Ànima Negra, Vi de la Terra de Mallorca “Quíbia”
Ànima Negra, Vi de la Terra de Mallorca “Quíbia”

Ànima Negra, Vi de la Terra de Mallorca “Quíbia”

Mallorca, Spain 2021 (750mL)
Regular price$32.00

Ànima Negra, Vi de la Terra de Mallorca “Quíbia”

Over the past few years, “island whites” have started to take up an inordinate proportion of not just our offers, but also our at-home drinking. Be it Sardinian Vermentino or Santorini Assyrtiko, little else can match the category’s transportive beauty or sheer deliciousness. Today, we bring you the latest entry into our regular weeknight rotation, Ànima Negra’s “Quíbia.” Salty, flinty, filigreed, this Mallorcan showstopper is everything we could ask for in a bottle of island wine, with a twist: While so many bottles from these isolated locales are a bit spendy, “Quíbia” carries  a price tag that facilitates case-quantity consumption. It comes from single-minded masters of Mallorcan winemaking; it’s a bright, white wine made from white and red grapes; and it’s an easy way to elevate a simple Wednesday night dinner into something special. We’ve already got a few cases stashed away for our home cellars; we suggest you follow suit!

Like so many of the island destinations we adore, Mallorca is undergoing a winemaking revolution. After a decades-long dalliance with international varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay, Mallorcan producers are now turning their attention to the island’s native viticultural treasures. While the wines aren’t widely available now, Mallorca played an important role in the history of European viticulture. When the continent’s vineyards were hobbled by phylloxera, this isolated island stepped up to fill the shortfall. Mallorca had over 30,000 hectares of vines at peak production in the late 19th century. Eventually, phylloxera did make its way here, and over the past century, vineyard land use has shrunk to barely 2,000 hectares. 

Of particular interest to young Mallorcan winemakers is the Callet variety, a red grape that’s blessedly low in alcohol and tannin, despite coming from this hot and dry climate. It’s something like Mallorca’s red counterpart to its breezily fresh white varieties. New grape varieties are being (re)discovered here at an incredible clip, but based on its popularity with forward-thinking young winemakers, Callet could make an early claim as being the island’s most important red variety.

Callet’s position at the forefront of Mallorcan winemaking can be largely chalked up to the work of Ànima Negra. The winery is located in the island’s southeast corner, in an appellation called Pla i Llevant, which rather unimpressively translates to “plain and east coast.” It was founded in 1994 when friends Pere Ignasi Obrador and Miquelàngel Cerdà converted a corner of Obrador’s family’s dairy farm into a winery. They felt Mallorcan wine didn’t quite live up to its potential, a belief confirmed by their first experiments with artisanal winemaking. They quickly garnered an international reputation; until recently, if you had Mallorcan wine off the island, there was a good chance it was Ànima Negra. Thirty years later, they now work with over 135 parcels of vines ranging from 50 to 85 years old. Callet is at the very heart of Ànima Negra’s mission—it was the first variety they worked with and remains the grape they’re most committed to.

But why all the talk of a red grape when we’re here to discuss a beautifully refreshing white wine? Because interestingly enough, Callet comprises almost half the blend in “Quíbia.” The Callet is pressed as soon as it arrives at the winery, allowing the clear juice to ferment on its own. It’s then blended with two indigenous white varieties, Premsal (35% of the blend) and Girò (25%), and aged in stainless steel on fine lees for three months. The resulting wine is a luminous evocation of maritime breeze and Balearic sun. Lemon zest, fresh-cut green apple, peach pit, pulverized chalk, seaspray, struck flint, and volcanic rocks waft from the glass. On the palate there’s enough breadth and texture to bely its warm-climate origins, but a scintillating throughline buttresses the palate before being washed away in a deeply mineral finish. Anyone who’s ever been struck by the singular beauty of Etna Bianco or Santorini Assyrtiko—as we’ve so often been—will find a lot to like here, especially the price tag. So stock up and whisk yourself away to Mallorca!

Ànima Negra, Vi de la Terra de Mallorca “Quíbia”

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