Son Puig Crianza, Mallorca, Spain 2014

Son Puig Crianza.jpg
Son Puig Crianza.jpg

Son Puig Crianza, Mallorca, Spain 2014

from 18.50

One of the many hardships we endure as wine professionals is having to visit vineyards and meet the winemakers. These stoically-undertaken trials are usually accompanied by the sort of picturesque views, convivial conversations and long lunches that would test the willpower of all but the hardiest amateur. Ghastly as the prospect may seem to the outsider, we ceaselessly rise to the challenge, and on one particularly grey Gatwick morning last year, we set off towards that jewel in the Mediterranean Sea, the island of Mallorca. After a restorative bite to eat overlooking the harbour, we schlepped, notebooks and all, into the Tramuntana hills above Palma to meet Isabel Alabern, the winemaker at Son Puig.

The catalyst for our journey was a single sip of wine. It was the Son Puig Crianza 2014 and, aside from it tasting wonderful, had such integrity and authenticity about it that it made us want to know who was behind it. It’s just like when you read a great book, you want to know more than it says on the dust jacket. The fact that the bodega is an architectural marvel built within a restored 16th century palacio situated in one of the most beautiful landscapes in Europe had absolutely nothing to do with it. 

We were shown around the winery, which takes up the whole of the ground floor of the building, so whether you are a grape or a human being, you enter through the archway into the main courtyard and by the time you have weaved your way from to room, you either emerge as a bottle of wine or in need of one. It has involved extraordinary ingenuity to create this labyrinthine process, but that’s a typical product of ‘island mentality’, when you can’t just drive down the road and buy all the kit you need. A very quick example of this smart thinking shows in what Isabel does with her oak barrels. New barrels impart wonderful flavours, but they are expensive and have an undesirable ecological footprint, so Isabel shaves 15mm off the inside of each new barrel after the previous year’s wine has been racked off, which effectively creates a brand new barrel from the old one. Using this technique, she says she can get 3 barrels out of one.

This is beginning to sound like a travelogue, when I really should be advocating that you buy this wine, so here goes. Buy this wine, it’s really good. It’s not mind-blowing or full of aromatic pyrotechnics, and I’m not going to pretend it beat Vega Sicilia in a blind tasting, but it’s hard to imagine why anyone weaned on high quality European wine wouldn’t think it delicious and particularly inexpensive for the quality on offer. It has flavours that evoke above average claret (the Cabernet Sauvignon brings that lovely cassis and pencil quality, while the Merlot fleshes it out with notes of red-fleshed plum) and the indigenous varieties Callet and Ull de Llebre give it local colour. 14% alc. Drink now-2022

Press review:

Jancis Robinson (Tamlyn Currin): "Pure, very slightly smoky, red plums. On the nose a tiny, mouth-watering suggestion of melted gruyère, and on the palate just a big, belting, chest-heaving, arms-wide soprano of glorious red fruit. Then smoke. And graphite. And just a tremolo of spice. Parenthetical tannins, which you barely notice because you’re just closing your eyes in the resonance. Long and satisfying and you wrap yourself around it without noticing." 17 points

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