The New Son Alegre Wine Cellar

Camp den Ventura-Vats

We have recently established our own bodega (wine cellar). Since the harvest in August 2015 we have been vinifying, fermenting and creating our Son Alegre organic wines in our own wine cellar, which we share with our sister company Camp d’en Ventura in Calonge (Santanyí).

We have had ultra-modern stainless steel tanks built to order for us with a capacity of 1250, 1800, 2150 and 3500 litres. The vats are equipped with individual internal temperature control systems. The grape harvest at Son Alegre is always performed manually. At the new wine cellar, the grapes were carefully selected by hand, before being pressed by hydraulic means and stored in separate tanks, according to grape variety and location.

Bodega Son Alegre_04

We continue to benefit from the expertise of our good friend Luis Armero González from Bodega Armero i Adrover in Felanitx, who is the oenologist for all our Son Alegre organic wines. Luis Armero is considered to be one of the pioneers of contemporary Mallorcan wine. His work and his wines are always subject to environmental considerations.

Our collaboration with Luis Armero began in 2008 and we are proud of the wines that we have since brought to the market with his help. We are very grateful to Luis for the tireless work and enthusiasm that he has dedicated to our wines so far, as well as for his commitment and passion.

Bodega Son Alegre_03

Our new white wine Es Faralló 2015 and our new rosé wine Roca Fesa 2015 should be ready for consumption any time soon and will be bottled before long; they are both expected to come to the market by the end of March or the beginning of April 2016.

Our new red wine Tricentenari 2014 should also come to the market soon. This wine was elaborated at the bodega of Armero i Adrover in Felanitx, with a fermentation process of 6 months in stainless steel tanks, an ageing period of 6 months in French oak barrels and a resting phase of 9 months in the bottle.

Bodega Son Alegre_02

Salut.

Participating in the Nit del Vi in Palma

Nit del vi 1

Last night, we had the great pleasure and honour of introducing our two new 2014 wines, Cocó Barber white and S’Aragall Blau rosé, to the public in Palma de Mallorca. It was the first time ever that we participated in a trade event in our island capital.

White_rose_3m

The occasion was the 9th Nit del Vi, an annual presentation of great wines from small vineyards, organized by Petits Cellers and Wines of Mallorca.

Nit del vi 2

We joined another 32 bodegas from all over the island offering tastings of some 160 wines from recent vintages. Our wines are the only ones from the region of Santanyí.

Nit del vi 4

Our two new wines were well received by a well informed public from Mallorca, the Spanish mainland and also a surprisingly large number of visitors from an international background, such as Germany, the UK, Scandinavia and even New Zealand, to name but a few.

Nit del vi 3

We shared a table with Luis Armero from Armero i Adrover in Felanitx but we might have our own stall this time next year. We’ll see.

Thank you, Luis.

Looking At A Year With 13 Moons

moon phases

Mallorca is pretty much a community governed by the moon, in literature, poetry, culture, mysticism, mythology and, of course, in agricultural traditions. At least this is true for the olden days. In Mallorcan heraldry, the moon, or rather the half moon, can be found in many a coat of arms of Mallorcan families. Ramon Llull for instance had one half moon in his family heraldry, the Verí family has three half moons in theirs, the Berga family has five half moons, the Burgues clan even has a crest with 10 half moons.

The spectacle of the sky overwhelms me. I’m overwhelmed when I see, in an immense sky, the crescent of the moon, or the sun.

Joan Miró, artist (1893 – 1983)

Any normal year has 12 moon cycles, one for every month but, every now and then, there are exceptions. Occasionally, we get a blue moon, a 13th full moon, one month of the year with two full moons. 2015 is such a year with 13 moons. This year, we will see two full moons during the month of July (2nd and 31st).

At Son Alegre, we take the Lunar calendar or rather, the Lunar phases as a guide to our Nature-based approach to agriculture. We have always observed the Lunar cycles, just the way our ancestors have done when it came to the tending of their land or the breeding of their animals. One might say that, traditionally, the Mallorcan farmers’ lives were governed by the moon much more than the sun.

At Son Alegre, we have chosen to respect these proven traditions and thus, we approach agriculture by following the Lunar phases and the stars’ constellations. For better or for worse, we believe that the weather patterns are shaped by the moon, the wind and the elements. We act on our convictions by respecting Nature’s energy.

Traditionally, the grape harvest is related to the cycles of the moon. For instance, the fortnight between the New Moon and the Full Moon in January is the time to prune the previous year’s vines back to the woody-stemmed plant. Our vendimia, the grape harvest, usually starts with the New Moon in August. Ever since we started our activities at Son Alegre, we have been guided by the Lunar calendar and, so far, we have been rewarded with good results. It may not be perfect every year but it has so far always been true to the land.

vines Son Alegre Mallorca

When it comes to wine making you might argue that all the wineries in Mallorca are working with the same components. Basically, they all work with the same grape varieties; the soil on which the vines grow can’t be all that different from one to another and surely, the climate should be the same on such a small island. And as far as the moon is concerned, clearly the same moon governs the south of the island as she does the west or the north. In a year with 13 moons, every single vineyard on the island should be influenced by this phenomenon just the same, shouldn’t it?

Well, think again.

