Normally, by 11am, I’ve walked the dog, written half an article and answered all my emails. Today, however, I’ve done nothing but slurp two glasses of vino tinto and am about to start attacking the third! 😉 I’m not, as you might suspect, slumped on a barstool having confused Saturday night with Tuesday morning, but am actually engaged in a civilised chat with Javier Jara, owner of Son Sureda Ric.
This small, family-owned boutique wine estate is located in Mallorca’s Manacor area, and produces red wines made from ecological grapes. Apart from the growing and harvesting of the grapes, also the aging in barrels, bottling, labeling and sale of wine is all carried out on the property, making the way they work and their philosophy very similar to those of the French Chateaux.
We’d heard quite a few people rave about this place and the first-rate wine, so we were eager to venture out to the island’s east and find out what the boozy buzz was all about.
We drove out of Palma’s rush hour traffic and ended up, an hour later, at the end of a grassy road where we encountered the sort of gates that require you to hop out of the car, unlatch, slide across and swing open; something which already made us feel a little less like city slickers! At the house we were greeted by crisp country side air, a few barking dogs and Javier on the terrace looking out over his three hectare vineyard.
We started our tour in the grounds where we saw Jaime in a far corner busying himself with the vines. No, the others were not having a tea break; it’s just Javier and his wife Carme that run this petite wine producing estate with Jaime lending a helping hand every so often.
Javier grows Merlot, Callet, Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon, all ecological, which culminate in the production of about 6000 litres of wine a year. Not a lot compared to most mainland wine producers, as the typical Rioja bodega owns anywhere from 10,000 to 40,000 oak barrels, whereas Son Sureda’s cellar shelters no more than 20. The Son Sureda set-up is small and only the very best of grapes are allowed access to the house, ‘the VIP grapes’, as Javier calls them. The selection is super strict to ensure each bottle of wine is a high quality product which means that in a good year, only 60% of the grapes are harvested but, for example, in 2013 only 30 % of grapes were tip top enough to make it into the tank.
After touring the fields we trooped into the farmhouse, arguably one of the most architecturally unique estates on the island. The history of this building goes all the way back to the 15th century. Taking in the ancient stone work and interior arches magically takes you back to medieval times as it seems that surely every nook, corner and cranny have quite some stories to tell! Well, we reckon definitely the not-so-subtle flail nailed to the wall could tell us a tale or two.
We first paid a visit to the tanks, and the scent of the red wine that hit us as we stepped through the centuries old archway actually made me giggle. We had a sneaky glass of a 100% Cab Sav straight from the tank. (No I didn’t make any stupid jokes about wanting to lie under the tap of the tank, apart from inside my head, thankfully…)
Afterwards we had a peek around the cellar, where we see an endless collection of wine bottles along the wall. These are of a slightly lesser quality wine, that will never be sold from this boutique bodega. We brought these up a few times hoping to cut some sort of cheeky deal but to no avail, as Javier is adamant only the finest of vino tinto leave the estate! This is also where the French oak barrels are kept, patiently ageing the wine over a period of two years.
Last we went to the tasting area where we tried two of the four types of wine sold: the Espira and the Ric Pur. Both elegant and exquisite. I won’t try and bore you by trying to sound like a connoisseur as I’m by no means a buff, but I have imbibed enough to know what I like and can surely detect a superior wine over a bottom-shelf supermarket one. And this guys, is the good stuff. The sort of stuff that begs to be sipped and, however much you slurp, won’t leave you with a sore head in the morning.
Want to try for yourself? Keep an eye on their website as they’ll soon start ‘open days’ on a set time and date every week where you can enjoy a tasting in absolutely stunning surroundings.
Both Javier and Carme are very warm and welcoming, making it feel like a visit to friends. Friends with a monumental amount of wine that is! 😉
Alternatively you can email Javier at email@example.com to book a tour.