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Wine & Spirits

Mallorca Calling

Needless to say, with quirky names on the labels, Miquelàngel and his wines have already found favor with the audience and are ready to make a splash. I’ll be waiting for them to arrive at the stores and stocking up on them for those brunch parties at home.

Long ago, while still in college, television introduced me to the Spanish language. It was the beginning of a love affair. As time elapsed, I fell in love with the food, the wines, the culture, the music, and the people I met. Somewhere down the line, I became The Latin Sardar, a name which has stuck by me and became my social media persona. The love affair continues as I experience the wines, the food and interact with some excellent people on the way, just the way I like it.

On one such occasion recently, I became acquainted with Miquelàngel Cerdà and his wines. Anima Negra, the Black Soul, is here. Although, it may take some time to reach the store shelves, the preview of the wines in New Delhi recently was an eye opener for the wine maker who traveled all the way from Mallorca with his wines.

Mallorca is a small Mediterranean Island east of mainland Spain, steeped in history that dates back to the Paleolithic age. Conquered by the Byzantines in 6th century and then in the 10th century by the Moors, the island has had its share of historic artifacts and sites to boast of. However, it is the wines that interest me, and Mallorca has a great tradition and history of wine making. The wines are essentially very easy drinking varieties owing to the Mediterranean climate, in spite of a rather robust acidity and alcohol content. The acidity and the alcohol content, however, never get in the way of the expression of the wines, which is really beautiful.

For Miquelàngel, the biggest challenge was not the wine making or selling, it was figuring out what goes on the label. With ingenuity that can only perhaps be imagined from a former merchant sailor, he approached one of his friends who made a cartoon strip out of the story of the wines and thus, was born a set of the most memorable names for a wine label – Bla Bla Bla, the sound of conversations; Plic Plic Plic, the sound of rain and Muac!, the sound of a kiss.

The Bla Bla Bla is a Premsal varietal wine and is a real conversation starter, just as Miquelàngel wanted it to be. Premsal is a local grape variety of Mallorca and Bla Bla Bla is a very lively, juicy and easy drinking wine that does not need accompaniments. However, if one were to be specific about it, the Bla Bla Bla goes well with mild spicy kebabs and starters rather well. The Bla Bla Bla has a very light color which is almost negligible in bright light with notes of grapefruit, lemongrass and sweet lime zest on the nose. The palate is zingy with an almost buttery smoothness comparable to a Chardonnay. The short finish engulfs the palate in notes of sweet almonds and mild oak as it goes down, leaving you craving for more.

The Plic Plic Plic was not available for tasting; instead, there was the Quibia 2013. A fifty per cent blend of Callet and Premsal, both native varieties of Mallorca, the Quibia comes with a pale, grassy color that holds the light brilliantly. On the nose and palate, the Quibia surprises with notes of lemongrass, ripe granny smith apples, under ripe apricots and lime zest. Perhaps an easier wine than the Bla Bla Bla, the Quibia is far more adaptable to Indian cuisine with a much wider variety of dishes that it can be paired with. I would pair it with tandoori starters and perhaps something with a bit more layers of spice, but not enough to overshadow the wine itself.

Muac! is a blend of Callet (35%), Manto Negro (35%) and Cabernet Sauvignon (30%), with a clean, bright color, subtle fruit flavors and hints of fresh cut grass, mild spicy tones, marked by elegance on the palate, balanced with well integrated tannins. This is perhaps one of the few red wines that falls into the easy drinking reds category. A marked feeling of freshness and character of the terroir is what the Muac! is all about. Aromatic spices in Indian cuisine will go exceptionally well with this one. Pair it with Awadhi or Mughlai and you will change the way you eat and drink.

Apart from the easy drinking wines, Anima Negra ha its finesse range as well. The AN/2 is a blend with which Miquelàngel is experimenting, with plans to come out with different blends for each vintage. For the 2012 vintage, he blended Callet (65%), Manto Negro & Fogoneu (20%) and Syrah (15%), giving it a clear, bright color with an orange rim in the glass. The nose is aromatic, but not very strong; the spicy notes on the nose and palate are rather subdued. The tannins are smooth but not very robust and lend a short finish with notes of nutmeg, cinnamon and white peppers.

However, the best part of the evening was none of the wines described above. It was the AN. Voted the best by a show of hands at the table, the AN, a blend of Callet (95%) with Manto Negro and Fogoneu (5%) has a very bright ruby red hue with fair translucence that reflects light brilliantly. Roll it around in the glass a bit and you see an orange-brown hue with a deep orange rim. The nose is very expressive with ripe, dark cherries, cinnamon, nutmeg, black peppers, rosemary, lavender, and zucchini flowers. Oak is very prominent on the nose and palate, lending a smooth touch to the well rounded tannins. The palate has spicy notes coupled with fruit, flower, oak and dark chocolate on the medium-long finish.

Needless to say, with those quirky names on the labels, Miquelàngel and his wines have already found favor with the audience and are ready to make a splash. I’ll be waiting for them to arrive at the stores and stocking up on them for those brunch parties at home.

By Jaswinder Singh

I talk, write and then talk some more, usually about humor, wine and food. Creative arts = life. Nutella = bliss. Road warrior. Single, raising a dog, twice drove cross country from Delhi to Mumbai in a tiny car, can clean out nutella jars like no one else. Part time stand-up comic, full time joker.