Sue Ray Uncorked
Prohens S/N, Cami de Son Valls, 07209 Son Prohens, Mallorca, Spain
I had arranged for my husband and I to meet with Jasemin Sevgi Romero, General Manager of Es Fangar, on Tuesday 15 September at the estate just outside Felanitx. As we drove to the end of the long drive bordered by tall trees, we were delighted to be greeted by the winemaker himself, the amazingly talented Daniel Morales.
We followed Daniel onto the estate, where we met Jasemin, and the four of us climbed into Jasemin’s 4-wheel drive for an up close and personal tour of the estate.
Es Fangar is a truly magical place; not only do they produce some fantastic wine, they make and sell a number of natural products as well as specialising in breeding and showing Hanoverian horses. Es Fangar is also home to a range of wildlife including peacocks, rabbits, turtles and wild pigs.
The estate is privately owned, dates back to the 14th Century and extends to approximately 1000 hectares; 600 of which is forest. The stud meanwhile covers 480 hectares and 54 hectares are under vine. Around 60 staff are employed to run the estate and a number of temporary staff are drafted in to cover seasonal events such as the harvest and dressage tournaments.
Jasemin moved to Mallorca 2 years ago, and has been at Es Fangar for only 3 months. She told us that she fell in love with the estate, the wines and with Daniel’s passion as a winemaker.
Daniel has been the winemaker at Es Fangar for 10 years and is originally from Priorat where he used to be with Mas Martinet. He also worked in Montsant and spent one harvest in South Africa. Daniel initially came to Mallorca with another project in mind, but when he received a call from the owners of Es Fangar, his future was decided. His wife now also works at the Bodega.
Originally from Switzerland, the owners of Es Fangar are extremely private people who are passionate about the estate, most notably the horses and the wine. When they decided to acquire Es Fangar, they found somewhere they could retire but remain actively involved with the management of the estate.
The Stud at Es Fangar was created so as to allow the horses to live in freedom and enjoy the natural environment. The estate has custom built stables, each with its own paddock, along with an onsite clinic, pharmacy, riding hall and 6 kilometres of trails for training.
In addition to the Hanoverians bred on the estate, the owners have their own horses and have relocated some former Circus horses. At the time of our visit, there were about 60 Hanoverians and 30 private horses on the estate.
Es Fangar is excited to be hosting the Balearen Tour in 2016, a dressage tournament at which they also hope to participate. Earlier this year, Es Fangar participated for the first time in the Westfalian Regional Championships in Germany and “Dark Rose de Fangar”, a mare born at their stud, was a joint winner of the Bundeschampionale qualification classes.
In addition to the Stud, there are 4 villas on the estate which can be rented. Villa Arabica, in the Moorish style, is located close to the Arabic stables. Villa Mallorquina has a beautiful garden and Villa Porto Colom is designed in a traditional mallorquine style. The largest villa, Villa Son Primavera, can accommodate up to 14 guests.
The estate has been producing wines on a commercial basis since 2010 and the oldest vines are around 10 years old. The grapes are predominantly indigenous varietals, notably Manto Negro, Callet, Premsal Blanc and Giró Blanc. No chemicals are used and Daniel has been experimenting with biodynamic viticulture, which takes into account the position of the sun, moon, planets and stars when performing key vineyard tasks. Soils are gravel and chalk providing good drainage and air circulation, and vine roots are encouraged to search deep for water and nutrients. The Pla I Llevant region in which Es Fangar is located generally has lower levels of humidity than other areas of Mallorca, so less problems with rot. Es Fangar is home to a large population of bees which provide two benefits. Not only do they produce honey, but when grape skins become damaged, the bees drain the grape of its juice so that fungal diseases do not develop.
All production is done by hand. Daniel picks grapes when they are ripe, not simply by the date or the position of the moon. He told us that last Friday had been a “good moon day” but the grapes were simply not ready. He tastes the grapes regularly to assess tannin levels. We tasted some Cabernet Sauvignon grapes which were really sweet and ripe. Daniel is expecting a good harvest this year; last year they had hail at harvest-time which can wipe out whole vineyards.
All of the white grapes, bar the Muscat, were harvested in mid-August and all grapes for the rosés had been picked prior to our visit. The Muscat however had still not received sufficient sun. Daniel pointed out the differences between the Manto Negro with its large loose bunches and the Merlot whose grapes were very small. The Callet bunches in contrast were very compact meaning that rain and humidity could cause problems for this particular varietal.
As we drove around, Daniel pointed out an area of new plantings covering approximately 24-26 hectares, which is made up of Giró Blanc, Callet, Viognier and Manto Negro.
Daniel also showed us the fertiliser which he produces for use in the vineyard; a combination of waste from the bodega, straw and horse manure. It is mixed once a week and covered to allow it to breathe and retain moisture. It even has an in-built irrigation system. After a year or so, it will provide slow releasing nutrients and be used in the vineyard.
