A dozen members of the Harrogate Medical Wine Society spent a week in Mallorca in April 2013, visiting vineyards and producers and tasting their modern wines, sampling the cuisine and hiking in the Tramuntana Mountains. This is their story.
We left home before dawn. The car was left at Leeds/Bradford airport. Girls at the Jet2 desk were bright and smiling and check-in was pain free. Yorkshire Premier Lounge had hardly anything for breakfast. I ate biscuits and drank black coffee. The flight to Palma was uneventful. Stewards tried their best to sell snacks and drinks and scratch cards for ‘charity.’ Martin and Christina met us at the airport and we drove to Selva in a smart and comfortable sixteen seater Mercedes. There was wall-to-wall sunshine.
Yorkshire Premier Lounge is open daily from 5am to 8pm and provides complimentary snacks, tea & coffee, alcoholic beverages, newspapers & magazines and Wi-Fi. (ID: LBAPREM, Password: harrogate). There are no toilets but flights are called. Cost per person is £17.50. Priority Pass, IOD and Airport Angel cardholders gain free access.
SA BISBAL IN SELVA
The coach stopped in the village square between the church and the bar. We walked up the narrow street to Sa Bisbal and then up a stone stairway to our rooms. I had room 6 on the top floor. It had a corner bath and a balcony overlooking the church. Back on the square, we sat in the sun and ate olives, hamon serrana, tomatoes and bread and drank ice-cold Estella beer. Later at lunch at Sa Bisbal in the garden under the palm tree, we feasted on Aubergine pâté, Aioli, Mallorcan bread, fideua and Walnut ice cream with pastry and drank copious amounts of white wine from Marques de Alella, Parellada and Codorniu and Lens’ own plum and walnut liquor. We were then ready for the tour of the church and Len’s Selva gallery.
Sa Bisbal is a former seventeenth century Mallorcan manor house in the historical center of Selva, a little village at the foot of the Serra de Tramuntana. It has six individually styled bedrooms on three floors (no lift!) and a Mediterranean garden with a small swimming pool and is owned and run by Englishman Len Barnsdale with his Mallorcan wife. Wi-Fi is available. Continental buffet breakfast is served between 8 and 10 am. The hotel is situated next to the fourteenth century church of Sant Lorenc.
WINES OF MALLORCA
The evening started with an introduction to wines of Mallorca from Martin Ward. Mallorca is not exactly renowned for her wines. However, since the late 1980s, efforts have been made to raise the standard of Mallorcan wines with new plantings of indigenous varietals such as Manto Negro, Pransa Blanca and Mallet together with international varietals and the establishment of new wineries. Binissalem was awarded DO status in 1991 and Pia i Lievant in 2000.
DINNER AT CA’AN TONETA
A fleet of taxis took us to the village of Caimari, two kms. down the road from Selva. Small and cosy Ca’an Toneta is run by two sisters, Maria and Teresa. One cooks and the other serves. The tasting menu was broad Bean soup with garlic, salad with raw tuna, Coca – pizza like bread with topping, bacalao with purple artichokes, pork with cabbage and carrot cake with orange juice. We drank endless bottles of Prensal Blanc by Divin (13 months in French oak, dark yellow, oxidative in style like Georgian whites with evident oak), Oliver Moragues 2011 Sauvignon Blanc & Prensal Blanc, and Fernando Coca’s Divin (Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon & Manto Negro). It was well past midnight when we finally crawled in to bed.