As the nights draw in and autumn approaches, our attention is drawn to the vine leaves that are changing to a lovely rich, reddish-brown colour. The temperatures are also dropping to a much more manageable 20ºC (give or take a few degrees) and, although the crowds are still here, it is a more comfortable and manageable quantity.
This is as good a time as any to visit a vineyard and appreciate its full glory. Here in Mallorca all of the wineries have finished their harvest and silence resumes, once again, in the fields. All of the stress is now focused indoors, and the main headaches for all of the winemakers are the fermentation processes, the regular stirring of settled lees, and the movement of wines from recipient to recipient. This is an interesting period in the winemaking process, and if you are lucky enough, some winemakers may let you try the wine when it is just finished so that you can taste the purity of the newly fermented grape juice.
Can Vidalet was our most recent trip to a winery here in Mallorca, a winery that is hidden away in the countryside, but well positioned on the outskirts of Pollença. It is situated in a privileged spot, as it overlooks the Tramuntana mountain range, and you can also see the Mediterranean Sea and the pretty town of Pollença in the distance.
The winery is surrounded by olive tree plantations, nearby pine trees and some delightful looking villas. It is not a particularly old vineyard in Mallorca, as the project was created in 1996, but it now has a respectable number of harvests under its belt.
Can Vidalet may be relatively unknown to some people here in Mallorca, but this small winery looks after 10 hectares of cultivated plots and it's currently undergoing a profound transformation. They are changing some of their grape varieties, replacing French and international grapes, in favour of indigenous varieties such as Callet, Gorgollassa, Prensal and Giró Ros. When we were there we were shown a brand new vineyard that has been planted with Mallorcan Callet on bush vine, which is unusual to see as many winemakers prefer the easier to manage trellised vines. This is a brave move, to say the least.
The soils are also interesting here as they change throughout the whole surface of the vineyard. You will find some clay, limestone soil, fossils, and peculiar stony plots with white calcareous rocks. This unique mix allows the winemaker to experiment with various combinations of grape varieties and types of soil.
The vineyard surroundings are dotted with fascinating features from the past, such as the classic Mallorcan dry stone walls and an old well. There are also interesting botanicals that grow throughout the land such as lemon balm, wild fennel, and rosemary. These botanicals are nurtured so that they can be used in the spirits (more about that further on).
The winery is well equipped with modern installations and a stone cellar that has been dug into the hill. Various rooms contain the necessary vats, barrels and bottle storage required, and everything is kept at a consistent temperature. A few extra details have been built into the walls inside (such as construction dates), and the woodwork within is impeccable.
As we sat outside to enjoy the view, the acceptable temperature, and a few refreshments, we began the task of tasting some of the wines produced at Can Vidalet - the simple but pleasing Blanc de Blanc, the Ses Pedres oaky Chardonnay, various vintages of the Blanc de Negres (a white wine made with red grapes), and their So de Xiprer red. All the wines are of high quality and they reflect good taste and hard work from the winery's team. A special mention has to go to their Barros de Cecili. This is a white wine that has been made with Prensal Blanc, fermented with the skins and aged in a 1000L amphora. In my opinion, they have managed to create a very expressive and unconventional wine that will positively surprise many. With this particular wine, they have also created an additional special and unique product, The Barros de Cecili Submarino. This wine has been bottled in individual 0,75l amphorae and aged underwater, in the Mediterranean Sea, for 9 months. Only 300 bottles have been produced.
Not only does Can Vidalet create wine to a high standard, but they also create their spirits as they have a still and a licence to distil, something that is quite hard to obtain in Spain due to the tough regulations.
They produce a Gin called 'Onze', which has up to 11 botanicals that have been gathered from the land around the vineyard, and 'Marc', which is a type of ‘Orujo’ (a less refined Spanish Grappa).
Other unique products at Can Vidalet include their three different types of Port de Cecili. These are a range of fortified wines styled in the Portuguese way and include a dry white wine, a sweet white wine, and a sweet red wine. Can Vidalet is the only winery in Mallorca that produces this type of wine, and you will find them presented in some of the top restaurants on the island.
After a long tasting and a lovely afternoon spent with the attentive staff, we (like everyone else that came to visit the winery) left Can Vidalet with a few bottles of wine and some gin to enjoy at home. The experience was very enjoyable and relaxing and we were treated incredibly well.
If you want to explore the wine regions of Mallorca beyond the classic areas of Binissalem and its surroundings, a visit to Can Vidalet will be well worth your time. We are sure that it will
open your eyes and taste buds to some lesser-known wines and spirits.