Algaida: where few people realise good wine is produced...
If you are visiting Mallorca for the first time it may come as a surprise to you that wine is produced on the island. Good wine too!! After further research, you will discover that wine is produced within defined areas on the island.
The two main regions are Binissalem and Pla I Llevant, each having their own qualification, or Denominacion de Origen (D.O.) as they are called in Spain.
Wine produced outside the rules and boundries of the D.O. are called Vino de la Tierra de Mallorca. This is a more permissive qualification in terms of grape varieties used and where they come from within the island.
And finally, if a producer wants to do as he pleases and not follow any rules given, his wine would simply be qualified as 'Product of Spain'.
There are vineyards dotted all over the island and it is possible to visit some of them via a touristic approach such as jumping on a “train” and visiting a very popular vineyard. Alternatively, you can take the more direct approach (as we prefer) and call the producers to ask whether it is possible to pay a visit.
Our most recent bodega visit took us to the region around the town of Algaida. It is a bit more off the beaten track but with very good producers in the area.
We decided to pay a visit to the OLIVER MORAGUES vineyard (OM) and to CAN MAJORAL.
A short 20 minute drive from Palma, the OM vineyard includes an impressive old Mallorquin villa, dating back to 1229. The villa has been under the ownership of the Oliver Moragues family since 1511 and over the years various renovations and extensions have occurred, the latest one being to adapt the villa in order to accommodate paying guests.
Carlos, who spent time showing us around, likes to call the villa a farm that they share with people who are happy to pay them to stay for a few nights. The villa is surrounded by vegetable plots where anyone can take whatever they may need to cook themselves a meal. Guests are also given the freedom to roam around the house, which is not something you find in many guest houses. The surrounding area is very peaceful and the vines grow at the same tranquil pace that you breathe.
Treated with no chemicals at all, the vines are nurtured with love and care by a true romantic of wine making. Carlos is the creator of OM wines and is very proud to show us the vines. He is also incredibly expressive when he explains how his wines are made. For him, the only way to create a great wine is by making sure you have the best quality grapes and in order to achieve this you must put your heart, soul, knowledge and passion into the product. This is exactly what we can taste and appreciate in their wines.
Their delicate Blanc is a great example of how to create greatness with the Mallorcan Prensal grape. The same sensation appears when we taste their Red 500 and if you are lucky enough to get your hands on one of the 2000 bottles of the Selecció Especial, keep it for a few years and enjoy it for a special occasion or drink it now and be amazed at how good a Mallorcan wine can be.
After lunch we moved onto another vineyard and spent the afternoon with Mireia, of Can Majoral. Located on the edge of Algaida’s town centre, their cellar is in a building that is part old and part new, with an underground space to store barrels at a constant temperature, away from the summer heat.
They have vines planted in two locations, Son Reus and Son Roig, the latter one being a short drive from their cellar. Mireia kindly took us to Son Roig so that we could have a good look at the vines. What we found was one of the most idyllic surroundings we have seen on the island. The landscape is beautiful with its rolling hills surrounded by forests, fig and almond trees, greenery everywhere and of course, the vines. There is also an old country house overlooking this picturesque paradise, which is perfect for storing tools or having family gatherings and meals.
All sorts of grapes are planted here. From Syrah to Callet and from Riesling to Giró Ros. Mallorcan and international grapevines co-habit together giving this little vineyard a lot to play with when it comes to making wine. All of the wines created by Can Majoral are made with organic and biodynamic techniques.
We cannot hide our love for the single variety wines that they produce. Their unique Capgiró is a fantastic white with body and fruitiness, which is simply delicious to pair with many foods. The Callet is delicate and with a light body to fall in love with, and (if you can find it) the rare Gorgollassa is an exquisite red wine, aged carefully to perfection with a silk and smooth touch. However, do not stop there. The Syrah and the other blends they produce are second to none!!