthy notes. French Oak is used for notes of chocolate and coffee, while American Oak lends vanilla. This year American Oak was harder to get because the bourbon industry changed their regulations and bought all new barrels, thus reducing supplies drastically.  At Ángel they use 50% American Oak and 50% French Oak. However, Andres said he loves American Oak and purposefully uses it for the vanilla flavors it brings. We are guessing his palate was formed on California wines – and we love that he purposefully brings a little American taste to the island! Finishing up his dishes, and pouring our last tasting, he told us that that most of his local clients are German, English, and Swedish expatriates, and most of the tourists are Scandinavian and German. As evidenced by the large, elegant facility, he clearly has a great business mind as well as a very good palate!

Friday afternoon, sun beating down.
Should be going to the beach, but the Wine Trail is calling
A true Friday arrives in the face of the owner
Dry wines on the humid island
Divine.

Leaving with bottles in hand to take home, we noticed a single outdoor table set for lunch – and realized sorrowfully that as late as it was, we had been keeping him from his mid-day meal! What a fine gentleman and vintner. And of course, we are already planning to go back again and get a full tour of the beautiful facilities… and looking forward to another great day on our Mallorcan Wine Trail!

Mallorca Wine Trail

Directions:Bodega Angel Map
When you come off the highway- Palma-Alcudia. Take the Exit for Santa Maria/Santa Eugenia. Go in direction of Santa Eugenia. It is on this main road the right hand side coming from Palma and going in direction Santa Eugenia. You can not miss the sign or the beautiful building.

See Wines Tasted at Bodega Angel: Click Here

###   Bodegas Ángel Visit  ###

ANA Vins Winery Visit

“Simplicity, four excellent wines give this charming young winery a stable foundation.”

Ana Vins
+34 605.28.36.85
www.ana-vins.com
[In German only at the time of this writing]
Binissalem, Mallorca Spain

Ana Vins Winery

Celebrating the Mallorcan soil and unique local wine culture, Bodega ANA Vins specializes in native grapes, with northern varieties used in lesser percentages for structure and color. ANA is a young winery, started in 2010 with established, twenty year old vines. They now produce 55,000 to 57,000 bottles each year, mainly reds, and place great emphasis on giving the local varietals priority to capture the character of this island. They sell all they produce to their clientele on island, not aiming for an export market.  ANA Vins is not part of the local D.O. Binissalem, but is part of the local organization Vi de la Terra. German owned and financed, they started this winery because of a love for the local wines and island! Surely over many good bottles of local wine, the owners brainstormed with Mallorcan Francisco Pol Arrom who is experienced in the local Hospitality industry, and a young oenologist Tomeo Llabres; and ANA Vins was born.

Ana Vins

Why is it always the end of the day on Friday in this Blog??? It must be when we do our best work! We were driving around in the area late Friday afternoon, on a lovely lane in the middle of the countryside just outside of Binissalem, and we came across the yellow marker of ANA Vins. So we called to see if we could visit, and the answer was SURE!!; and an appointment made for 45 minutes from then. We drove through the vineyards as we approached newly constructed buildings set beautifully against their backing of vineyards and the Southern face of the Tramuntana mountains. Out popped a man’s head! Hello – we are here! It was the affable, knowledgeable, and multilingual Francisco Pol Arrom. He introduced himself as Xisco, and so it was!

Ana Vins tasting room

The three of us were sweating in the relentless heat, so we went straight to the cool tasting room for refreshment. Please see our tasting notes for facts, but of course we chatted while we tasted! Pouring their gorgeous, chilled Rosé, Xisco commented that at ANA Vins they are very particular with their maceration of each wine in order to get the exact color they desire. The display must be as appetizing as the aromas and flavors. Of course Rosé wines have a much shorter time in maceration than reds = sitting with their skins and seeds less time to catch only a flush of pink, and to avoid the level of tannins associated with good red structure. That, combined with the terroir of the limestone soil mixed with the local red earth (Call Vermell), make the unique attributes of a good Mallorcan wine.

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We found that their red Selecció wine improved as it opened in our glasses, so we did a little research on why wines like to breathe. Most reds improve with a little aeration, because as the oxygen reaches the freshly opened bottle, the wine naturally settles into its true flavors and the tannins mellow. The wine comes into its own, and shouldn’t be judged until it has breathed sufficiently. Some people just open the bottle and let it sit awhile, others use a wide mouth decanter to speed up the process, or wide mouth glasses and swirling the wine to aerate it quickly.

Talking about their reds, Xisco said knowingly “Manto Negro is the grape of the land and loves cheese.” Warms the heart. Unlike many other wineries, both of the reds at ANA Vins included noticeable percentages of the Tempranillo grape. This is only the second winery we’ve visited on island where they have mentioned Tempranillo. It is such a staple Spanish variety, a signature grape on the mainland, but it seems almost rare on island so far…

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We talked a bit about aroma vs taste consistencies. The ANA Vins Blanc barely had aroma, then tasted full and delicious. The Negre aromas were amazing, and it tasted really good, yet totally different from the scent. When we breathe in a wine and enjoy the aromas, we instinctively want the flavor to match it. It seems we must learn to enjoy the aromas for what they are, then on a separate subject, assess the flavors. Do vintners ever strive for homogeneous scent and flavor as an asset?

