Saturday, March 14, 2009

2007 Vinyes I Vins CA SA Padrina González-Suñer Mantonegro Binissalem-Mallorca Spain

2007 Vinyes I Vins CA SA Padrina González-Suñer Mantonegro Binissalem-Mallorca Spain
Suggested retail price $16-$19
A Jose Pastor Selection imported by Vinos & Gourmet, Inc. and distributed by David Bowler Wines in NYC

Mallorca (or Majorca in English) is the biggest Spanish island of the Balearic Island archipelago, located in the Mediterranean Sea, east of Spain.

Mallorca is more well known for its beaches and other touristic sights, than for its wines. In fact, vines were mostly planted by the Romans around 120 BC and have always been cultivated on this island for the last 2000+ years, as well as Olive trees, fruit trees and salt mines, but the Phyloxera ravaged most of the vineyards in the late 19th century.

The two world wars and the Spanish civil war at the beginning of the 20th century corresponded to a dark era for the island. However, the 50s marked the beginning of a new era of hope and re-adaptation, with new building projects and diverse investments adapted to face an increasing new wave of tourists coming in mass from Spain and all over Europe and north Africa.

A few adventurous pioneers started to replant some vines in the 60s and the 70s, but due to the ever increasing number of tourists as well as the local population, the price of the land also increased, the high demand for the real-estate market drove the house and apartment prices up, making more difficult for new comers and winemakers to invest or to plant.

Thus, compared to the many producers and the 70,000+ acres of pre-Phyloxera vines in 1860, nowadays Mallorca counts about 30 wineries and only encompasses about 2,500 acres of vineyards, mainly squeezed in two DO (Denominación de Origen): Binissalem, in the center of the island, and Pla i Llevant in the eastern part of the island. If a wine is produced outside of the two DO, it is designated as Viña de la Tierra.

Mantonegro is the name of this wine produced by Gonzales-Suñer at CA SA Padrina, but it also the name of the main grape variety of this wine. The winery is located in the DO Binissalem-Mallorca, in the mountainous village of Sencelles (Sencellas), central Mallorca.

CA SA Padrina winery was founded in 1999 by biologist and winegrower Suñer Andreu and the physician and winemaker Jesus Gonzalez. This Mantonegro is their first wine and was first produced and marketed in 2002. They possess 9 hectares of vineyards, planted in sandy soils covered of pebbles. This type of soils originates from the Tertiary era, and is very common in the center of the island.

Their goal is to produce quality, balanced wines highlighting the fruit with minimal oak influenced, made predominantly with indigenous grapes (like Mantonegro and Callet for the red, and Moll, also known as Prensal Blanc, for the white), sometimes blend with more international grapes varieties.

The production is carefully controlled in the vineyard and in the cellar. Low yield adjusted to 2.5 kilos per vines allows to keep only the best bunches, the harvest is done 80% manually. The different varieties are vinified separately, then fermented in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks prior to blending and ageing, which takes place in French, American, Hungarian and Bulgarian oak barrels (10% new to allow minimal oak influenced).

I loved the dark, spicy and earthy attitude of this wine. It is my second experience tasting a wine from Mallorca. I first tasted, liked and used to sell 2003 Son Bordils Negre a few years ago (I need to admit that it was slightly overripe, rustic and tannic, but I still liked it for what it was and where it came from). Gonzales-Suñer Mantonegro is a juicier and much more polished wine.

2007 Vinyes I Vins CA SA Padrina Gonzales-Suñer Mantonegro Binissalem-Mallorca is made of predominantly Mantonegro grapes (75%) blended with a good dose of Callet completed by a small addition of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah (25%). The robe is bright, clean and crimson red. The nose expresses attractive aromas of raspberry, strawberry and red cherry accentuated by fresh, mineral, earthy, spicy notes and floral hints. The attack is juicy and concentrated with refreshing ripe red berry flavors. The mid-palate expands gently and boasts layers of flavors balanced by a great acidity. Ripe red berry, spice, minerals and earthy yet integrated tannins constitute the main components of the lingering, focus finish.

Overall, it is a very enjoyable juicy, earthy wine, less ripe and higher in acidity than I thought, probably due to high elevation vineyards benefiting from a medium to good average of rain fall a year, slightly higher than on the plains, despite the hot Mediterranean climate. To discover ASAP. Pair it with grilled red meat and cheeses.


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