It will surely all depend on what you deal with and then, how you deal with it all. For a start, the soil is not the same all over the island just as the geological composure is not the same throughout the island’s regions. Even within the same region, one can find soil formations which differ vastly from other ones across the street or round the corner. As for the climate, the wind or the weather, it all depends on where your land is situated, a bit higher up in altitude, a bit closer to the coast or the sea, south facing or not, in a sheltered valley perhaps or on the edge of a salt marsh. The components between one Mallorcan vineyard and the next can vary a hundredfold.

As for the question of how to deal with what you are given to start with, it all depends on your approach. You might elect to give up ploughing, as we have done, or refrain from fertilizing your land with commercial manure or compost like we do. You might aim for an organic way of producing your grapes or even set your sights on an approach by biodynamic principles as we do. We firmly believe that you get out of your land exactly what you give to it and we are convinced that Nature always knows best, at least in the long run.

raindrops Son Alegre Mallorca

We are proud of our work and we are grateful to Nature in general and to the moon in particular. If this year we have 13 reasons to be grateful for the moon’s cycles, we shall be happy to express our gratitude thirteen times. Thank you.

Picking The Merlot Grapes

Merlot

For the last two days, we have been busy picking our Merlot grapes at Vinya Son Alegre. This is a blue grape variety. Wine made from the Merlot grape is characterized by its fineness and softness while being aromatic and almost meaty. The Merlot grape comes with a cylindrical bunch of small, sparse berries. Their grain is small and thick-skinned, with a blue-black color, and the pulp is sweet. This grape belongs to the same family as the Cabernet Sauvignon variety. Today I will leave you with a picture where you can see how the Merlot grapes are being selected before going to be pressed.

Merlot selection

Introducing The Chardonnay Grape

Son Alegre Chardonnay

The Chardonnay grape is widely distributed amongst Mallorca’s vineyards. This grape variety is probably the world’s most popular white wine grape and it is grown in virtually every wine-producing region. Even though this white grape is not autochthonous to Mallorca, it was certainly grown here successfully in 1870-80 when the Austrian Archduke Luis Salvator wrote his treatise, Die Balearen, listing the Chardonnay grape together with 38 other grape varieties grown here in the Illes Balears.

Son Alegre Malvasía

The Chardonnay grape in general produces wines which are dry to medium dry with pear, apple, tropical or citrus fruit flavours. When little to no oak aging occurs, Chardonnay tends to be more crisp and fresh. With extensive oak aging, the wines become creamy and buttery with vanilla, spice and oak flavors. Our two Son Alegre white wines, Sa Cala and Picarol Blanc, are made with Chardonnay and Malvasía grapes. Both wines are fresh and refined, in perfect balance of acidity, alcohol and fruity expression; they were not aged in oak barrels.

Reviving Winemaking In Santanyí

Naturalis Historiæ

Mallorca has a long standing tradition of wine making. It is said that the Romans brought vines with them and planted these, as they have brought so many other things.

In his treatise of Naturalis Historiæ (Natural History), Gaius Plinius Secundus (23 – 79 AD), better known as Pliny the Elder, elaborated on Mallorca’s œnological efforts and the art of wine making. He stated quite categorically that the island’s wines were equal to the best wines of Italy, his home country. 

1899-43248

When King Jaume I conquered the island in 1229, Ben Abbad reportedly gave the invading king grapes of excellent quality.

In the region of Santanyí, wine was grown as early as the 13th century. During the 1880s, some 580 cuarteradas of land (approx. 420 hectares) were cultivated with vines. Sadly, the phylloxera pest, brought on by a mean vine-eating beetle, destroyed virtually all of Mallorca’s vineyards, devastating the ones in Santanyí as well, at around 1893-8.

At Vinya Son Alegre, we planted new vineyards in 2004 and produced our first wines in 2008 for sale in 2010. Ours is the first wine from the Santanyí region in over 100 years.

We currently offer three white wines, three rosé wines and six red wines. Please consult the Son Alegre website for further information.

2+2+4Bottles

Collaborating With Armero i Adrover In Felanitx

barriques

At Son Alegre, we are in the process of planning to build our own winery to be located in the village of Calonge. Until the time of its inauguration, we are using the facilities and the expertise of our good friend Luis Vicente Armero González of the Bodega Armero i Adrover in Felanitx to macerate, ferment, blend and produce our Son Alegre wines. This collaboration began in 2008 and we are proud of what has been coming to the market since then. We are deeply grateful to Luis Armero and his set-up for the work and enthusiasm given to our wines, combined with their devotion and tireless passion.

Their family-owned company was founded in Felanitx in 1992 by Luis Armero and his wife, Antonia Adrover. Before setting up their own company, Luis Armero already came from the world of winemaking, while Adrover’s family had owned vineyards in the Felanitx area for years. They are considered as pioneers in contemporary Mallorcan wines of present day. The company is highly respectful of the environment; their work and production are governed by environmental considerations.

At the Armero i Adrover winery, stainless steel maceration vats are employed calculated to macerate the grapes from each plot of land with a capacity of 6,000 litres and smaller ones of 3,300 litres, both featuring an internal temperature control system.

Armero i Adrover employs American and French oak barrels for the aging of their red wines.

stainless steel vats