Balearic Island Wine

by Neil Morris

The climate of the Mediterranean is perfect for growing wine and it is no surprise to learn that wine has been produced in the Balearics since 121 B.C. The original vines were cultivated by the Romans and the wine produced in Mallorca was amongst the very best in Europe during that time.

The mass production of wine reached a peak between 1865 and 1890 when the phylloxera disease destroyed production in France and the demand for imported wine from Spain increased significantly. The disease eventually hit the islands in 1891 causing major economical hardship that provoked mass emigration form the affected areas.

It was nearly 80 years before a major revival in quality wine production began on the islands; signalling a new golden era of cultivation that has become an obsession for the new breed of wine makers. Mallorca is home to the two DO's of the islands and wine making here is a passionate affair, resulting in confident wines that are growing in stature and reputation across Europe and beyond.

The red grape varieties used on the Islands include Manto negro, Callet, Tempranillo, Monastrell, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Merlot. Manto negro is the most popular variety and its distinctive character is present in at least 30% of the wines produced.

White varieties used are Moll (Prensal Blanc), Macabeo, Parellada, Chardonnay and Moscatel. Moll is the native variety and is used for white and sparkling wines; these wines must contain at least 50% of the grape.

Denominaciónes de Origen

pl i llevant

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