As we wound our way through this expansive estate, Jasemin showed us the “Marmalade House” where the finca products are prepared. The estate produces 3 types of olive oil, almond oil and smoked almonds. (Guillem, the olive oil maker, passed us on his bicycle!) Other products include carob, more than 50 varieties of fig, chilli peppers, honey, marmalade, herbs and pure lemon juice. All products are ecologically certified and they are looking to export to the UK and Germany. Bconnected in Palma de Mallorca currently stock a range of Es Fangar products including their wines.
The Bodega is located offsite; approximately 15 minutes’ drive from the estate in the direction of Palma. The current facility produces between 60,000 – 70,000 bottles per annum and has reached capacity. To resolve that problem, they are building a new bodega behind the existing one which will be capable of producing 300,000 bottles per annum. This will be ready for next year’s harvest.
At the time of our visit, Merlot grapes were being pressed. Daniel prefers to use the basket press for black grapes and the pneumatic press for rosés and whites. He sits on top of the tanks to perform “pigeage”, a process which breaks up the cap of skins and other solids and effectively mixes the wine to help extract colour and tannins.
Daniel has been experimenting with ageing a percentage of his rosé in American and French oak and also producing sparkling wine. He showed us a couple of concrete egg fermentation tanks which some bodegas use and which he has also used for experiments.
We not only tasted Es Fangar’s premium wines but Daniel and Jasemin encouraged us to take the rest of the bottles with us, to assess how they developed. Daniel told us that he generally opens the reds a day before drinking to give them time to evolve.
Sa Fita 2014 Blanc 14%
70% Chardonnay blended with 30% Muscat and Premsal Blanc. (8-10% of the Chardonnay in the blend has been barrel-fermented.)
Appearance: clear, bright, pale gold
Nose: clean, pronounced, white flowers, jasmine, ripe stone fruit including white peach, fresh apricots and ripe citrus.
Palate: dry, medium (+) acidity, rich ripe fresh peaches, fresh apricots, melon and citrus. A very elegant, full bodied white with a long finish.
Additional comments: Initially, the Muscat was very pronounced on the nose but after an hour or so in the glass, the stone fruit flavours became more dominant.
Production: 8000 bottles
Lo Cortinel-Lo 2014 Blanc 15%
A blend of Giró Blanc, Viognier & Chardonnay; 90% barrel fermented fruit and 10% stainless steel. (The next vintage will feature predominantly Giró Blanc which produces high levels of alcohol and honey aromas and flavours.) This wine has spent 5 months in French oak and 6 months in the bottle and has only been on the market for 1 week. Only French oak is used for the whites.
Appearance: clear, bright, medium gold
Nose: clean, pronounced, butterscotch, vanilla, honey, mango, ripe banana and pineapple.
Palate: dry, medium (+) acidity, ripe citrus, stone and tropical fruits – all as described on the nose, plus guava and passion fruit. High levels of alcohol, very full bodied, with a very long finish, with hints of almond and marzipan.
Additional comments: This wine is exported to Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Luxembourg and Spain.
Production: 2500 bottles
Fangar Elements 2011 14.5%
A blend of Manto Negro, Cabernet Sauvignon, Callet, Merlot and Syrah. This wine undergoes malolactic fermentation in stainless steel tanks. Once blended, it spends between 12-18 months in a large tank before being bottled. It is unfiltered and aged for a further year in the bottle before being released for sale.
Appearance: clear, bright, deep ruby
Nose: clean, pronounced, blackcurrants, black pepper, all spice, black plums and herbal notes.
Palate: dry, medium (+) acidity, medium (+) sweet ripe soft tannins providing a good backbone to the wine. Lots of ripe black fruit, black plums, blackcurrant, blackberries, herbs and an element of garrigue. Full bodied, with a long finish.
Additional comments: Magnums of this are currently too closed; they will open up with further ageing.
Production: 8000 bottles. (The 2012 vintage produced 13,000 bottles.)
N’Amarat 2010 14.5%
Hand-selected grapes from an average of 5 year old vines; 40% Callet, 20% Manto Negro and 40% Cabernet Sauvignon. Open fermentation in 225 litre barrels which generally produces more approachable wines at an earlier age. Only the best grapes are used to produce N’Amarat. Aged in bottle for a minimum of 2 years; this wine was released to the market in February 2015.
Appearance: clear, bright, deep ruby
Nose: clean, pronounced, tertiary aromas dominate; tobacco, ash, smoke plus black fruits and black pepper.
Palate: dry, silky smooth fine-grained tannins, rich, ripe and very full bodied. Hints of liquorice, dark chocolate and jammy ripe black plums and blackcurrants with a very long finish.
Additional comments: This wine was not produced in 2014 due to poor weather around harvest however production is expected to reach 7000 bottles for the 2015 vintage.
Production: 3200 bottles and 150 magnums.
I would like to extend my personal thanks to both Daniel and Jasemin for their generous time, care and attention dedicated to our visit. Es Fangar is an amazing place and the passion shared by both Daniel and Jasemin in what they do made our visit truly memorable.
Copyright of suerayuncorked.com - September, 2015