If you are into wine, really into wine, there is a sad fact that you will have to face when living in Mallorca. There are very few bars and restaurants with an interesting, well-thought-out wine menu. Unless you want a high-end restaurant or a cheap house wine by the glass, your options are limited.
Thankfully, there is a new temple in town for wine lovers. Vinazo Morrofino, located in Calle Industria 8, offers a modern space with restaurant commodities and a spacious bar. It also has a well-looked-after food menu, and most importantly, a wine menu that features approximately 500 different wines. In addition, there are 40 wines by the glass to choose from.
I went to have a chat with Angel Ruiz, the dedicated owner, about the past, present, and future of his establishment, and much more.
Q: Tell me a little bit about yourself!
A: Whilst studying History, Asian History, Japanese and Chinese in Madrid, I started working in the catering business at the age of 18-19 years old. I worked in many different types of restaurants and when I was working in high-end restaurants I acquired a taste for wines. My father also used to take me out to drink wine, always wine. I also spent 3 years in England, again working in catering, and then I travelled to China to help a friend start up a Spanish wine import company.
In 2015 I returned to Spain and landed in Ibiza, where I started looking for a restaurant to rent and create my project. Sa Vida opened its doors in March 2016 with a small wine menu, but then I started looking into wine a lot more and within a short time we ended up with a wine list of more than 50 wines. The business worked well in Ibiza so, in 2018, I decided to come to Mallorca and set up another Sa Vida in Palma.
However, due to Covid and other personal matters, I went back to Ibiza and concentrated all of my efforts there. Eventually, in 2021, I was able to return to Palma and open this new venture, which is now called Vinazo Morrofino.
Q: What does the name Morrofino mean?
A: My dad used to call me ‘morrofino’ (‘fine beak’ in Spanish) as a nickname because whenever we went out I liked to order wines that were a bit more expensive than the average and because I liked to eat well. I am quite demanding when it comes to food and wine.
So, if you have a refined taste in Madrid you may be called a ‘morrofino’, in a friendly manner of course.
Q: Do you think a place like yours was missing in Palma?
A: My idea was to create a wine restaurant rather than a wine bar. This space is bigger than a bar and the food is more elaborate. I want to make it a reference point in Palma, with wines from Mallorca, from the mainland, organic wines, natural wines, wines from the old world, as well as the new world, and at more affordable prices than high-end restaurants.
Q: What do you offer that is different?
A: The number of wines by the glass. You can have a glass of Nebbiolo, or a Premier Cru from Pommard, or a Manda Güevos Garnacha from Calatayud. Here, you can enjoy a glass of wine that you are not so likely to see in any other restaurant in Palma. We also work with smaller producers, winemakers, and brands that would be hard to find somewhere else.
Q: Do you need this many wines?
A: It is a basic requirement for me, from a service point of view and on a personal basis. I want to have something for everyone and if a client asks me for something specific I want to say yes, I have it! Even with 500 wines I still feel like there are some gaps and the menu is not finished yet.
Q: You have a wide selection of international wines, why?
A: I believe that most people here are aware of Mallorcan and national wines, but having so many international wines makes a big difference. My goal is to make people understand what they are drinking and what the specific terroir offers. The diversity in the world of wine is huge and for me, it is a great tool to surprise the client with.
Q: What do you think of Mallorcan wine?
A: In all honesty, it is not my forte. I was here during my Sa Vida Palma stage for 2 years and even though I visited a lot of wineries and I tried many wines, Mallorcan wine is something I need to dive into more. I like the local varieties and I think the winemakers are creating great wines. I know that prices are higher than mainland wines, but the conditions, the small size of the vineyards, and the higher costs are things most people need to understand.
Q: Do you think most restaurants could create better wine menus?
A: In the last 20 years there has been a gradual change. It is very slow, but luckily there is a growing tendency to have interesting wines on the menu, moving away from Rioja, Ribera, Rueda, and Albariño. Wines from Mallorca are more and more often included in the menus and even Mencia or other regions are making an appearance. It is slow, but it is heading in the right direction.
Q: How do you choose a wine? How can a wine make it into your wine list?
A: It needs to offer something different. I have renowned wines and things people know, but I want to surprise my guests and be able to explain how a particular wine is different, how it is going to pair with a specific dish, or be able to tell them a story about the producer or the vineyard.
I would like to thank Angel for all his hard work and for ‘swimming against the tide’. We wish him all the success with his new project and I honestly hope all wine lovers will pay a visit to Vinazo Morrofino. As long as I have a glass of excellent wine in my hand, I will certainly continue to visit.