About Wine Producing Areas in Mallorca
Much of Mallorca is suitable for vine-growing, although the best known wines are produced in three areas. Binissalem is the best known and is found in the plains coming off the Tramuntana Mountains. Pla & Llevant is the area on the fertile plain of eastern Majorca. Vineyards can also be found in the foothills of the Tramuntana mountains. Check out our list of vineyards in Mallorca here...
The main wine producing areas are around Binissalem (central, on the road from Palma to Inca), Pla & Llevant (central & eastern Mallorca), and around the Tramuntana Mountain range (up the west coast).
Native Grapes in Mallorca:
This black variety native of Mallorca has a vigorous vine with long branches and thick leaves. It has low tannins and tends to be low in alcohol. Traditionally, the grapes were used to created young red and rose wine, but recently, grapes from older vines have been used to blend with Cabernet or Manto Negro as it adds both complexity and spice. The addition of Callet allows the wine to be aged.
Manto Negro is the most widely produced vine on Mallorca, with most of it grown in the Binissalem area. A black grape, it is medium-bodied and has aromas of cherry, caramel and lilac. It is used to produce light red wines on its own, but is more often blended with other varietals such as Callet. It is rich in sugars and therefore alcohol content.
Moll (Prensal Blanc)
This white grape produces a light floral white wine, pale yellow in colour. The wines are light and refreshing, perfect for a hot summers day. It's a fairly simple wine on its own and is often blended with Chardonnay to produce a more complex blend. It is also used to make sparkling wine.
History of local wine
Wine making has been part of the culture of Mallorcan living for centuries (and yep, it was those ubiquitous Romans again who first brought vines to the island). The industry prospered from the 14th century right up until the end of the 19th century, when the vines were attacked by a plague of phylloxera; luckily that's not the end of the story!
Following the plague the wine industry was wiped out, and much of the agricultural land was replanted with almonds. A small number of vines were re-introduced but only enough for local consumption. During the 20th century, the wines produced on the island lacked finesse, and a great deal of the wine consumed in Mallorca was imported from mainland Spain.
However, during the 1990’s, a group of determined local winemakers decided to invest in their businesses in order to improve the quality of the wine. This included such measures as better planting of popular grape varieties (like merlot, carbernet sauvignon, syrah, chardonnay and viognier), the use of stainless steel tanks and equipment, good irrigation systems and greater use of oak barrels. The traditional grape of the island is Monastrell (Mourvedre), which in itself isn’t the best single varietal red wine, but when it is blended with other grapes, the results can be superb (think wines from Bordeaux). The white wines and roses have also drastically improved in quality, and all three sell at very competitive prices when compared to Rioja or Crianza from the mainland.
Vine-growers throughout the island have continued their quest for high standards and in 2007, a quality standard was introduced by the Balearic Councillor for Agriculture and Fisheries, which can only be used by wines grown, produced and bottled in Mallorca. Similar to the French AOC designation, the ‘Denominacio d'Origen’ classification ensures the quality of Mallorcan wines. White wines vary from pale yellow to golden in colour, and are fresh and well-balanced with fruity or floral aromas. The rosés range from pale pink to a deeper orangey/red colour, and are fresh and spirited! The red wines tend to be pretty hefty – full bodied I believe the term is. But they are also rich and earthy, complex and well rounded. Yum. Whilst the quality of the wines has improved enormously, the quantity has not – you will still find it almost impossible to buy Mallorcan wine outwith the island.
There are several vineyards on Mallorca that are worth visiting and several outlets that you can go to to try all the varieties of local wines that are produced.
Location: Mallorca Island