Say wine tasting tours in Spain and most people conjure up magical thoughts of vineyard tours through the hallowed lands of the famous Spanish D.O. (Denominación de Origen) wines such as Rioja, Cava or Toro. But did you know that the vineyards of the Balearic Islands also produce wines to impress even the most discerning of palates?
If you fancy a grape escape off the usual vineyard tour track, wend your way to the sun-splashed isle of Mallorca, where you’ll find cultural attractions in abundance and an intoxicating selection of producers and wines ripe for discovery. Some of the small wine cellars on Mallorca house some truly secret gems – this is your chance to quaff some of the most delicious and unique wines you’ve ever tasted.
Holidays in Mallorca are a great choice for couples looking for a relaxing break in a destination that offers charming rural retreats and quaint little villages, where local produce is still created using many traditional techniques, as well as modern farming methods. Treat yourselves to a luxury hotel in Palma de Mallorca as your base, then magical tours of the island await.
So, if they’re so great, how come Mallorcan wines aren’t well known in the UK? The answer to that is simple: Most Mallorcan wines (particularly those of the smaller, boutique producers) aren’t typically exported. Therefore, in order to unearth the pleasures of the Mallorcan harvest, you’ll have to come to the island.
That’s the Balearic Island lapped by the sparkling blue Mediterranean sea and where celebrity holiday home owners include, Claudia Schiffer, Pierce Brosnan, Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones.
It’s a tough job but if someone’s got to do it…here’s your guide to wine tasting tours in Mallorca. Prepare to taste the elixir of the Gods.
Mallorcan grape varieties
Mallorca has perfect growing conditions and a climate that puts it on a par with Italy, South of France, and, of course, the Spanish mainland. The local grape varieties include callet and prensel whites, and the black grapes: manto negro, fogoneu and gorgollasa. The vineyards are situated on five different wine growing regions on the island, each producing wines of different tastes and styles as created by their different growing conditions. For example, the vines of Sierra Tramuntana region are located on sea-facing mountains, while the el Pla regional vines are grown in the sheltered flatlands of the island’s interior.
The reds are invariably rich and full-bodied; the whites crisp and well-balanced with floral notes, and the rosés range from blush to deeper reds.
Some producers also create stunning blends of local grapes with well-known French varieties, including chenin blanc, chardonnay and viognier for the whites, and syrah and pinot noir and merlot for the reds.
The pick of the crop
Mallorca has more than 70 bodegas (wineries), and whilst many of them may be on the smaller side, wine making in Mallorca is a serious business. The proof? The local wine is protected under two ‘appellation of origin’ – in Spanish, ‘Denominació d’Origen’ (DO). These are DO Pla i Llevant, whose vineyards are situated near the towns of Manacor and Felanitx in the centre and to the east of the island, and the most prominent – DO Binissalem, which stretches from Inca to Palma.
Many wineries open their doors to offer fantastic guided tours – and tastings of gorgeous local foods as well as their star attraction wines.
Ten of the best vineyard tours of Mallorca
Why sample the wares of just one cellar when you can turn it into an adventure? Participating wineries under both DO Binissalem and DO Pla i Llevant work together to promote exciting wine tasting routes from cellar door to cellar door, as well as their own individual vineyard tours. The DO Binissalem wine route features 14 fabulous producers dotted across the centre of the island in Santa Maria del Camí, Consell, Binissalem, Sencelles and Santa Eugenia.
To give you a flavour of the wineries from both appellations, we’ve rounded up a few of our favourites.
- Bodegas Antonio Nadal
This major player in the Mallorcan hall of wine-growing fame, Bodegas Antonio Nadal opened in 1968, and in 1989 scored quite a coup – it was the first winery to produce wines so wonderful that they obtained the first DO Binssalem, and this family-run business is one the biggest producers. The must-taste wine: Tres Uvas 2012 – an elegant red wine that’ll knock your socks off. (Back in the 80s, the Tres Uvas Reserva 1989, won the coveted ‘Wine of the Decade Award).
- Macià Batle
Situated in Santa María del Camí, at Macià Batle, wine making really is an artform, and at this 150-year-old family-run bodega, even the labels on the bottles are the stuff of legend. Every year, the man at the helm, Ramón Servalls Batle, chooses a local artist to design his special edition labels, all of which you can also view on a tour.
- Vins Miquel Gelabert
Located in Manacor, Vins Miquel Gelabert is leading producer in Pla Llevant – and the man in question is a maestro when it comes to white wines, notably Sa Vall Selecció Privada – a magical blend of local Prensal blanc grapes, Muscat and Chardonnay. It’s a limited edition – and a bottle to be savoured. The reds and roses are not to be sniffed at either.
- Bodegas Biniagual
The sweet hamlet of Biniagual, is home to Bodegas Biniagual, and its team of internationally renowned wine makers. It is a leading eco producer whose viticulture practices are free from fertilisers. Of its many delicious wines, the Gran Verán, Seleccionado Bodega Biniagual, a red wine aged in oak barrels, is arguably one of the best.
- Es Fangar Vineyard
If you love horses, put this one top of your list. Es Fangar Vineyard, situated in Felanitx, is also a stud farm, famous for breeding Hanoverian horses. Even better for serious foodies, it’s a Biofinca, producing high quality olive oils in addition to its superb wines. A leading light in ecological cultivation, this winery specialises in purely locally- grown grape varieties.
- Pere Seda Vineyard
The largest winery in the Pla i Llevant region of Mallorca, Pere Seda Vineyard, situated in Manacor, has an enviable reputation as a leading producer representing the Balearic Islands on the world stage. It has won numerous Spanish and Intrenational wine awards for its elegant white, rosé, red and Crianza wines.
- Miquel Oliver Vineyard, Petra
Another award-winner, Miquel Oliver Vineyard in Petra is known for producing a unique range of elegant red, rose & white wines on its 100-year-old family run estate. Among the highlights are its white Muscat and its reds feature extraordinary blends of the local callet grapes with Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.
- Vi d’Auba Vineyard
A small but innovative winery, Vi d’Auba Vineyard, was set up in 2006 by four friends who share a passion for wine. Its cultivation of vineyards, which span just seven hectares, combine progressive modern practices with traditional techniques. The result – some stunning wines, notably its signature red – Black Picot’N, a rich red blend of Merlot, Syrah and Callet grapes that’s beautifully well-rounded. Its pale yellow Picot’B white wine is young, fresh and seriously fruity.
- Jose L. Ferrer Vineyard
The history of Mallorcan wines is a serious business at Jose L. Ferrer Vineyard – a leading producer in Binissalem. Founded in 1931, it offers charming vineyard tours designed to tell the story and rich tradition of wine production as well as the all-important tasting opportunities. Sample its home-grown reds made with local black Manto Negro and Callet grape varities and whites, some of which are blended with Chardonnay.
- Can Ramis Vineyard
Founded in 1870, the Can Ramis Vineyard is most celebrated for two of its most unique wines. It has a leading reputation as a specialist producer of Serral red wine, a deep and full-bodied wine made with manto negro, callet and syrah. And if you like your wine with a bit of fizz, you also love Goig Brut – the estates signature sparkling rosé wine.
Most of these vineyards offer tours that also include explanations of the wine-making process and can arrange bespoke tours for groups. And, in true Mallorcan style of hospitality, you’ll be treated to delicious food as well as a warm welcome.
And even if you’re just picking up a bottle from a supermarket or enjoying a casual lunch in a simple café, there is also a sizeable selection of good regional table wines, regulated under ‘Vi de la Terra’ labels -which translates as ‘semi-decent plonk’ to you or I!