Saint Catherine said she would not marry anyone who did not surpass her in beauty, wisdom and riches. Standing amidst the neat rows of vines which line the quiet valley and stretch into the forests around, it would appear she has given her approval to the wineries that now bear her name, ‘Bodegas Santa Catarina’.
At this unique vineyard, nestled between the sea and the towering Galatzó mountain, rich fruits slowly ripen in one of the most beautiful locations on the island, and in their own special microclimate that allows the production of some of Mallorca’s best wine - labels proudly displaying their origin - “Vi de la Terra Serra de Tramuntana” - Wine of the land of the Sierra Tramuntana.
So tranquil a location you could hear a Euro drop, it is hard to imagine that you are in Mallorca at all, let alone that a mere ten minute drive along a country lane will take you to Andratx centre. Since 1985, this privately owned vineyard, managed by the famous wineries of Macia Batle, has been producing fine wines. Red from here, the Son Bosch estate in the mountains, and also a selection of red, white and rosé wines bearing the label “Vin de la Terra” – Wine of the Land, from their two other estates, located in optimal grape growing areas in Sencelles and Sineu.
Also wisdom certainly prevails at Bodegas Santa Catarina, who became a pioneer in the utilisation of the native Mallorcan grape, Mantonegro, complementing this with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Pinot Noir. The unique combination of salty sea air, sun and the sheltered valley temperament, means that grapes mature slightly later than in other locations on the island, resulting in a very original red wine recognised for its superior quality and individuality.
In 1987, a cave like cellar was constructed into the mountainside at Son Bosch. “It is made entirely from the Mallorcan sandstone ‘mares’ brought from Santanyi”, explains company owner Ramón Servalls. Apart from blending in perfectly with a landscape that is free of man made structures as far as the eye can see, he explains that the ‘mares’ naturally provides perfect temperature and humidity control all year round, absorbing up to twenty tons of water during the winter months, allowing wine to age perfectly inside over a thousand American and French oak barrels. From this cellar, visitors may sample and purchase wines which are complemented by a range of local products such as sun-dried tomatoes and vinegar.
Seventy five percent of the half a million litres of wine they produce each year stays on the island, offered at many good restaurants, delicatessens and supermarkets. Around twenty five percent is exported to Europe, where Mallorcan wines are becoming increasingly recognised and appreciated. But like much of island’s wine, stock tends to deplete at the end of the season, so to taste this year’s vintage of saintly elixir, visit their vineyards which are open to the public all year round