The times they are a-tasting
“... and this one was created by a German engineer. The man who invented that thing in drawers that make them glide shut quietly ...”
“Soft close drawers,” Patricia, an architect, interjects.
“That’s right,” says the wine expert, pouring a generous round of another excellent Mallorquin white wine into six hungry glasses.
“I normally only drink red,” says Patricia, “but oh how I’ll make an exception!”
One of the many things to enjoy about the “new normal” is how many companies innovate, change with the times and adapt. Understanding what ‘service’ really means, they do everything they can to make sure your life is as easy and comfortable as possible.
One such company is Wine Industry Mallorca, who used to run a successful wine bar in Palma. Was it blind luck or a keen, almost supernatural prescience that made the owners, Lara Corfield and husband Iván González Gaínza, get out of the premises in January 2019?
“No, no,“ laughs the luminous Corfield, when I meet the couple in their well appointed flat in Genova, decorated with beautiful cushions designed and handmade by her.
“It was just that I was tired of cooking and wanted to concentrate on the business side of things like creating websites and marketing us on social media.”
Apparently Wine Industry, with the affable Iván behind the bar and his wife doing the catering, had quickly become a victim of their own success, as more and more customers wanted whole dinners as well as bottles and bottles of wine instead of little wines by the glass and tapas and other nibbles.
So they set out to reorganise the business, concentrating on winery tours, cooperating with travel operators.
And then came March 2020.
And I, for one, am glad!
For if it hadn’t been for Covid, I would probably never have tasted the excellent Mallorquin wines Son Puig, Oloron, Son Juliana, Vi d’Auba and the beautiful, nay, spectacular, 7103 with its quirky labels featuring vintage cars.
Because you see, when I heard that one of the many innovations Wine Industry have made was Home Visit Wine Tasting, where Wine Industry provides all the glasses AND tapas, I booked a session there and then.
Build it and they will come, I thought, knowing arranging this particular party wouldn’t be like herding cats. I was right. Six people signed up before I could say “corkscrew.”
When Iván González turned up, exactly on time and with crates and crates of gleaming stemmed glasses (that I wouldn’t have to wash up later!) and wine bottles, I entered into a state of ecstasy from which I have yet to emerge.
It’s always fun to watch someone in action who knows what he is doing, and Iván, a native of Tenerife, was so knowledgeable and entertaining I almost wished the whole séance wasn’t done while I was, er, drinking - I would gladly have listened to him give a lecture on Mallorquin wines stone cold sober.
He had helpfully brought sheets of paper where we could take notes on the wines; were they Floral? Fruity? Of a Green tint? Of Pronounced intensity?
In my notes it just says: MEAT.
Because this is why I think Mallorcan wines are the best I have ever tasted and the reason why I asked Wine Industry to bring no other wines: They are so meaty, so exploding with rich, drawn out, crunchy flavour, that even I would choose a more expensive wine over a cheap if I knew the former was from this sweet island.
And I wouldn’t say 8 euros for a bottle of excellent rosé delivered to your door; a wine that tastes even better (meatier) a couple of days after opening, is particularly expensive.
Fortunately the pair, so passionate about wines that their two cats are named after grapes (Callet and Malvasia), could still deliver wines around the island even during lockdown, and Iván willingly admits he rather liked those months:
“Yes, wine was considered essential, so I was able to drive all over the island delivering. I loved it! The roads were completely empty. It rained a lot so the countryside was lush green. It was brilliant.”
The couple then set up the group Wine Lovers Mallorca with online wine tasting and home deliveries. Lara got busy designing Facebook and Instagram pages, business cards and fliers.
‘Yes, we have to be creative. We can advertise alcohol on social media but we cannot 'sell' alcohol via the social media shops that FB and Instagram have created. The only way around it is for us to add wine related gifts to the shop in order to give our company greater exposure - for instance, mobile wooden picnic tables that are designed to support wine glasses,” Lara explains.
I tell you, the people behind Wine Industry Mallorca are nothing if not inventive.
“Oh! I know you!” my friend Elisabeth exclaims as Iván pours her a glass of 7103 white.
“You had a bar in Santa Catalina! My husband and I used to go there a lot.”
Well, in these modern times there is no need to “go to a bar in Santa Catalina.” The bar will come to you!
Make sure you ask for Mallorcan wines though, not only to support the small local wineries whether they have been here for generations or are newly established by a German engineer, but because they are, quite simply, the best.