Wine
Mallorca Regional Wine

Proof has been found of links between Mallorca and wine back in the 6th and 7th centuries BC: a period with which a multitude of drinking vessels and other clay recipients have been associated, used for trading wine in the Mediterranean. Nonetheless, it seems that vines were not introduced to the island and grown there until its occupation by the Romans. In 123 BC, the island was conquered by the Roman army under the orders of Quintus Caecilius Metellus, heralding the beginning of over one thousand years of Roman domination. During this period of Christian expansionism, wine came to play a unique role in Mallorca, with vine-growing and winemaking becoming two important activities. Indeed, in the 1st century BC, the Roman historian Pliny the Elder stated in his book Naturalis Historia “…Balearic wines can be compared with the finest Italian wines”. In the year 903, Mallorca was conquered by the Arabs, and a period of over three hundred years of Islamic rule began. Despite the prohibitions of the Koran, vine-growing continued, with sophisticated irrigation systems invented by the Arabs even being introduced. Data indicates that during this period, despite Arab rule, wine was still drunk. In September 1229, King Jaime I’s troops reincorporated Mallorca into the Christian world. One of the measures that the king took was to grant licences for vines to be grown in Bunyola, Campos, Felanitx, Manacor, Porreres and Valldemossa.

This return to vine-growing and winemaking transformed society by freeing it from the Islamic rule that wine could not be drunk. Between the 14th and 18th centuries, Mallorca was a prosperous wine producer, with winemaking representing one of the islanders’ main economic activities, giving rise, even in the early days, to substantial maritime trade with local wines. During the first half of the 19th century, the vines were affected by two plagues: first by aphids and then by oidium, which led to a reduction in the surface area dedicated to vine-growing. In contrast, the plague of phylloxera that swept across France in 1862 generated a big demand for grapes, must and wine by French winemakers. Vines were swiftly replanted in Mallorca and between 1865 and 1890 there was a golden age in vine-growing and winemaking.

There was so much trade from the ports of Palma, Portocolom and Alcudia to France that shipping companies were even created specializing exclusively in exporting wine. In 1891 phylloxera appeared in Mallorca, spreading rapidly and having a sudden, devastating effect on the island’s vines. Exports came to a halt and vine-growing on Mallorca suffered a terrible blow. As a result, the vines were mainly replaced by almonds, with wine production being reduced to just a limited amount that did not even meet the demand for local consumption, making it necessary to import wine from outside the island. In the early 20th century, vines were slowly reintroduced, although in the 1930s and 40s vine-growing faced another setback due to the Spanish Civil War and subsequent need to grow other agricultural crops. From the 1960s, with the emergence of tourism, the younger generation of many Mallorcan winemakers left the business (investing in hotels, catering and the building industry) and the consumption of mainland wines rose, primarily much cheaper wines that were sold by the litre. Despite all this, in Mallorca Regional Wine - Balearic Islands - Agrifoodstuffs, designations of origin and Balearic gastronomy the 1990s efforts to boost the sector were made by local vine-growers and winemakers, who strove particularly to improve the quality of the final product.

Thanks to the more lavish attention that was given to the vines and investment into technology by wineries, this was one of the Mallorcan wine trade’s finest moments. Nowadays Mallorcan wines have distinctive characteristics, high quality standards and an acknowledged personality that have aroused praise among experts. The island’s winemakers continue to strive to make Mallorca one of the most exclusive producers of fine wines. On April 13th 2007 an order was published by the Balearic Councillor for Agriculture and Fisheries recognizing and regulating the use of the geographical indication “Mallorca” for wines produced in Mallorca which are entitled to the traditional description “regional wines”.

The Geographical and Climatic Setting The area where grapes are grown, transformed into “Mallorcan regional wine” and bottled covers all Mallorca’s municipalities. Only wines that are bottled in the production area and made exclusively with grapes grown in Mallorca are allowed to use this description. Geographically, the island of Mallorca is organized into five areas: the Serra de Tramuntana mountains (with the highest peaks offering shelter from the northwest wind), El Raiguer, El Pla, the Serra de Llevant mountains (with lower peaks) and El Migjorn. The Mallorcan climate is typically Mediterranean, with very high temperatures in summer (over 30 ºC) and moderately low ones in winter (rarely falling below 5 ºC).

In the winter months, snow usually falls on the highest slopes of the Serra de Tramuntana mountains. Generally speaking, the level of humidity is very high. The island’s rainfall, which tends to be accompanied by storms, is mainly concentrated in the autumn months.

Grape Varieties

Reds: Callet, Manto Negro, Cabernet Sauvignon, Fogoneu, Merlot, Monastrell, Syrah, Tempranillo, Pinot Noir and Gorgollassa.

Whites: Prensal (Moll), Chardonnay, Macabeo, Malvasía, Alexandria Muscatel, Muscat de Frontignan, Parellada, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier and Giró ros. 

 

Characteristics Wines The wines identified as “Mallorcan regional wines” are clear wines with marked aromas that identify the grape varieties with which they are made.

The whites range from pale yellow to golden in colour. They are aromatic with predominant aromas of fruit and/or flowers, with a well-balanced, fresh, full flavour. The rosés range from pale pink to orangey pink. They are bright and transparent with predominant primary aromas.

The reds are dark and rich in tannins, with a strong aroma characterized by the presence of red fruit. In the mouth, they are full bodied and well balanced.

 

Minimum alcohol content: White wines 10.5º

Rosé wines 11.0º

Red wines 11.5º

 

System of Control All bottles described as “Mallorcan regional wine” must have an official control number issued by the Directorate General of Rural and Marine, the body responsible for controlling and certifying “Mallorcan regional wines”.

Mallorca Regional Wine - Balearic Islands - Agrifoodstuffs, designations of origin and Balearic gastronomy
Production data

Year 2016

Surface area covered by vines: 740 hectares

Wineries: 45

Wine production: 26.584 hl

Consell Regulador Vi de la terra Mallorca
C. Marià Aguiló, 3 07200 Felanitx
Tel. Tel. 971 16 85 69
Fax: Fax. 971 16 85 69

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