The white wine shimmers hazily in the glass when sommelier Josep Avellà takes the first sip: “Some organic wines are not filtered,” he explains, keeping an eye on the wine. “That’s why there are residues in the bottle.” In front of Josep, gathered around a table, the first impatient ones are already waiting to taste Mallorcan organic wines and learn more about their secrets.
Josep is originally a qualified archaeologist. While searching for ancient traces in French soils, he turned his passion for wine into a profession and started trading. Now, he specializes in the distribution of ecologically produced wines and organises wine tastings.
Organic farming is growing worldwide and is no longer just a trend. In the Nordic countries of the EU, in particular, an organic share of 10% of total production is no longer an exception. And this development also applies to wine production. But what exactly is the appeal of organic viticulture?
“For industrially produced wines, the list of chemical additives is enormous. Without these additives, it is difficult to maintain high efficiency and to produce a consistently tasting wine every year. And supposedly many consumers want exactly that.” However, Josep believes that the origin of the wine is denied that way and the actual taste that the soil would produce is suppressed.
He likes to talk about the fact that every wine has a life of its own, and the soil it comes from gives the grape its nutrients. He was probably influenced by his time as an archaeologist, always treating the ground with care and respect. “You should be able to taste where the wine came from. It must have its own character, its ‘tipicité’, its uniqueness. The wine should be made in the vineyard, not in the bodega.”
To find a wine whose ‘tipicité’ is not produced in the laboratory is luckily not particularly difficult in Mallorca. Many of the wineries produce organically or offer a range of organic wines. Often, however, they cannot be certified, as this would mean additional costs and less flexibility – if you happen to have a bad year, you can “cheat” a little bit with chemicals.
In Porreres, we can find the best performers, so to speak: the only two wineries in Mallorca that engage in a biodynamic agriculture and are certified by Demeter. This type of agriculture is even more stringent than organic farming standardized by the EU. The production and preservation of a biological balance are paramount for a biodynamic farm. Herbicides and pesticides, as well as mineral fertilizers, are largely banned.
Seven is a lucky number for Barbara Mesquida at the Mesquida Mora Wine Cellar, as this is the number of vinyards she operates – a special wine for every day of the week! […] Mesquida Mora Wine Cellar
Bàrbara Mesquida Mora, from the Mesquida Mora winery, talks about the beginnings and the motivation behind her decision to become biodynamic and face the Demeter audit.
“When I took over the farm almost 15 years ago, the soil was almost dead. The plants were constantly sick, and we had to work a lot with pesticides. At that time, I realized that we should not hand our land over to the next generation like that. I want to leave a healthy and fertile land to my child. Today, it is a joy and a sign that I have taken the right path when I find a bunch of bustling earthworms in a scoop of earth.”
The winery Can Feliu has worked biodynamically since 2010 and regularly wins awards for its wines. Just like Mesquida Mora, Can Feliu fully supports organic farming and sees the future of wine production in using more Mallorcan grape varieties.” Wine producing is a very competitive market. The local grape varieties help us to position ourselves in the market. Unfortunately, we cannot work 100% with Mallorcan grapes as they bring along certain limitations, such as in colour or body,” Joan Feliu explains about his attitude towards the local grapes.
The government also appears interested in preserving and promoting the Mallorcan grape varieties. Just this year, the Balearic Ministry of Environment, Agriculture and Fisheries published a catalogue of the currently known autochthonous grape varieties with a comprehensive description (‘Varietats de vinya de les Illes Baleras’, 2017, Conselleria de Medi Ambient, Agricultura i Pesca).
“Back to the roots” – organic farming and autochthonous grape varieties – seems to be a trend, which goes hand in hand with advantages for the common wine connoisseur. Those who want to try the wines themselves and learn something about the history of their wineries, are cordially invited by Bàrbara Mesquida Mora and Joan Feliu.
More about Can Feliu
Eco-hotelier and organic winemaker Carlos Feliu creates certified organic wine for individual wine buyers at the Can Feliu Wine Cellar in Porreres, Mallorca. […] Can Feliu Wine Cellar
More about Wine Mallorca
Wine and the Med go together like bees and honey. Find out all you need to know for enjoying the nectar of the Gods on Mallorca here. […] Wine Mallorca