For a long time I have been convinced that natural wines are no longer a fashion or a modern winemaking trend but rather a style of wine that is here to stay. Orange wines, as well as natural or biodynamic wines, all of them object of this website and the main reason of my wine-related travels, are becoming known by more and more people and more available in shops and wine websites around. The best part of this is that every winelover can choose what they prefer out of an ample wine offer, that being natural wines or traditional wines.
Recently I have been fortunate enough to make a great discovery in my WineWorld, a winery from Mallorca in the Balearic Islands that produces wine according to the aforementioned style. Galmés i Ribot is a small family winery located in Santa Margalida that little by little has been replacing the best-known international varieties usually grown in the isles with local varieties. They are working now with Callet, Giró Ros, Prensal Blanc and Gorgollassa. Galmés i Ribot owns 14 hectares of vineyards that they work following organic principles and with the minimum intervention possible. As winemaker Cati Ribot says: “It’s a long way this changing process, but we have very clear where we want to go and we are enjoying our trip.”
In 2004, they started working experimentally with the autochthonous varieties Argamussa, Vinater Blanc, Escursac, Callet Negrella and Mances de Tibus, all of them prefiloxeric vines.
Nowadays the winery commercializes six wines, and we are going to focus on two of them, one red and one white.
Petjades is a tasty red wine, which has a very characteristic rustic touch and a very pleasant fruity palate when you taste it. It is made with Callet and Gorgollassa, two autochthonous varieties, as we have seen, that have a long vegetative cycle. The Callet brings that rustic touch, apart from the body and structure that help forge that character. The Gorgollassa, on the other hand, is the variety that conveys elegance to the final wine. Once the grapes enter the cellar, the fermentation takes place in open oak barrels, with 30% of stems. At the end of this process, a light pressing is made and then the wine goes into fourth-year French oak barrels to respect the character of the varieties. In their last vintage they have made 1,200 bottles.
Som Blanc is a really good Orange wine. In my opinion one of the best ones produced in our country. It is made with Giró Ros, an autochthonous variety of Mallorca with a long vegetative cycle. The grapes are manually harvested and then macerated on their skins in stainless tanks for four days, where they remain on their lees until April of the following year. In its last vintage they have elaborated 2,500 bottles.
I put this wine to a test that for me shows the quality with which a wine is made. It may seem pointless to other people doing other tests, but this is the one I like to do. Once I opened the bottle Sunday midday and enjoyed half of it (not alone, of course), I left it in the living room at room temperature closed with nothing else but the cork. No oxygen pump or similar. It was during the month of June/July, so it was already hot weather. Every weeknight I tasted a glass to see how it stood the test of time under those conditions. With an effort, I left wine in the bottle to make sure it lasted till Friday. Every night the wine oxidized very lightly but it maintained its freshness and balance. I can also say that it gained on body. As the days passed, the wine maintained that power that made drinking it something very pleasant because it did not feel fallen at any time. The color was maintained. While it is true that comparing Friday’s glass with that of Sunday’s it was noticeable that it had lost some fruit, the body and power it maintained made it very pleasant. A very good wine and in my opinion a very well done one. A wine of those that I want to always have at home and recommend to my Orange-wine-lover friends enthusiasts of this style of wine.
Soon we will talk to Cati Ribot on his winemaking philosophy.