Wine rejoices the heart of man, and joy is the mother of all virtues. ~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, German poet and playwright (1749–1832)
The island of Mallorca (also spelled Majorca) is famous for its sandy beaches with crystal clear turquoise waters and its unspoilt coves. But the biggest of the Balearic Islands has much more to offer. Not so far from away from the hustle and bustle of the beach, Mallorca is a wine paradise that keeps its doors open not only for wine lovers and connoisseurs, but also for beginners, whether they come alone, with friends, partner or family.
If you want to know why you should not miss out on a wine tour and a wine tasting in Mallorca and the best options you have, just read below.
A Bit of History #
The history of the wine in Mallorca dates back to the times of the Romans. Indeed, the delicious wines of Mallorca were very famous in ancient Rome and the philosopher and historian Pliny the Elder compared them with the best wines of the Roman Empire in his book "Naturalis Historia" (I century), making them one of the most popular imports to the Eternal City. But since those glory days, they have gone through numerous ups and downs and almost disappeared from the world scene. It has only been in the last few decades that Mallorcan wines have regained a more than deserved splendour.
Wine Cellars and Wines in Mallorca: Discover and be surprised #
Land and climate, plus, knowledge, tradition, innovation, work and passion. All these characteristics blend harmoniously in Mallorca to produce a wide range of excellent wines and have made the island a destination where you can discover and taste the flavours and textures of local wines.
There are currently over 70 wineries on the island and more than 500 wine brands. Wine production on the island is concentrated in two designations of origin (Pla i Llevant and Binissalem) and three geographical indications (Vino de la Tierra de Mallorca, Vino de la Tierra Serra de Tramuntana-Costa Nord and Vino de la Tierra Illes Balears).
These designations and indications already give a hint as to where to find the wine cellars and the fact is that they are spread practically all over the island: mountains (Serra de Tramuntana), hills, wide plains and also near to the sea. A visit to the wine cellars allows you to get to know the different landscapes of the island. Whether in the mountains or in the plains, they are usually surrounded by almond, carob and wild olive trees.
The designation of origin Pla i Llevant includes the vineyards in two different areas of the island, the centre and the east, spread over 19 municipalities. The wine region of the Binissalem Designation of Origin is located in the centre of the island and it comprises 5 municipalities.
The Vinos de la Tierra de Mallorca are produced with grapes harvested and bottled in Mallorca. The Vinos de Tierra Serra de Tramuntana-Costa Nord are made with grapes harvested in the rugged lands of the Tramuntana mountain range and northern coast. The grapes of Vino de la Tierra Illes Balears are grown in different areas of the islands that make up the archipelago.
Designation or indication
Location of the vineyards
Sorts of grapes
DO Pla i Llevant
Algaida, Ariany, Artà, Campos, Capdepera, Felanitx, Llucmajor, Manacor, Maria de la Salut, Montuïri, Muro, Petra, Porreres, Sant Joan, Sant Llorenç des Cardassar, Santa Margalida, Sineu and Vilafranca de Bonany.
Reds: Fogoneu, Callet, Cabernet Sauvignon, Manto Negro, Merlot, Monastrell, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Tempranillo, Gorgollassa.
Whites: Macabeu, Chardonnay, Moscatel de grano menudo, Moscatel de Alejandría, Parellada, Prensal, Riesling, Giró Ros, Viognier.
Reds: Manto Negro, Callet, Tempranillo, Monastrell, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and Gorgollassa.
Whites: Moll (Pensal Blanca), Parellada, Macabeo, Moscatel de Alejandría, Moscatel de Grano Menudo, Chardonnay and Giró Ros.
Main varieties: Manto Negro, Moll and the Moscatel varieties.
Vinos de la Tierra de Mallorca
Land located in the municipalities belonging to the island of Majorca
Reds: Callet, Manto Negro, Cabernet Sauvignon, Fogoneu, Merlot, Monastrell, Syrah, Tempranillo, Pinot Noir and Gorgollasa.
Whites: Prensal, Chardonnay, Macabeo, Malvasía Aromática, Moscatel of Alexandria, Moscatel de grano menudo, Parellada, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Giró Ros and Viognier.
Vinos de Tierra Serra de Tramuntana-Costa Nord
Reds: Cabernet Sauvignon, Callet, manto negro, Merlot, Monastrell, Syrah and Tempranillo.
Whites: Chardonnay, Macabeo, Malvasía, Moscatel of Alexandria, Moscatel de grano menudo, Parellada, Prensal Blanca and Sauvignon Blanc.
Vino de la Tierra Illes Balears
Land located in the municipalities belonging to the Autonomous Community of the Balearic Islands.
Reds: Manto Negro, Cabernet Sauvignon, Callet, Fogoneu, Merlot, Monastrell, Syrah, Tempranillo and Pinot Noir.
Whites: Prensal, Chardonnay, Macabeo, Malvasía Aromática, Moscatel de Alejandría, Moscatel de grano menudo, Parellada, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc y Viognier.
