As we are starting the new year let us begin this year of articles with an overview of wine production here in Mallorca & the Balearics – with some ‘officialdom’ so you see how it is designed to work.
As the region of Balearic Islands ‘is the single province consisting of the islands of Majorca, Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera as well as other small islands’; so it is also for wine production, denomination and production.
The area’s winemaking tradition is protected by two of Spain’s Designations of Origin (D.O.) – Binissalem-Mallorca and Pla i Llevant. Quality wines are also produced in small wineries on the islands of Ibiza, Formentera and Menorca.
Indigenous grapes include Manto Negro, Moll (Prensal/Premsal Blanc), Callet, Gargallosa, Fogoneu & Giro Ros/Blanc. Other, famous international varieties are used also to make quality wines such as Moscatel. Macabeo, Parellada, Chardonnay, Tempranillo, Syrah/Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Viognier, Merlot and Monastrell.
Binissalem was the first of the Balearic Island’s Denominations of Origin to be granted this official status, in 1990. It takes its name from the growing area’s largest town in the centre of the island.
The wines from this area have distinctive character and remarkable quality thanks to the native grape varieties from which they are made, although today modern wines blended with recently planted varieties from abroad are also successful. The native Manto Negro grape has shown a tremendous potential for ageing, which suggests that this area may produce great wines in the future.
Bear in mind that the recent and past history of the vine here means that many of our vineyards are still quite young; the oldest probably being around 65 years old.
The wineries in this DO are now equipped with the very latest technological advances. They are, generally speaking, family companies run under the ‘château’ principle – that is, vineyards and winery as a single unit.
The area under vine is around 600 ha and expanding rapidly.
D.O. Pla i Llevant
The DO is named after one of the island’s districts (comarcas) and, in Mallorquín, it means ‘plain and east coast’. The DO’s regulation was published in spring 1999.
The vineyards lie in the flat, chalky central and eastern areas of the island, which offer optimum soil conditions. This area offers an interesting potential for powerful Mediterranean wines.
Illes Balears, Vino de Tierra (VdT)
The vine-growing and wine-producing area covered by the Illes Balears regional wine indication encompasses all the islands that form the archipelago of the same name. As many of the wineries fall outside of the official, demarcated D.O., this designation is necessary to avoid the use of the common, catch-all Table Wine (Vino de Mesa)!
Sierra de Tramuntana-Costa Nord, VdT
The area where grapes are produced and wine is made with the Serra de Tramuntana – Costa Nord VdT comprises 18 municipalities in the northwest of Mallorca, between Cape Formentor and the southwest coast of Andratx.
Mallorca VdT covers all the territory of the island of Mallorca. This means that it is feasible to use grapes from several areas of the island in one single wine, which of course rules it out of any D.O. qualification.
The eponymous grape-growing area where wines with the “Vino de la Tierra de Formentera” geographical indication are made is the island of Formentera.
Likewise, this covers all of the island of Ibiza
I hope some of you tried my “12 Wines of Christmas” from last month? Do let me know – as this month we will be launching Mallorca Wine Blog where we will post everyone’s tasting notes, comments and photos that you send us!
This will also be the basis for our campaign to create more awareness and recognition of the Wines of Mallorca & the Balearics, both domestically and in export markets.
WINE EDUCATORS INTERNATIONAL / DINING WITH STYLE
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