Itinerary, Dinner and Accommodation
The wineries in Mallorca are closed over the weekend. The visiting hours are generally from 9h00 to 15h00. Our flight from the UK arrived just after 9am. The wine region was ideally placed between the airport and our hotel 5 or so kilometers north of Pollença. One tip, make sure you go through the baggage hall to the car hire desk because if you take the quick, hand luggage only exit you will land on the wrong side of the car hire kiosk. They serve the people in the baggage hall in preference - really annoying and inexplicable.
We spent our long weekend at Grupotel Molins, Cala San Vicent. The hotel is a bit dated but the rooms are clean and have a great balcony overlooking the bay that can be seen in the photo.
For the most part we also ate locally. The first night we had grilled sardines at Pepe's Bar, the second John Dory, prawns and a view to die for at Cala Barques. We tried to go back on Sunday but it was closed. On Saturday we went to one of the highest Michelin rated restaurants in the area, Clivia in Pollença. Here we had goose Foie Gras (far richer than the usual duck), sea bass baked in a salt crust (superb and moist) and a chocolate mouse tart which was also pretty good. On Sunday we went to another local restaurant, Modesto, where we had lamb and seabass and tried a bottle of 2006 Obac from Binigrau (www.binigrau.es) made in the Crianza style; very nice with the food.
The first visit was Macià Batle on the main road through Santa Maria del Cami (www.maciabatle.com). Being the first vineyard we tasted their full range of whites, roses and reds. In terms of the wines of origin (Majorca Denomination of Origin) rules the wines have to have at least 50% local varietals. For whites this means Prensal Blanc and for reds Manto Negro. The 2009 El Vino de Llaüt (€8) was pure Prensal Blanc whilst the Blanc de Blancs had Chardonnay in the blend (€14). We were not too sure about the former (light, clean and fresh but not much else) and the latter was really just plenty of new French oak. The reds were a revelation - the Manto Negro has great red fruits, quite complex with only a small amount of tannin - very pleasant. The 2007 Añada (€5) was very light but the 2007 Crianza (€8.50) was very good (Manto Negro, Callet and Cabernet Sauvignon). We had bottle for dinner a few nights later and really enjoyed it. The other two reds were 2006s, Llagrima de Sang (€12.50)and the Reserva (€15). They were the same blend but spent more time in oak and were more complex. They also had great labels painted by artists. They had the cheaper reds available in 50cl bottles - 2005 Crianza (€6.50). We bought their green olive and tomatiga pates for evening snacks.
We then moved on to Bodegues Ribas in Consell (www.bodeguesribas.com). This is one of the oldest wineries on the island. Unfortunately the reds were sold out so we tried their whites, again blends of Prensal Blanc and Chardonnay and again plenty of new oak in the more expensive wine and again we were not convinced. We did manage to try a bottle of their red Sió tinto 2008 (a Manto Negro blend) in a restaurant a few nights later. Similar to the Macià Batle and José Ferrer Crianzas (that were also on the wine list) but rated more highly by the restauranteur.
From here we went to Tianna Negre (www.tiannanegre.com), one of the newest wineries on the island. They have two ranges, a cheaper Randemar and more expensive Ses Nines. The whites are based on Prensal Blanc and the reds on Manto Negro and Callet. They had an unoaked and an oaked white. We were not sure that the Prensal Blanc took to oak well. The reds were from young vines and showed it. They seemed to have spared no expense so in time the wines should be excellent.
We continued down the road to Binissalem where we visited José Ferrer (www.vinosferrer.com), one of the largest wineries. Here the reds have Manto Negro, Cabernet Sauvignon and Tempranillo in the blend. The 2007 Crianza (€6.90) was good. We had bottle for dinner that night with grilled sardines - really excellent. The 03 special reserve (€18.15) was also very good. The Crianza was available in 50cl (€5.20).
The next place we wanted to visit was Mortitx between Lluc and Pollença. We took the road from Inca; a really spectacular winding road, but not for the faint-hearted driver. We stopped for lunch in a village along the way but really should have waited till we got to the top where there were a couple of places to eat with great views.
Mortitx (www.vinyesmortitx.com) is in the hills on the northern part of Mallorca where there are few other wineries primarily because of the strong winds off the sea and the snow. For this reason they have not planted any local varieties. They have Malvasia for the whites and Syrah, Merlot and Cab for the reds. Their wines have won plenty of awards but we came away wondering why they bothered. The whites had a great nose but were a bit too acidic and the oaked white followed the island fashion of really over-oaking as far as our tastes were concerned. Their L'u white and red were expensive at around €25 but were pretty good. The ice wine lacked acid and complexity.
Our final winery sample was Ca'n Vidalet (www.canvidalet.com) just outside Pollença. A winner of many medals but only the usual grapes - sauvignon blanc, chardonnay, cabernet, merlot and shiraz. It seemed as though there wines were designed for export to Germany; almost all wines were over €10. The whites followed the now familiar pattern of an unoaked and over-oaked offering. The 2005 Merlot was pretty good but the 2007 Syrah and Cab were short on fruit and tannins.
Our conclusion was that a well made, local red, Manto Negro blend in Crianza form, was value for money, fruity, and relatively low on tannins. It went well with the food including fish. A real find in our book.