A black box. An unexpected content. One of the best gifts I have ever received. He had been to Mallorca, just before harvest. Seen the staircase to heaven up close.
This black box does not differ that much from other boxes holding six bottles of wine. Most wine boxes are of course not made of elegant shiny black cardboard, but otherwise it is quite an ordinary box. Black, with the name of the producer, Castell Miquel, printed in large white letters.
The difference was found inside. There were only five bottles of wine. And it was not due to fear of overweight on the plane, that the sixth bottle was missing. No, there was better stuff.
Castell Miquel grows many varieties, among them Cabernet Sauvignon. And that was what occupied the sixth place. Several bunches of small, small intense blue grapes of the variety Cabernet Sauvignon. Delicous, small, stuffed with fruit, amazingly sweet.
It is almost three years since I, for the first and up till now the only time, tasted fresh Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. I will gladly do it again. The black box, it went down in the cellar, waiting for the right time to come, and was only this summer picked up again. Time to taste the Stairway to Heaven.
Castell Miquel is located just North of Palma, on the border to the rugged mountains Sierra de Tramuntana, just beside the little village Alaró. Here, in the middle of a steep slope, was a small, picturesque white castle built in the 60ies for a sister in law to Franco. Today, the estate is in German hands and well known for its high quality wines. The appellation is Vi de la Tierra Mallorca and six different wines are produced, among them a Cava. International grape varieties rule: Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah.
The stairway to heaven relates to the estate’s steep terarces of vineyards, above and below the little castle and does not allude to Led Zeppelin’s mega hit. No, the origin is much more devout than that.
Castell Miquel. Photo: Castell Miquel.
Castell Miquel. Photo: Castell Miquel.
The legend says that an angel pointed out this place to a farmer and asked him to plant vines. The wine made from the grapes became the best ever from Mallorca. As a gesture of thankfulness the farmer placed a Madonna statue in a still unlocated cave nearby. The present owner, Professor Michael A. Popp, gave the vineyards the name Stairway to Heaven when he had renovated and replanted the old terraces. A name related to the legend.
If the wines are the best of Mallorca today, we don’t know. We have not tasted any other. But we do know now, that Castell Miquel is really, really good.
Stairway to Heaven Blanco. Based on Sauvignon Blanc, that is what the website states, and that is also the only grape name present in His notes from the visit. However, here ought to be something more. The characteristic Sauvignon markers are gentle and complemented by spicy and floral notes.
Yellow, with a light greenish hint. Developed on the nose with a vegetative character of hay, a bit boxwood and some waxy notes. To that a floral impression of honeysuckle and a layer of spicy nuances: mint, white pepper and a sprinkle of vanilla. On the palate dry, the body is medium plus with balanced acidity. Fruity with citrus, light vegetative notes and a small handful of wet stones. Very good length, round, some complexity and nice mouthfilling fruitiness.
Very good, catches our interest with the nice layer upon layer experience in the aroma palette.
Stairway to Heaven Rosado. A rosé of the more powerful kind, made of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon and 50% Syrah.
Dark strawberry lemonad in colour, almost medium intensity. Developed to mature pronounced nose, dominated of nearly dry fruit; ripe, concentrated red berries, strawberries, wild strawberries and raspberries, all soaked in black currant juice and spiced with dry herbes. Light body, with medium acidity, hardly noticeable tannins and a very light delicious fruitsweetness on the palate, where the impressions from the nose returns. Fine length dominated by strawberry jam.
Beautiful rosé with potent character.
Stairway to Heaven Cabernet Sauvignon 2008.
The estate’s premium wine. Fermented on tank, where some are lined with oak, then matured twelve months on small French and Hungarian barriques.
Intense, red-tawny colour. Pronounced, developed to mature bouquet with some complexity. Blackcurrant, dried fuit, raisins, light spicyness, leather and well integrated oak. Almost fullbodied, well balanced with lively acidity and clear, round tannins and very good structure. Excellent length with juicy blackcurrant fruitiness.
Delicious Cabernet Sauvignon, approaching the end of best drinking window. We will happily enjoy the other bottle this autumn.
Monte Sion Cuvée 2008.
40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Syrah and 20% Merlot.
Medium intensity, red to tawny. On the nose, developed to mature pronounced, delicous bouquet of blackcurrent, blackberries, a bucket of root vegetables and oak. Almost fullbodied with lively acidity and balanced tannins. Fruity character of blackcurrant, prunes and roots. Excellent length with ripe, sweet fruits.
Beautiful wine, vigorous with mature notes. Also this wine approaching the end of best drinking window.
The wine enthusiast passing Mallorca should definitely spend some time at winery visits. Decanter’s quite recently publiced travel guide can give some good advice. Castell Miquel is found among the recommended visits together with seven other producers, most of them within “spitting distance” from each other.
This is a translation of a post originally published 2 September 2014 on my Swedish blog “Ljuva Druvor”; Stairway to Heaven.