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A Red Wine For Springtime

Have you always thought red wine is just to be enjoyed in winter, sipping by the fire all cosy and warm? Well, believe it or not, there are red wines for all seasons, and you can even chill some of them, which are perfect on a summer’s day!

Whether you are a fan of red wine or not, this ‘vino tinto’ that I am introducing you to today, is a winner for all palates.

I had the pleasure of tasting the other week a red wine that was made in Can Pizà Boutique Winery on the island of Mallorca, which is a winery very close to my heart, and I have learned so much from the team there and continue to do so!! For those of you who are unfamiliar with Can Pizà, you need to pay them a visit!! A hidden gem on the island of Mallorca, with breath-taking views and more importantly unique wines. It’s a certified organic winery that dates back to 1626, and when you arrive you actually are taken back in time to its historical roots. In an idyllic setting, with some fantastic modern winemaking techniques, you really get to see the Mallorca wine industry at its finest.

This particular red wine, is made from the most widespread, indigenous Mallorcan grape varietal called Manto Negro (I am a huge fan of this varietal!) It also has great importance in the DO Binissalem, which produces some of the best wines in Mallorca.

What made this wine even more intriguing, was the fact that it had been bottled without any ageing or oak contact. The idea behind the wine is to let the grape do the talking, without any interference from the winemaker, oak or any other further ageing. Therefore, the flavour characteristics that some people would associate with a Spanish red wine; vanilla, leather, cloves, cigar box etc, are non-existent. Watch this space!!! If you love a Beaujolais Nouveau, well this literally outshines any Beaujolais Nouveau I have tasted.

Light, ruby red colour, with mesmerising purple undertones. For a lighter, unoaked style of wine, it had a decent body. High alcohol and a rich texture on the palate with captivating flavour characteristics. Ripe red berries, raspberries, blueberries, baked black cherries, chocolate, bramble, violets, very fruit driven.  A nice little finish, and it paired great with the Pizza.

You may be thinking why Pizza? The pizzas I ordered were thin based, no cheese and the toppings were ideal for a cheeky red wine (one was seafood, and the other was ham and mushroom). I broke all pizza rules without the cheese, so what better to pair it with than a red wine which is also breaking the rules?! Other pairing suggestions include chicken wings, BBQ chicken, traditional Mallorcan dishes such as Frit Mallorquí and Coca de Trampó.  Ideal whilst sitting on your balcony, or, in the garden, some bread and aioli, cured meats and some Mallorcan cured cheese Grimalt!

Exciting things to come from this wine, and from this incredible winery. I also have a bottle of white wine from them, which I will be tasting in the next few weeks. Keep an eye out for the tatsing notes!

If you are wanting to check this vineyard out for yourself, drop me an email at laura@lingovino.vin, and I will point you in the right direction and give you some tips!! Likewise, if you are planning a trip to the wonderful island of Palma de Mallorca this year and would like to know how to discover the best of the local wine and cuisine, get in touch!

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Top 5 food and wine experiences in Palma this week!

The Magic of Mallorca- My top 5 food & wine experiences in Palma this week, there’s something for everyone!

I finally arrived on the gorgeous island of Mallorca last Monday and headed straight to the seafront to enjoy a crisp and bubbly glass of Cava! First, post lockdown holiday with my mum, and it was very much needed! My main goal this holiday was to try some new food and wine pairings, discover some new restaurants and bars, and speak as much Spanish as possible!! I also wanted to relax admiring the spectacular sea views. I can happily say that all these goals were well and truly accomplished! Check out my top 5 experiences.

  1. The Sky Bar at the top of the 4* Hotel Almudania in Palma, on Avenida Jaime III. The hotel itself is in the middle of some of the top designer boutiques and shops, and the Sky Bar is on the 8th floor of this quaint hotel.  As soon as you get to the 8th floor you walk into the Hotel’s fine restaurant which has a fantastic fusion-inspired menu. We didn’t dine, but we did enjoy a ‘Copita de Cava’ in the ‘Bar Salon’, admiring the most incredible views of this wonderful city. To the left, we had Palma Cathedral and to the right, we could see the Castillo de Bellver (the Bellver Castle). We stopped after 2 glasses of Cava, as the stairs to get to the top of the roof terrace were extremely narrow and steep! Apart from the magnificent views, what I also loved about this small but picturesque terrace, was how diverse the clientele was. There were holidaymakers, office workers, students, and mum and I! Great to see people being able to embrace life and each other again. Peaceful atmosphere, delicious Cava, and if you are heading to Palma for a girl’s trip or a romantic break, it’s the perfect place to make memories.

2. Restaurante Pesquero in Palma, located in Muelle de La Lonja. With over 60 years of experience, this emblematic venue with idyllic views of the sea and local fishing boats can offer an array of dishes to suit all tastes and all occasions. It also has a fabulous wine list, which I had to dive into first! Glass of Cava on arrival, followed by Mar de Frades Albariño. A dry, crisp, and zesty white wine from Rías Baixas. Full of lime, lemon zest, and peach aromas, perfect with seafood.

For lunch, we ordered ‘Chipirones Fritos’ fried baby squid and the most incredible ‘Langostinos a la Plancha’ grilled king prawns. Delicious!! There will definitely be a next visit to this venue, and next time I will be exploring some of the rice dishes and more of the local wines to pair with them!

