Thursday, August 23, 2007

Please Bring Me My Wine

Wine. Ah yes, relaxing on the terrace, a chilled white in hand, the sun over the yard-arm. Or an evening of sampling the fare of an especialista en carnes with a fine vino tinto. Think Spain, think a vanilla-flavoured Rioja, an aroma of blackcurrant, or something or other. Mallorca has its own wine industry with local grapes and the universal Chardonnay, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Much of the island’s wine industry is centred on the town of Binissalem near to Inca, and towards the end of September there is the annual Vermar fiesta to celebrate the harvest. There are some very good local wines, the best being in the “reserva” class. The everyday plonk is not much cop, to be frank.

Go into a supermarket here, and you will find rows of Spanish and Mallorcan wines. Prices for these are rarely that good, for anything drinkable that is. A reasonable red will set you back around 6 euros, but it won’t be brilliant. Making a comparison with the shelf-loads of wines in a British supermarket - usually excellent and often at a similar price (in pounds) - and there is no comparison.

One reason is that supermarkets sell only Spanish and Mallorcan wines. Tourist supermarkets may offer some New World or French, but the main supermarket chains seem immune to the notion of a free market. Buying wine in supermarkets can, therefore, be quite disappointing here, surprising perhaps as wine is a staple. Look for a decent white wine in a supermarket, and you’ll be hard pressed. One of the more palatable, at a good price, is the Torres Viña Sol, 4.65 euros at Eroski (and avoid the tourist supermarkets - at the Boulevard DIY “hypermarket” in Playa de Muro for instance, it’s a whole 40% more expensive at 6.50). But even this is hardly nectar. Otherwise ...

To get some superior quality, it can be worthwhile hunting down a bodega and buying direct. Close to Pollensa, for example, there is the Can Vidalet bodega which does a very decent Blanc de Blanc (which is a Chardonnay blend). A bit pricier at 7.50 a bottle, but it’s worth it.

So, here’s a first for the blog - BODEGA OF THE WEEK - CAN VIDALET

Where: Ctra. Alcúdia-Pollensa PMV-220-I, km. 4.85, Pollensa (take the Alcúdia road from the cockerel roundabout coming into Pollensa).

What: Reds (Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon), whites (Chardonnay, Blanc de Blanc and Blanc de Negre) and rosés (Chardonnay).

When: Monday to Friday 09:00-13:00 / 14:00-18:00.

Who: Vintner Klaus Knebel and marketing director Sarah Trappe.

Why: Apart from the excellent wines, there are different wine-tastings and tours at the bodega’s marvellous location in the countryside outside Pollensa in the shadow of the Puig María.

Is there a website? Yes: Online orders can be made.

Yesterday - James T. Kirk he was, and he was a legend, but he didn’t just murder “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds”, he hung, drew and quartered it. Today - this is a line from another famous song. It continues - “He said. We haven’t had that spirit here since 1969”. Group and song?


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