Late June 2020 I finally got to visit the bodega and vineyard Conde de Suyrot, nestled between the Massís d’Artà and the Mediterranean Sea. My visit, initially planned on March 17th – the very same day that the Spanish Government declared a nationwide lockdown because of the Covid-19 pandemic- was inevitably postponed. But very much worth the wait. When I arrived at the there I passed by a small, lush vegetable patch before I was greeted by a small flock of muscovy ducks, chickens, a new puppy, and the salty breeze of the Mediterranean Sea. The Bodega’s terrace overlooking the grape vines and the seascape is set up for events and visits arranged by appointment. You should defiantly go if you can. Just a friendly warning though; once you are there, you are in paradise and you will not want to leave.
Count Fabrice Suyrot, migrated to La Colonia de Sant Pere from Bordeaux, France in 2006. Having discovered a unique microclimate on the edge of the Serra de Llevant Natural Park of Artá, Mallorca, and began his oenological artistry. I am always inspired by people who follow their passions in life, and Fabrice is one of those who has done it successfully. Back in France, he was a banker who spent his spare time learning about winemaking, and when he came to Betlem, was particularly inspired when he heard from the locals that the stretch of land from Betlem to La Colonia de Sant Pere was, in its past, completely covered with vineyard plots. He started off very small, making wine at his house, and now, nearly 15 years later, after converting what use to be horse stables into a bodega, he has a proper boutique winery with room for tastings and space small events.
I was obviously very keen to taste his wines and to pick his brain a bit about his winemaking process. His goal with his wines is to evoke the terroir of the vineyard and bring out the finest essences of the grapes. “The key to making good wine is not so much how you make the wine… what is most important is the grapes that you are making the wine from.” he told me. “It all begins in the vineyard“. However, I venture to suspect that the way he makes the wine is also very key in his finished product. He is not afraid to experiment. For him, winemaking is more of an art than a science. He will never be an oenologist stuck inside a laboratory. His place is in the vineyard with the vines. I was delighted again to learn that in the vineyard, he employs ecological viticulture practices. We also talked about permaculture and biodiversity, another passion of mine. His wines are not ‘certified organic’, but it is commonplace here for small vineyards to opt out of the heavy financial burden to get that certification. It’s nice to know that many viticulturists are conscientious about health and the environment, even if they are not aloud to flout it on their labels.
He grows a variety of grapes including Cabernet Sauvignon, Monastrell, Merlot, Moscatel and Malvasía, as well as indigenous Mallorcan varieties including Callet, Manto Negro, and Gorgollassa. He ages is wines in French oak (bien sûr) and uses his intuition and his experience when creating his coupages. What both pleases and impresses me about his red wines is how he has managed to capture the character and nuances of the Mallorcan terroir while managing to maintain the alcohol percentage at a humble 13.5%. It must be said, while there are so many amazing reds coming from this island, most of them often boast an alcohol level of 14% to 15%. Fabrice pulls off the trick of keeping it moderate without losing the charm so to speak.
I tasted four of his wines. Here are my notes:
Es Cap Roig 2019 Rosado
Grapes: Cabernet Sauvignon and Monastrell
This rosé has a light salmon-coral-sunset color with white gold reflections. On the nose I first noticed aromas of crisp white pear and pomegranate, then some more subtle aromas- citrus, green tea and fig leaf. It is dry and refreshing on the tongue with flavours of melon, red current and green figs. Going deeper into tasting, I noticed hints of white tea, hops, and a bit of spice with pleasant bite of grapefruit at the end.
I would pair this with: Salmon tartar, ceviche, prawns, or perhaps a Mediterranean cherry tomato salad and feta. I could also recommend this with a lentil salad or seafood pasta….oooh!… or… if in season, fresh fig carpaccio drizzled in extra virgen olive oil! Yum!
Grape: 100% Moscatel
This is a wine that truly remains faithful to the flavour of its grape, Moscatel, and its terroir, the Mallorcan Mediterranean and its celebrated salty winds known here as ‘Embat’.
A star bright and clear white wine, pale lemon yellow color with silver green hues. On the nose, a pronounced intensity, with aromas of honeysuckle and Meyers lemon. Upon the tongue it is a dry, young, and perky. It carries through the mouth the citrus flavours of juicy blood oranges, white roses, honeysuckle, and even neroli, pleasantly finishing with yellow lemon zest, saffron, and sea salt.
I would pair this with: SO MANY THINGS! For starters, I feel like this wine would really compliment Indian curry dishes and those exotic spices. I also think it would go great with almost any vegetarian dishes- barbecue grilled vegetables, artichokes, aubergines stuffed tomatoes get summoned in my mind. For carnivorous appetites I would suggest grilled chicken, but quite honestly, this wine can be enjoyed on its own over a good conversation with a friend on a shady terrace on a warm afternoon.
La Llebra 2017
Cherry red color with magenta tones.
On the nose, medium intensity and high quality aromas of fresh black fruits such as blackberry and ripe plum. There are secondary aromas of chocolate, tobacco, leather and notes of violet and red pepper.
On the tongue it is dry, smooth, and juicy, with flavours of red currants, black cherry and blackberries. Medium bodied, it has elegant tannins that harmonise its berry and fig notes, with cocoa and terra cotta throughout the palate. There is an essence of basil and fig leaf with silky finish.
I would pair this with: Actually, this is one of those reds that I would like to sip slowly in good company while watching a meteor shower and considering ways to solve the worlds problems. But that could perhaps be after dinner- which would, of course, be a classic Mallorcan dish like Cornejo con Cebolla or Arroz Brut.
La Tortuga 2019
Grapes: Gorgollassa, Monastrell, Callet
Fabrice brought me into the cellar to try this one straight from the barrel- I love those moments. Having been in the barrel nearly a year, it will be ready to bottle up soon.
The color was a dark blackberry or black cherry with violet hues. He used the carbonic maceration method for this wine and the results are impressive. On the nose were aromas of juicy black plums and black berries, chocolate, leather and allspice. As a young wine, it is excellent and promises to stay that way as it ages. It is dry with a velvety body, impressive structure, with black berry, plum, and cherry notes, fine tannins, cigar box, dried herbs, violets and chocolate. There is an earthy feel in the mouth reminiscent of terra cotta and soft leather, and the finish is lingering blackberries and chocolate and dried figs.
You can call Anette to arrange a visit, +34 871 870 472 or here is a link to the website if you’d like to arrange via email:
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