3. Restaurante Just Enmig in Cala Estancia, offers traditional Mediterranean cuisine since 1995! Family run and I have been going with my family since I was 12! Lots of memories have been made in this wonderful venue, which is blessed with the most gorgeous views of Cala Estancia beach. Serving the best Paella on the island, as well as other fish, meat dishes, and salads. I always opt for the seafood Paella. They also offer a takeaway service too, which means we were able to enjoy this tasty Spanish dish on our terrace with a nice bottle of Cava. Great G&Ts too!!

4. La Taberna, which is in Can Pastilla, is a typical Spanish tapas bar, full of interesting local characters and lots of fantastic wines! I was in my element. To start we had a glass of Bodegas Sumarroca, Cava Brut and Brut Rosé. I also sampled 2 glasses of Mont Ferrutx. A fantastic red wine, a blend of indigenous Majorcan grapes Callet, Manto Negro, and Fogoneu by Bodegas Miquel Oliver. We ordered some tapas; jamón serrano, patatas bravas, garlic prawns. What made this place memorable for me was the atmosphere and the staff who were so welcoming and invited me back to try more wines next time!

5. Finally, El Pizzero, another new experience for us this time, is a great place to order pizza from when you just feel like chilling at home with a nice bottle of local wine. Speaking of wine, I was gifted a beautiful bottle of Manto Negro from Can Piza Boutique Winery, more about this wine to come in a separate post!! In terms of the pizza, well, I don’t eat cheese, so they kindly made tasty seafood pizza and ham and mushroom pizza without cheese, delivered it promptly, excellent service overall, and went amazingly with the wine!

If you are travelling to Palma de Mallorca anytime soon, do give these places a go and try some of my food and wine pairing suggestions!

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A touch of Coonawarra!

My weekend was made just a little bit more special with this beauty of a red wine!! The Cigar Cabernet Sauvignon, Coonawarra, 2017.

From the moment I read the name to myself, I thought I had an idea how this wine would taste; ‘The Cigar’. It created an ambience in my mind of a cigar lounge, jazz music, smoky woody aromas…Trust me, it did not disappoint!

Yalumba is Australia’s oldest family run vineyard and has been going since 1849. It is now in its 6th generation and the exquisite wine production continues. Yalumba means ‘all the land around’, in this case the famous ‘terra rossa’ soil right in the heart of Coonawarra. This wine portrays the care, tradition, and high standard that the Yalumba wine estate represents. 

As soon as I decanted the wine, the colour captured my attention. Its deep, ruby, red and crimson tones. The good colour and the tannin extraction showed the careful traditional winemaking methods. The skin contact too added complexity to the final wine and the 16 months maturation in new and old French oak barriques, just gives it those more intense vanilla and sweet spice flavours.

I was really impressed with the depth and intensity on the nose with primary through to tertiary aromas, with a noticeable bouquet of lavender and violet. I could tell this wine had a bit of age also due to the tobacco, dried cranberries, and dark chocolate aromas. These developed even more on the palate with even more intensity of blackberry, blueberry, and blackcurrant flavours. I also picked up on hints of mint and milk chocolate flavours on the palate, blending deliciously with the smooth and velvet tannins.

This wine is a winner in so many ways. It is the perfect wine for a meaty, hearty meal. Ideal for summer BBQs! I paired it with bolognaise and pasta. Once it is in the decanter, leave it for a few hours and you can even enjoy it the following day, as the fruit and tannins soften. Sip and enjoy!

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What Grows Together Goes Together

Just how true is this when talking about wine? Do you ever try to pair your food and wine and get stuck in a rut? Not too sure what would go with your Albariño or your glass of English sparkling wine? Well, going off my experience travelling around Europe, I have to say that I am a true believer of keeping both food and wine local!

Back in the days when travelling was a bit less restricted, you would often find me in a typical Majorcan wine bar or in a fine restaurant in the gorgeous city of Madrid. The Spanish are so passionate about everything they do, especially regarding their food and wine. I love the tradition of Tapas and how you automatically get a bar snack with a glass of Rioja or Rueda. Whether its crisps, some Manchego cheese or serrano ham, the idea is to enjoy some food with your wine choice. It is a fantastic experience.

Successful food and wine pairings have probably evolved over time. The idea of the signature food of one region developing over the years, along with the winemaking of the same region, proves to be a perfect match! We also must consider environmental characteristics, the climate, terroir and local traditions behind particular cuisines. 

 One of my favourite pairings is Pa Amb Oli, which means ‘bread with olive oil’ in Majorcan. They also add tomatoe to the bread and even some garlic, which is rubbed on one side of the warm crusty bread. I also love Pa Amb Tomàquet, which is with the toppings of jamón serrano, cheese or anchovies. It can be served at any time of the day, or just as an accompaniment to dinner or lunch.

What would my wine choice be to go with this dish? Well, I would go for a Majorcan red wine. Angel Negre, a wine from Bodegas Angel, Viñas de Sa Basseta (Santa María Del Camí). This delicious wine is an interesting blend between 2 international grape varietals, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, and indigenous grape Manto Negro. Manto Negro is a cross of 2 extinct varieties, and it produces smooth, light coloured wines, which are high in alcohol. 

This rule of thumb generally works for me. However, having some knowledge about the different components of food and wine, such as acidity, sweetness, and umami, helps you to find a sensational match! That deserves its own blog!

In the meantime, I’m off to enjoy a glass of Crémant and some ‘fromage de chevre’!