Just forget everything you’ve ever imagined a Mallorcan bodega would be. At least if you take a trip to the Can Axartell winery, just a few kilometres south of Pollensa.
Instead of trendy natural stone walls entwined by vines, the visitor is looking at a 20-metre-high façade of glass and steel, perfectly integrated into a stone quarry hewn into the mountain. Should the James Bond producers be looking out for a futuristic as well as extravagant location any time soon, they can find it in Can Axartell.
The family of the former German cosmetics entrepreneur Hans-Peter Schwarzkopf had the rather unusual idea of building a bodega where, in the past century, lime and sand had been hewn out of the mountain to make cement. “In search of an old Mallorcan country estate as an island abode, we stumbled upon this approximately 200 hectare and largely dormant property called Can Axartell at the end of the nineties,” recalls Schwarzkopf. After the restoration of the residential building, which had become a ruin, the entrepreneur wondered what to do with the rest of the property.
“Why not produce wine?” was the answer at some point. “The conditions were ideal after all,” says Hans-Peter Schwarzkopf. In addition to the barren soils, with the perfect mineral content for growing vines, the quarry is used for the vinification and storage of the wines. “Inside the mountain the temperature is at 16 to 18 degrees throughout the entire year. There is no cooling system more natural,” Scharzkopf explains.
The wine of Can Axartell, however, should above all fulfil one condition. “It should be based on 100% organic cultivation,” says Hans-Peter Schwarzkopf, who – like his wife – is a passionate wine-lover, but didn’t have a clue about the production to start with. With the support of some experts in winemaking, a team of 5 people was put together to start the cultivation of the first vines 16 years ago.
He also obtained a scientific backup from the Balearic University. “In Can Axartell, we use only island-proven grape varieties such as Merlot, Syrah, Pinot Noir, Callet, Manto Negro, Giro, Premsal, Malvasia and Muscatell.”
In addition, on an approximately three-hectare testing ground the winery grows old, almost forgotten autochthonous grapes. “With the help of the university in Palma, we will try to use these varieties for the production of our wines in the foreseeable future,” explains Schwarzkopf.
Apart from the ecological cultivation, the bodega uses a gravitation-based production process which is unique on the island. Instead of mechanical pumps, grapes as well as mashes exclusively follow the natural gravitational force on their way through the vinification. “The results are the finest and most unadulterated flavour nuances.”
The project, however, in which his family has already invested several million euros, is by no means an expression of too much boredom during pension years. “Can Axartell is supposed to make some profits eventually. Profitability was the premise from the start when we built the bodega here,” says Hans-Peter Schwarzkopf.
Based on the motto “Class instead of mass”, the winery recently started selling four wines on the island: two red wines, a rosé, and one white wine, which can be found in various gourmet stores as well as in several hotels and restaurants in the north of the island.
By buying additional vine-growing acreage near Vilafranca, the bodega will have a total of between 55 and 60 hectares of vines available next year. The production volume targeted by Schwarzkopf in 2022 is about 400,000 litres per year.
“We will never be able to serve supermarket chains. We are more concerned with offering high-quality wines in the Balearic Islands and other selected markets – ecological wines – which must be able to do one thing,” says Hans-Peter Schwarzkopf. “To taste excellent.”
Vinos elaborados por Can Axartell
As said, the Winery Can Axartell offers four exceptional wines of the highest quality:
‘Blanco 2015’ is a white wine, with a fresh and intense aroma from the fruity notes of the different grape varieties. In addition to the apple notes of the Prensal grape, you will also find a tropical touch of Malvasia, as well as the citrus fragrances of the ‘Muscat à petits grains’ grape.
The ‘Rosé 2015’ seduces at first sight thanks to its shiny, pale red, and transparent colour. Its aroma is a combination of fresh fruits and white blossoms. It is produced from the grapes Pinot Noir and Syrah, which were harvested only after optimum maturity.
The red wine ‘Tinto Uno 2013’ is the result of a mixture of young and fresh wines with a proportion of barrel aged wine. Its aromas include the vanilla nuances of the Merlot grape and the ripe fruit and jam of the other varieties Syrah, Callet, and Pinot Noir.
The red wine ‘Tinto Dos 2013’ was stored for more than 12 months in the bodega’s best oak barrels before bottling. Among its aromas are elegant notes of wood and plums, which uniquely mix with the fruitiness of the grapes.
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