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Wines of Mallorca

Sierra Tramuntana region

son vich vines

Whenever wine from Mallorca is mentioned I imagine that most of us immediately think of the areas of the flat central plain of the island as the main grape growing areas. True, but there are other regions of Mallorca which produce wine under an official geographical indication (a bit like a DO) and one such is the Serra de Tramuntana-Costa Nord regional wine.

Comprising of the 18 municipalities dominated by the Sierra Tramuntana mountain range all down the west coast of Mallorca from Pollensa in the north to the southwest coast of Andratx in the south

The area where grapes are produced and wine is made with the Serra de Tramuntana - Costa Nord regional wines indication comprises 18 municipalities in the northwest of Mallorca, between Cape Formentor and the southwest coast of Andratx the region has been producing wine since Roman times.

Production was kick-started in the 14th century when the King exempted wine made in Alcudia from taxes and it soon became the sole crop of the area and drunk not only in Mallorca but also across the sea. By the 16th century, the Malvasia grape was widely cultivated, producing wine favoured by royalty, the wealthy and the church.

However, the golden period of wine production was in the 19th century when the philoxera disease appeared in France, decimating the crops and opening the import door to cheap but good quality Mallorcan wines with hundreds of hectares of land given over to vines in the Tramuntana.

Tragedy struck in 1891 when philoxera arrived in Mallorca and wine production was all but halted for 100 years. Despite this, since the 1990's there has been a revival in the industry thanks to the mountainous area's geographical and climatic conditions which help to produce wines with unique characteristics.

A combination of chalky brown soil, high mountains and valleys giving different micro-climates, rainfall concentrated in autumn and winter, and moderate summer temperatures make ideal conditions for producing excellent wine.

To qualify for the honour of inclusion in the Serra de Tramuntana-Costa Nord region a host of set conditions have to be followed;

The only grapes allowed are -

Reds: Cabernet sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Monestrell, Ull de Llebre, Callet, Manto Negro.

Whites: Malvasia, Moscatell de Alejandria, Moscatell de grano menudo, Moll, Parellada, Macabeo, Chardonnay, Sauvignon blanc.

Numbers of vines, fruiting shoots and kilos of wine per hectare are strictly limited to achieve better quality grapes.

The pressure used to squeeze the grapes must be controlled so that a maximum of 70 litres of wine is extracted from every 100 kg of grapes.

So, how's the wine produced by the climate, geography, grape variety and stringent production controls? Well, very nice, would be my reply but here's some expert opinion -

The Malvasia wines are characterised by their aromatic potential, with a predominance of fruit and hints of pear and melon. They are dry, fresh, consistent wines with a certain complexity and good structure.”

The Chardonnay wines are aromatic, with hints of tropical fruit. In the mouth they are pleasant and well balanced with a long, persistent finish.”

The reds have a very intense colour, with strong tannins, and they are wines suitable for ageing. They give off perfumed aromas reminiscent of plums and ripe cherries, with a hint of fig or raisin.”

If you'd like to sample some you could look out for these names amongst others in good wine shops, supermarkets, at the airport or at the various wine tasting nights around Mallorca that I feature here on Spotlight.

Son Vich de Superna (photos)

Bodega Ca'n Pico

Malvasia de Banyalbufar

Tomeu Isern