With millions of tourists visiting Mallorca each year, the island recently was in danger of losing its unique cultural heritage, including viticulture specifically oriented to the preservation of native varieties. But a new generation of winemakers, farmers, and chefs who are diligently cataloging, recuperating, replanting, and exalting the thousands of years of history predating the boom of modern tourism. Like a supernova, the modern wine and food scene there is being rapidly revived.
Enter Tomeu Llabrés and his visionary work with the indigenous Mantonegro grape at his microwinery, Ca’n Verdura, which he founded in a former auto garage in 2012 in the Binissalem region, located in the north-central area of Mallorca. Tomeu has demonstrated this ancient variety has incredible potential, creating some of the most groundbreaking wines of the Balearic region. Tomeu's ancestral origins can be traced back at least six generations. He has traditional vineyards that share space with other crops such as fruit, nut and olive trees. This is the type of polyculture that is traditional to Mallorca.
The vineyards Tomeu farms were planted in 1958. The soil of Binissalem is cal vermell, red clay soil with limestone, and small to medium-sized galets. Every parcel is hand-picked and fermented separately, then blended later. Only indigenous yeasts are used, and his vineyards are worked without the use of chemical treatments, farming organically. A key to practicing this type of agriculture is the Levante winds, which blow across Mallorca from northeast to southwest off the island of Minorca, cooling and aerating the vineyards, which are almost always windy. Tomeu also uses mimimal amounts of sulfur, if any.
After manual harvest in small boxes, the must is held at cold temperatures for four days to separate the gross lees naturally. Then, 20% is fermented in 500-liter French oak barrels, the rest in steel tanks. After five months of aging on the lees, with stirring of the wine in barrels for three months, the wine is clarified before bottling.
“Supernova” blanc is Ca’n Verdura’s premier white wine from the indigenous Moll grape. This complex, island white wine is medium bodied, with a profile of citrus, chamomile, fresh herbs, fennel, and white fruit notes, which provide great freshness. Production is necessarily very limited, as every bottle in this garage winery is sold each vintage.
Mon–Fri Noon–8 / Sat 11–7
Closed on Sunday
1167 N Howe Street
Chicago, IL 60610