Wine to me is something that brings people together. Wine does promote conversation and promote civility, but it’s also fascinating. It’s the greatest subject to study. No matter how much you learn, every vintage is going to come at you with different factors that make you have to think again. ~Robert M. Parker, Jr.
As I mentioned in my last post, I had the privilege of meeting a new friend. Emily is a fascinating person who has had a lot of unique experiences. We met at a restaurant where I saw her nerding out over a bottle of wine I’d never heard of before, as a fellow wine nerd I had to ask her about the wine she was drinking.
This wine was one of the most unique white wines I’ve ever tasted, it was appropriate that I came to try this wine by meeting one of the most unique people I’ve ever met.
This wine is from the island of Majorca. Majorca is one of the Balearic Islands, and has become a great wine producer of Spain. This wine is a blend of Premsal, Callet, and Muscat. I won’t lie I had to do some research on these grapes. Essentially after hours of pouring over each of my wine books and searching the internet, here is what I can tell you about Premsal it is sometimes referred to as Prensal Blanc or Moll. It is widely produced in Mallorca because of it is indigenous to the region and its ability to withstand high heat, much like the Malvasia in Greece or the Trebbiano in Italy and France (known there as Ugni Blanc). As for Callet, it was even harder to find info on this grape. Mainly from what I can tell by my limited research and the photos I can find it appears to most resemble the Garnacha Tinta well-known all over Spain. Muscat is much more well-known and
Aside from the incredibly unique grapes, this wine has an incredibly unique profile. This beautiful white wine has a rich full, heavy weighted body much like a California Chardonnay. It smells of peaches, pears, moss, and sea air. The flavor of the wine is bright and well balanced with an earthy and sulfuric finish. The sulfur comes about because of the lack of oxygen it receives during fermentation and aging. This wine is partly aged in cement vats, but mostly aged in stainless steel on lees and dry ice is administered (a process that minimizes the oxidation in the wine).
In wine, oxidation is often viewed as a bad thing, however, there is a proper amount of oxidation that needs to occur during the aging process. This need for controlled oxidation is why so many wine makers use porous vessels such as oak barrels. When the right amount of oxidation occurs this process is called reduction. Reduction removes the sulfuric acidity and condenses the juice in a way that brings out the complex flavors of the grape and the terroir.
This was the first time I’ve ever tasted a wine where the lack of reduction wasn’t completely unpleasant in the wine. It created what I refer to as a pleasant skunkiness or pleasant funk… much in the same way that Roquefort blue cheese is pleasantly funky. The wine also had a briny sea salt flavor. The minerality of the wine was undeniable despite the heavy peach and pear flavors. I can truly say this wine and meeting Emily and hearing about her adventures in Mallorca sparked a desire in me to visit a place of which, just minutes before, I’d never heard.
My experience with this wine conjured up images of sea ports, beaches, mountains, and the beautifully warm sun beating down. This is why I love wine. In this moment, I meet a woman who is in love with this wine and explains that it reminds her of a place she loves, and I have never heard of this place before tasting it and can somehow imagine her
experience based on the taste. Then later hearing of her experience living there, my visions are confirmed by story after story. Wine is the story within a bottle that allows me to travel the world through my tastebuds, and people have the experiences that go with these stories to fill out the pictures of my imagination.