Wine
Serra de Tramuntana-Costa Nord regional wines

 

The area where grapes are produced and wine is made with the Serra de Tramuntana - Costa Nord regional wines indication comprises 18 municipalities in the northwest of Mallorca, between Cape Formentor and the southwest coast of Andratx.

 

Grape growing and winemaking in the Serra de Tramuntana - Costa Nord area (Tramuntana mountains and north coast of Mallorca) possibly began when Roman settlements were created on the island of Mallorca. We should highlight the vinicultural activities of the Roman city of Pollentia, where considerable efforts to produce wine were made by the Romans. Holes can still be found in the sandstone ground which they excavated and then filled with reddish earth for planting vines in. We should mention that in the 14th century, when King Martí I exempted wine made in the municipality of Alcúdia from the payment of taxes, vines became the municipality's sole crop. As a result, not only were these wines sold on the island but a considerable maritime wine trade began.

 

There is a special tradition of making wines with Malvasia grapes. The first vines of this variety of grape might have reached the area in around the 15th or 16th centuries, most likely from Italy. Archduke Louis Salvator refers to the cultivation of Malvasia grapes, and this type of wine was highly considered for use on royal or episcopal tables, without forgetting its presence on tables of wealthy Mallorcans in former centuries. This is a wine that has been praised by writers and poets, including María Antònia Salvà. The 19th century was the golden age of the area's vine-growing and winemaking business.

 

There are records from the period of the municipality of Pollença alone having over 400 hectares of vines. In 1862 the disease philoxera appeared in France, a leading producer and consumer of wine. As a result the country was forced to important huge quantities of wine. Together with the Mallorcan wines' reasonable prices and the ease with which they could be sold for consumption by French markets, this led to a big increase in the number of vines grown locally. During this period large amounts of wine from the area were exported to France from the ports of Alcudia and Palma. In 1891 philoxera made an appearance in the area, killing off the local vines. The disease, plus incentives to pull up large quantities of vines in exchange for EU subsidies, has greatly hindered the recovery of the vinicultural business. Despite this, in the 1990s vine growers and wine producers from the area revived the sector. Thanks to their efforts and the area's geographical and climatic conditions, wines have been achieved with unique characteristics that are acknowledged and highly considered by experts.

 

In 2002, following a legal order issued by the Regional Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries on February 11th, the use of the Serra de Tramuntana - Costa Nord regional wines indication was regulated. Finally, the Order of November 29th 2005, adds some new parameters to the regulation.

 

The Geographical and Climatic Framework

 

The Tramuntana mountain range is formed by three overlapping folds, composed of Jurassic limestone, Triassic loams and Miocene limestone and loams. The soils are brown or chalky brown in colour. The Tramuntana mountain range and north coast determine Serra de Tramuntana-Costa Nord regional wines - Balearic Islands - Agrifoodstuffs, designations of origin and Balearic gastronomy the physical characteristics of the locality and, in turn, they also lend their name to this vinicultural area.

 

Both parts are characterized by a contrast between the mountains, rising to an altitude of over 1,000 metres, and the valleys lying between them. Due to these geographical features, the grapes can be grown in a separate microclimate, with rains concentrated in the autumn and winter months and moderate temperatures in the summer.

 

Condition of production

 

To produce "Serra de Tramuntana-Costa Nord" Regional wines, only the following varieties of grapes may be cultivated:

Reds: Cabernet sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Monestrell, Ull de Llebre, Callet, Manto Negro.

 

Whites:  Malvasia, Moscatell de Alejandria, Moscatell de grano menudo, Moll, Parellada, Macabeo, Chardonnay, Sauvignon blanc.

 

Traditional growing techniques are used, which tend to achieve better quality grapes, and the density of plantations is restricted to 5,500 vines/hectare. When pruning the vines, the maximum number of fruiting shoots is 33,000 per hectare. And the maximum production per hectare is 9,000 kg.

 

The grapes are harvested with extreme care and, to produce these Regional wines, only healthy grapes are used with the correct degree of ripeness and a minimum natural volumetric alcohol content of 12% for white varieties and 12.5% for red ones. Referring to wine production, the grape must is produced using traditional techniques applied to modern technology, directed at improving the quality of the wines. The correct pressure is applied to extract the juice and separate the residue, so that production does not rise above 70 litres of wine per 100 kg of harvested grapes.

 

The Wines' Characteristics

 

Particularly worth mentioning are the single-variety whites made of Malvasia or Chardonnay grapes. The Malvasia wines are characterized by their aromatic potential, with a predominance of fruit and hints of pear and melon. They are dry, fresh, consistent wines with a certain complexity and good structure. The Chardonnay wines are aromatic, with hints of tropical fruit. In the mouth they are pleasant and well balanced with a long, persistent finish. As for the reds, we should point out that traditionally local wine producers have specialized in wines made from a single variety of grape, using fine vines like the Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot vines. The reds have a very intense colour, with strong tannins, and they are wines suitable for aging. They give off perfumed aromas reminiscent of plums and ripe cherries, with a hint of fig or raisin.

 

Minimum alcohol content

White wine 12.0º Rosé wine 12.5º Red wine 12.5º

 

They are required to have a total minimum acidity of 4.5 g/litre of tartaric acid, with a volatile acidity no higher than 0.8 g/litre, expressed as acetic acid.

 

The Control System

 

All bottles bearing the Serra de Tramuntana - Costa Nord geographical indication are commercialized with an official control number allocated by the Directorate General of Rural and Marine, which is responsible for the control and certification of Serra de Tramuntana - Costa Nord regional wines.

Serra de Tramuntana-Costa Nord regional wines - Balearic Islands - Agrifoodstuffs, designations of origin and Balearic gastronomy
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