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Regions

Comprehensive description of all European growing areas, their grape varieties, traditions and legal rules with maps.

Description to Balearic islands

Spain is a group of islands in the western Mediterranean Sea with a land area of over 5,000 km². The history of the Balearic Islands has always been strongly connected with the region of Catalonia, which is why Catalan is also spoken there today (besides Castilian). Many places got Catalan names again after the Franco-rule from the middle of the 1970ies. The centre with Mallorca is located approximately 260 kilometres at the east of the Spanish mainland at the height of Valencia. The five main islands are Mallorca, Menorca, Cabrera, Ibiza and Formentera. There are also 146 uninhabited islands. Politically, the Balearic Islands are divided into the two provinces of Gimnesias in the north (Mallorca, Menorca, Cabrera) and Pitiusas (Eivissa, Formentera) in the southwest.

Balearen - Karte mit Inseln

Probably the Phoenicians brought viticulture to the Balearic Islands. Under Roman rule, wine was praised by Pliny the Elder (23-79). During the almost five centuries of Arab rule from the 8th to the 12th century, viticulture only lasted because dried grapes were a very popular food. In 1221, Jaime I conquered (1213-1276) conquered the islands and later founded his own kingdom of Aragon (which also included French Roussillon and Spanish Catalonia), which lasted until 1343. During this period, wine from Mallorca was even delivered to the Spanish royal court in Madrid.

At the beginning of the 19th century, the area under vines was about ten times larger than today. The phylloxera put an abrupt end to this in only three years at the end of this century. The tourist boom from the beginning of the 1960s onwards led to growing wine consumption, but the wines at that time were of rather poorer quality. Today, viticulture is concentrated on the largest island, Mallorca (3,640 km²), but is less important on the other islands. In the 19th century it was famous for its sweet Malvasia wines, which were equal in quality to Madeira. However, after the phylloxera catastrophe the vine was hardly planted anymore. All the islands have a warm and dry climate with around 300 days of sunshine a year. The vineyards cover about 2,000 hectares.

About 80% of the red wines are produced from the most important variety Manto Negro, as well as Cabernet Sauvignon, Callet, Fogoneu and Tempranillo. The white wines are made from the most important variety Moll(Prensal), as well as Macabeo (Viura), Parellada and Chardonnay. There are the two DO areas Binissalem (400 ha) in the centre and Plà i Llevant (225 ha) in the east of the island. Land wine areas(IGP) are Eivissa, Formentera, Illes Balears, Illa de Menorca, Mallorca and Serra de Tramuntana-Costa Nord. Well known producers are Macíà Batle, Son Bordils, José L. Ferrer - Franja Roja, Florianopolis, Castell Miquel, Miquel Gelabert, Toni Gelabert, Can Majoral, Jaume Mesquida, Vins Nadal, Anima Negra, Miquel Oliver, Hereus de Ribas, Pere Seda and Ca'n Vidalet.

Map: from NorthNorthWest, Own plant, using OpenStreetMap, CC BY-SA 2.0, Link
edited by Norbert F.J. Tischelmayer - June 2020

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