It’s a place where you get 300 days of sun a year and where winemaking dates back to the time of the Roman’s in 123 B.C. It’s the Island of Mallorca, an 8-hour ferry ride from Barcelona or Valencia. With the statuesque gothic cathedral at the gateway of the island it is as simple as jumping on one of the islands trains to head about 40 minutes inland to the wineries. Not to mention the train costs about 1.30 Euros!
There are two Denominación de Origens (D.O.) on Mallorca – I spent most of my time visiting the wineries of the D.O. Binissalem. The two largest wineries on the island are Bodega of José L. Ferrer (JLF) and Macià Batle. My favourite by far had to be JLF, our charismatic guide – Sandra – was fabulous and really made the tour a lot of fun.
Bodega JLF came to life through the romantic vision of the young adventurer José Luís Ferrer when he began this now illustrious Bodega in 1931. On a tour of the facility we were able to see both the old winery from 1931 and the newly refurbished winery from 1996. To see all the old presses, pumps and other wine making tools lying around is amazing and likewise so is the new part of the winery.
We were led through the stainless steel tanks to some stairs which descended 12-meter’s underground to caves full of 2,000 oak barrels from various countries around the world. The share magnificence of it and the intoxicating smell from the oak wood will have you thinking of plans to ‘accidentally get lost from the group’.
Once you have been overwhelmed by the hundreds of thousands of bottles being aged further along in the caves you will be invited to taste some of JLF’s tipples – we all have to admit this is the pinnacle of any tour! The D.O. constitutes that each blend must have 50% of the native white grape variety Moll and if producing a red it must have 30% of the native Mantonegra. So here is what I thought;
Blanc de Blancs 2010 – This pale light-lemon coloured wine is perfect for summer-time drinking, its refreshing and mouth-quenching with notes of green apples and pears on the palate with delicate white rose fragrances.
Crianza ‘Franja Roja’ 2008 – Medium garnet on the eye with aromas jumping out of the glass of red fruits and milk chocolate. The palate is in perfect harmony with chewy yet creamy tannins melting into a licorice tinged finish. TOP RED PICK.
Veritas Dolç ‘Seleccio Barrica’ 2010 – This Moscatel sweetie spent 6 months in new French oak. The nose has an abundance of floral perfume with a distinct lemon-honey touch. On the palate this luxurious gold liquid is velvety with notes of dried fruits, particularly apricot and a nice long finish, fantastic to go with a cheese board. TOP WHITE PICK.
Brut Nature Veritas 2009 – This Macabeo, Moll and Chardonnay sparkling has that stunning characteristic bone-dryness of any Nature. It’s crisp, refreshing and has mouthfuls of orchard fruits, fantastic aperitif!
A tour at Macià Batle is not really my kind of thing, it is self-guided and they do not give you any information or signposts along the way to describe the different parts of the winery. However I have to admit I enjoyed the small traditional Mallorican crackers with a variety of different toppings including green and black olive pestos, sundried tomato spread and pork pâté to go with the high-alcohol wines served up in the tasting.