Ana Vins Barrels

As he poured, Xisco told us that ANA Vins prefers French oak. They find it rounder and fuller, and he said the American oak affects the tannins too much because the wood is younger – young oak is full of young tannins like young grape seeds. He also told us that they cut their first grapes in August, carefully looking for what is ready before September, the normal harvest season.

Ana Vins

After a very satisfying tasting, Xisco gave us the tour of the Winery. It was a ghost town at that hour on an early Friday evening, and fun to explore in the quiet. All was clean, new, and well organized. All production is done there on premise.

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It is beautifully laid out, from pressing to storage to barrel, bottling and labeling. The interesting thing that we noticed is that they efficiently store their bottles already packaged and boxed for the time that they age. The majority of the other bodegas we’ve seen store their bottles without label, and then clean and label before boxing and selling.

Ana Vins

We learned that Xisco is a man of many hats. He is the legs and heart of the bodega physically. We love to see such happiness in work. He told us the name ANA was chosen by one of the owners who has a daughter or a granddaughter named Ana; love the tradition of naming after the women! Xisco told us they also work with a Swiss chocolatier who combines chocolate with their wines – an experience we would like to try.

Ana Vins

We drove away happy and so enjoying this continued adventure. ANA Vins is a lovely winery with very good wines, and we do recommend it as a tasting destination on our MallorcaWine Trail!

Ana Vins Winery

Directions:Ana Vins Map
From Binissalem you take the road going towards Binali. There is a stop light at this intersection, so it is easier to notice. When you reach the Cami de Muro there will be a small white sign for this- it is the cross street. You will also see a yellow sign for ANA Vins. Take a right and follow for about 300m and there will be the bodega entrance on your right.

### BODEGA ANA VINS ###
See Wines Tasted at Ana Vins: Click Here

José Ferrer Winery Visit

“Deep rooted tradition, with modern innovation.”

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

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

Jose Ferrer grapes

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

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

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

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

Jose Ferrer Cava

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

See Wines Tasted at José Ferrer: Click Here

### JOSÉ FERRER ###

Bodega Son Bordils Visit

“Wine with character, consistently good and modestly priced”

Finca Son Bordils was the first Winery we visited, and we both hold it as one of our all time favorite wine tasting experiences because of how much fun we had, how much we learned, and the door that it opened to a change in our lives.

Note: This blog entry is actually a fusion of two visits, one in April of 2014 when the magic first happened, the other in the summer of 2015 when we were on our personal Mallorcan Wine Trail and we had to go back with our new knowledge and further questions!

logo son bordilswww.sonbordils.com
Inca, Mallorca, Spain

Son Bordils Vinyard

April 2014: The winery Finca Son Bordils, perched in the rolling mid-island plains outside of Inca, might be the oldest winery on the island – there is some debate. Founded in 1433 by D. Joan Bordils i Pont, the current owners are Ramón and Pedro Coll, and the Vineyard has been in their family for over 100 years. After the grape phylloxera plague, the family completely replanted 34 hectares of land with Chardonnay, Muscat, Prensal Blanc, Merlot, Cabernet, Syrah, Callet, and Manto Negro grapes, and built this beautiful and modern winery in the center, where we arrived for our tasting. They currently produce 150,000-200,000 liters/bottles per year, and are members of the Island organization Vi de la Terra Mallorca. These wines have character, and are consistently good and modestly priced.

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When we arrived there, the marvelous owner Ramón Coll told us that unfortunately, the person who normally pours the tastings was out dealing with a personal matter. But as it happened, Jaume was there. He takes the Bordils wines to restaurants and pours for potential clients, and he kindly agreed to give us a tasting. It was the beginning of the serendipity and island hospitality that has been characteristic of our entire tasting experience and is part of what makes this wine region so marvelous to visit.

Mostly in Spanish we all got talking, and Jaume got pouring, and soon Jaume was telling us all about the history of wine on the islands, of trains from the interior island loaded with wine or grapes, going to the Cellars on the cooler coasts, and then out for export to mainland Spain and nearby France. He taught us about the phylloxera blight era in Europe and how Mallorca had almost 30 halcyon years when Mainland had the blight and Mallorca did not, and Mallorcan wines were in high demand and very lucrative. Sadly, phylloxera arrived in Mallorca in 1891 and devastated the island’s vineyards. He told us about the history of commerce in the Mediterranean, from when the Phoenicians were thought to have brought the first vines to the island in early BC, and wine cultivation began in earnest in Mallorca around 120 BC when Rome conquered Mallorca. We talked and tasted for what seemed like hours, enjoying unique wines from the back that are normally reserved for special clients: It was a Friday late afternoon, bottles were open which would be bad by Monday’s work day, so we enjoyed a generosity and friendship that might otherwise not have been available.

