A mineral-driven, medium-bodied red wine loaded with black fruit and floral aromas. The finish intermixes smoky tannins and Mediterranean herbs which linger on the palate.
It’s fair to say that the new generation of wine producers on the Balearic’s largest island, Mallorca, is making an impact. Enter Tomeu Llabrés, working in self-described viticultura en miniatura, and his visionary work with the indigenous Montenegro grape at Ca’n Verdura Viticultores. In 2012 he founded his micro-winery in a former auto garage at the center of the ancient village of Binissalem, located in the north-central portion of Mallorca. Through a steadfast focus on the Montenegro grape, Tomeu has demonstrated that this ancient variety has incredible potential, creating some of the Balearic region’s most ground-breaking wines. In recent tastings, Montenegro has drawn flavor comparisons to another island grape native to Italy, Nerello Mascalese. Placing indigenous grapes in context can be tricky. Still, there certainly seems to be a similar renaissance of native varieties in Mallorca, and one can draw comparisons to what’s occurring in Sicily.
Tomeu Llabrés is a viticultor, practicing minimal intervention winemaking and low impact viticulture by leaving the cover crop during the cold season and encouraging biodiversity within his parcels and environment through polyculture. His wines are handmade, without additions, subtractions, or corrections. His primary objective with each cuvée is maximum respect and transparency for his terroir and culture, as well as for the customers who enjoy his wine.
Tomeu and Ca’n Verdura’s ancestral origins can be traced back at least six generations. His family cultivated Binissalem vineyards between "possessions" (large agricultural farms) in mixed-agriculture vineyards where grapes share space with other local crops such as apricot, almond, and olive trees. This type of polyculture is traditional to Mallorca and favored by Tomeu.
Following this tradition, Ca’n Verdura focuses on old-vine vineyards planted in the traditional en vaso (or goblet) vine training system, with reliance on the indigenous Montenegro and Callet for red wines, as well as Moll (a.k.a. Prensal Blanc), Mantonegro Cabellis, and Giró Ros for the white wines of Binissalem. Like other small projects on the island, international varieties are relied upon in small quantities for practical reasons in entry-level blends. Still, the future of plantings is clearly indigenous varieties. The soil of Binissalem is the excellent call vermell: a red, iron-rich clay, limestone soil with small to medium-sized galets. He works solely with old vineyards centered around the five historic villages of Binissalem.
Spanish red wine is known for being bold, heady, rustic and age-worthy, Spain is truly a one-of-a-kind wine-producing nation. A great majority of the country is hot, arid and drought-ridden, and since irrigation has only been recently introduced and (controversially) accepted, viticulture has sustained—and flourished—only through a great understanding of Spain’s particular conditions. Large spacing between vines allows each enough resources to survive and as a result, the country has the most acreage under vine compared to any other country, but is usually third in production.
Of the Spanish red wines, the most planted and respected grape variety is Tempranillo, the star of Spain’s Rioja and Ribera del Duero regions. Priorat specializes in bold red blends, Jumilla has gained global recognition for its single varietal Monastrell and Utiel-Requena has garnered recent attention for its reds made of Bobal.