Thursday, August 25, 2016

Ànima Negra 2012 ÀN/2, Mallorca

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Mallorca is a Spanish island in the Mediterranean Ocean. You can be forgiven if you don’t know this --  but it does produce wine.

A Spanish Enigma

I recently visited Spain and had stops in the that country’s top wine regions, including Rias Baixas, Priorat and Rioja. Lots of wine flowed during that trip.

At no time did I quaff a bottle of wine from Mallorca, one of the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean. That pleasure had to wait until I returned home.

More than a year ago I purchased a “mystery” case of wine from an online retailer. The ÀN/2 was one of the bottles and it provoked puzzlement on my part.

At Least There Is Syrah!

Upon some investigation I discovered that 85% of the wine’s blend was heretofore unknown to me. The leading player is Callet, with 65% followed by 20% Mantonegre-Fogoneu and 15% Syrah. Callet used to be considered a rustic grape, but now is used in deeply colored, low alcohol wines. Manto Negre and Fogoneu are two grape varieties on Mallorca. Whether the grape in ÀN/2 was a cross of these two varieties is still unclear to me.

This wine comes from the Vi De Terra Mallorca region. Vi De Terra is one step below the more prestigious DO in Spanish wine classifications. Although Mallorca received Vi De Terra status in 2007, its history of grape cultivation dates back to 121 BC. For a couple decades in the 1800s, Mallorca produced wine for a thirsty Europe where phylloxera had wiped out most vines. However, Mallorca eventually succumbed to the phylloxera plague as well. In the 1990s, local winemakers decided it was time to invest in their businesses and improve the quality of their wine.

Offbeat And Tasty

Ànima Negra winery is located in the southeast part of the island on an old country estate. Wines are produced from more than 135 parcels of land that the winery either owns or controls.

ÀN/2 is fermented in a combination of stainless steel and concrete to help it maintain its fresh flavors. It is aged in American and French oak barriques for one year. In the glass it is a dark red. On the palate is is medium in body.

Its blend of grapes is unusual outside of Mallorca, but produces beautiful, soft flavors of spice and herbs. The wine has a smoky tone.

For a price of $21, this is a score for fans of food-friendly light to medium bodied reds. It also doesn’t hurt if you like to try offbeat grapes!

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