Wines in Mallorca: Location of the vineyards and grape varieties. Guide by Bodega Blanca Terra
Distinctions of Mallorca Wines #
As with any other wine, the characteristics of Mallorcan wines (flavour, aroma and structure) vary greatly, depending on the type of grape and the location of the vineyards. The method of vinification and maturation, as well as producer house style, also shape the characteristics of the wine. Nonetheless, Mallorcan wines have a special taste, with Mediterranean aromas. They are different from the rest, probably due to their proximity to the sea.
In the last decade, the focus has mainly been on quality and autochthonous grapes (like Manto negro, Callet, Fogoneu and Gorgollassa among the red grapes, and Prensal, Giró ros and Malvasia among the white grapes) blended with international varieties (like Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah). The main reasons are that most international visitors know the taste of a wine made from an already well-known grape and that international grapes can, in some cases, improve the characteristics of the autochthonous grapes.
In summary, red wines, white wines or rosé wines of Mallorca have peculiar properties and characteristics. Thanks to their high quality, they have achieved a high prestige and recognition at an international level allowing them to obtain the highest valuations from the experts. And remember, the best way to find out is through a wine tasting such as the one in the photo below at Bodega Blanca Terra
How To Plan A Wine Route or Wine Tasting: Are you an explorer and an enjoyer? #
Visiting the bodegas is with no doubt the best way to discover not only the wines and their characteristics, but also the tradition and the people behind - whether as a couple, with family, with friends or simply with yourself.
The local winemakers work with great attention to detail and pass on their knowledge from generation to generation, as many wineries have been family-owned for decades. They will not simply hand you a glass of wine, but will introduce you to the art of enjoyment.
You can either visit them on your own or join one of the many special sightseeing tours. Because distances between the wineries can be quite far (table above gives you an overview of where you can find the wine cellars), you may opt for different means of transport. If you are more the sporty type, you can combine a trekking or cycling tour with a visit to one or more wine cellars. If you want to take it easy, you can choose to go by car or even helicopter or boat.
What Will You Learn? #
Wine tourism offers the possibility of getting to know Mallorca in a very different way to the traditional sun and beach model for which the island is known.
On the one hand, it takes us into the history of the wineries and the entire wine-making process, from the course of the grape during harvest time until it ends up in the wine glass. You will marvel at the huge wooden barrels and cellar vaults, learn how and when the vines are pruned and get an idea of how much knowledge, care and work goes into each bottle and into this branch of Mallorcan agriculture. An exciting journey through the history of an ancestral practice with centuries and centuries of tradition.
On the other hand, it allows you to enjoy a very special landscape and environment. Tasting a glass of wine surrounded by vineyards is a pleasure that attracts many people in search of an unforgettable experience. Especially at sunset, the tranquillity and light of the island enchant with an atmosphere in which you appreciate every drop.
Top Reasons To Visit A Wine Cellar in Mallorca #
For sure, tasting the wine could be one of the main reasons, but there are many others:
- It is a sustainable form of tourism
- It is an excellent way of getting to know the island's natural and cultural heritage. Wine production is part of the landscape and it reflects the Mediterranean philosophy and gastronomy. By visiting a wine cellar, you are not only doing something good for yourself, but you are actively contributing to the preservation of this natural and cultural heritage.
- In addition to the guided tours and wine tastings, the wineries have displayed a range of products and services like aperitifs, dinners with food and wine pairing, workshops, concerts, exhibitions…
- Because most of the wineries are located in a rural environment, you can get to know the villages and their architecture, legends and traditions. You can lose yourself in the narrow streets, let yourself drift and leave all the hustle and bustle behind and enjoy the silence and peace of the countryside.
Wine Festivals: Another way to discover the wines of Mallorca #
You can also discover the variety of excellent Mallorcan wines by attending one of the various wine fairs that take place on the island each year. The best known are:
- Festa des Vermar (Binissalem, in September)
- Fira del Vi (Pollença, in October)
- Nit del Vi (Palma, in May)
- Festa del Vi Novell (Santa Maria, in November)
There you can taste the wines of different bodegas and you can also chat with the oenologist and/or winemaker. It is the ideal way to get to know new wineries and wines and to choose new favourites.
Wine Tourism: One of the best ways to experience the authentic essence and flavours of Mallorca #
Wine is undoubtedly a product very much linked to the land and traditions of the island, and it is a reflection of all the love and passion that the wineries pour into each barrel. Here is an industry with a quality production chain where much is done by hand and so it is a tourist attraction that offers fantastic value.
Many Mallorcan wineries have already adapted their facilities to attract this type of wine and gastronomic tourism. Most of them already offer guided tours and wine tastings.
Among them is the Blanca Terra winery, which opened its new facilities in August 2020. These facilities are totally focused on receiving visits from wine tourists and they also house a wine museum where we can learn more about the production process and its evolution over the centuries on the island.
Visiting a wine cellar is for sure one of the best things to do in Mallorca! If you are unable to participate in person, join an online tasting by having Mallorcan wines delivered to you. Most vineyards and bodegas will ship in the EU and Switzerland.
- A big THANK YOU to Bodega Blanca Terra provided this educational article to help guide us on appreciating the unique characteristics of the process and characteristics of Mallorca wines.
- personal experience
By Guest Writer
21 July, 2023