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Isle of the Wine

Isle of the Wine

18 Jun 2015 BY Tim Wells

Sit down for that delicious dinner in any Mallorcan restaurant, and if you order local, your bottle of delectable red wine will probably be from Binissalem, the island’s first D.O. (Designation of Origin) vintage, a status awarded in 1990. Sprawling across the broad mid-island plains of Es Raiguer and enjoying a unique micro-climate sheltered from cold north winds by the dramatic peaks of the Tramuntana mountains, the vineyards of the Binissalem D.O. produce a mixture of well-known varietals and grapes indigenous to the island, especially the Manto Negro, mainstay of the Binissalem red wine, and the Callet, a hearty grape evoking a cross between Cabernet Franc and Syrah. José Luis Ferrer is the most well-known producer; the winery has graced the entrance to the town since 1931.

Binissalem is an elegant town, with some fine manor houses sculpted in stone from local quarries, and a magnificent Cathedral de Santa Maria de Robines. Every September the town erupts in La Festa del Vermar, the annual grape harvest festival, with parades, the dramatic Correfoc with its fireworks-wielding devils, a grape-crushing competition, and the uproarious grape battle on the Saturday, where participants pelt each other with piles of grapes. This is followed by a large sit-down meal in the town square of fideus de vermar (a kind of paella with noodles instead of rice, and mutton, but there are recipes with rabbit and snails); you must be dressed in grape-picker’s costume to partake. This year the 35th edition of the Festa takes place 26-27 Sept 2015.

Vineyards have been cultivated on Mallorca since the 2nd century BC – it was even praised by Pliny the Elder in his Natural Histories - and the ancient Roman road from Palma north to Pollensa is lined with villages home to some distinctive wineries. Santa Maria del Camí has also long enjoyed distinction for its brandy; Sencelles, a great wine-producing powerhouse in the 19th century with over 100 vineyards, and Consell, its name evocative of its Roman past, home to the island’s oldest producer: Hereus de Ribas, established 1711, featuring the outstanding Ribas de Cabrera, a hearty Syrah/Cabernet Sauvignon/Manto Negro red.

Mallorca also is home to another D.O. vintage of distinction, occupying the fertile plains of Es Migjorn and Es Plà in the centre and south of the island, and the eastern Llevant region. Plà i Llevant, established in 1999, features quality producers such as Jaume Mesquida (Porreres) and Miquel Oliver (Petra). In addition, two of the Balearic Islands’ six regional wine designations can be found on Mallorca: Serra de Tramuntana – Costa Nord, awarded in 2002, producing traditional Malvasia as well as white wines like Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay, and regional designation Mallorca Wines, including dozens of producers scattered over the island. A high point of your villa holiday to Mallorca could well be one of many enjoyable wine tours on offer, taking you on delightful excursions around a number of vineyards by van, bicycle, train (actually a disguised tractor), or even by helicopter (incorporating some breathtaking sight-seeing). There you will enjoy relaxed tasting sessions, often accompanied by local culinary specialities or even a gourmet meal, and perhaps regaled by a concert at the end of the day.

Discover our villa Finca Sencelles just a few miles from Benissalem >>

And all our villas in Mallorca >>

Ferrer 1

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