T at son bordils

So you know, Phylloxera are sap-sucking insects, originally native to North America and related to aphids. They infect the grape roots and leaves, ultimately restricting nutrients and water to the vines. At this time there is no cure, but the rootstock that came from North America when Europe was replanted is resistant. American vintners had been given clippings of the famous European grapes, and grafted them onto American grape rootstock, with the great success of American wine industry today. In a graced turn of events, after the European Phylloxera plague, the American vintners brought back clippings from those same grapes, and resistant rootstock, and Europe was able to replant it’s own varietals. Jaume told us that there were 33,000 hectors of grapes planted on the island before the phylloxera blight, and that there are around 1,500 now.

Basic timeline:

  • 1862 Phylloxera blight in France, spreading across Europe.
  • 1865 Wineries and vineyards in Mallorca in peak production.
  • 1891 The blight arrived in Mallorca and virtually all grapevines were killed.
  • 1990 Island wide replanting of grapes began.

Before we knew it, we had missed the opportunity to make Merie’s train! But, as kind fate would have it, Jaume was from the same town on the other side of the island, and he was headed home from work as soon as we were done! So off they went chatting happily in Spanish all the long drive home (fabulously challenging for Merie who is still learning!).


After that experience we were hooked, and the glorious idea of further self-educating and tasting at Mallorcan wineries was born.

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July 2015: We went back to Son Bordils in order to taste their wines again with our newfound interest in self-education. It was late on a Friday afternoon like last time, an odd coincidence. This time owner Ramón Coll poured for us so his normal Tasting Staff could go home on time. He remembered us, and that he and Tawnee are Friends on Facebook after our last visit!

Wine Son Bordils

Ramón is an amazing teacher and wanting to help us learn. When we told him that we are on a mission to understand wines, the first thing he said is that temperature is critical when tasting. A wine does not taste the same from one temperature to another, and tasting is for understanding the true character of the wine; different from enjoying a glass of wine where it inevitably warms in the glass and opens like petals of flavors. Every time he took out a bottle from the cooler, or had one out on the table from a previous pour, he checked the temperature of the bottle with his hand to ensure that his wines were at their best! Pouring our first white, the Blanc de Raim Blanc of 100% Prensal Blanc grapes — see tasting notes, below — he told us that Bordils is the family name of the founder who came to Mallorca from Girona in Mainland Cataluña in the 1200s with Jaume 1st (James 1 the Conqueror, in Catalan: Jaume el Congueridor). This family brought vines with them and started their production of wine in the middle of the island.

26.07.15 087Click Here for details of: Wines Tasted

After only the first glass of white, Ramón said “You must see how it happens if you want to understand what is going on.” So, even though the bodega was at closing time on a Friday afternoon – he whisked us into working area to show us how it is all done. As we walked around the fermentation room, filled with shining steel tanks, he told us about the process. It has all to do with the yeast and sugar! There are two fermentation processes.  The first is called Primary Fermentation, which is the conversion of sugar to alcohol by the yeasts.  Secondary Fermentation (also known as malolactic fermentation) is when naturally tart malic acid is converted to lactic acid which is more mellow.  The yeasts come from the skin on outside of the grape. How much and the quality all depend on the land around it, the climate that year, and what you decide to put on your grapes. The yeast adds flavor to the wine and convert the sugars into alcohol, for every 17g of sugar= 1% alcohol. When all the sugar has been consumed you have a dry wine, not all consumed leaves what is known as residual sugars. He commented that this is one of the most difficult parts of the process, and sometimes the bodegas have to add yeast in the end to ensure that the whole process is finished to taste. Red wines generally ferment with seeds and skins to ensure color and tannins, generally whites are pressed then separated from the mash before fermentation.

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They close at 6:00pm, and again it was after that – but the front doors were still unlocked and suddenly a family group of 15 German tourists filled the tasting area. We told Ramón that he should attend to them because we are only two, and we have many more questions! So back we went to the tasting room!

As we tasted, we talked about how the wines were made. One of the important things that we learned was about the labeling laws in the area. For instance, to put the name of a grape varietal on the bottle, say Merlot, it only needs to have 85% of the grape inside! We found this extremely Interesting as now we are going to try and find out who produces 100% Merlot, and who makes a “blend,” and how that might contribute to why sometimes we can’t identify a Merlot wine right off. Possibly this is more specifically important to the native grapes on Mallorca, as some are difficult to create strong mono-varietal wines from, and hence many Mallorcan winemakers create blends to get the colors and flavors they want. Looking forward to trying some Prensal Blanc, Manto Negro, and Callet mono varietals =).

The group of German tourists bought two cases. We were thankful because we are all about education right now and not bulk purchasing. We did buy two bottles before we left, but we felt like that serendipity group paid for Ramón’s staying late with us on a Friday night, AGAIN.

And we look forward to coming back and finishing that production facility tour someday!

map son bordilsHow to get there:
Leaving Inca direction Sineu it is 4.1 km on your right. It is also easily located as it is across the Inca-Sineu road from the train station Enllaç.

### Finca Son Bordils ###

See Wines Tasted at Son Bordils: Click here

### Bodega Son Bordils ###