The summer of 2018 was officially confirmed as the warmest on record and what better way to enjoy all this sunshine than wining and dining outdoors drinking plenty of fine wine. This was also the year of island wines and in August I chose to focus on the delights from the island of Mallorca. One of my most exciting visits was to the 4 Kilos Vinicola winery on the south eastern side of the island near the town of Felanitx.
Francesc Grimalt founded the Ánima Negra winery in 1994 making the wine there as a partner until 2006 before leaving to start afresh, setting up the 4 Kilos Vinicola winery. At Ánima Negra, Francesc was one of the first winemakers to focus on crafting serious wines from the indigenous red Callet grape and this interest has continued at his new winery.
In the Vineyards with Francesc Grimalt
The name 4 Kilos refers to the 4 million pesetas (€24,000) that Francesc and his partner Sergio Caballero invested in their new winery (in Spanish, one kilo is a coloquial expression to say one million). According to Francesc and Sergio, there’s no need to be a millionaire to make wine; more importantly you need plenty of passion and be prepared to put in the hard work.
The converted barn that is now their winery
Their first vintage was made in the garage of a friend using stainless steel milk tanks and then in an old sheep barn that was later converted into a winery. This was part of a property owned by Francesc’s parents on the outskirts of Felanitx in the south east of the island. They currently own around 30 hectares of vineyards and also source fruit from growers all over the Island explaining their use of the Vi de la Terra Mallorca designation for all their wines.
Some of the vineyards around the winery with vines planted on varying patches red ferrous clay, gravelly sand and clay limestone.
Varieties currently used include local grapes Callet, Manto Negro, Monastrell and Fogoneu together with Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. The trend is to gradually move more towards using predominantly indigenous varieties. Indeed the fact that their 15,000 bottle flagship red 4 Kilos production is now produced from single-varietal Callet sourced from old vines grown on the red ferrous-clay soils locally known as call vermell (in Catalan vermell means red) is testament to their commitment to indigenous varieties.
Red ferrous-clay soils around the winery
Their 12 Volts (around 45,000 bottles) label is a blend of normally 60% Callet with a percentage of international grapes including 20% Syrah, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Merlot. Despite the fact that indigenous grapes produce lighter wines, the wines are nevertheless more expressive and accentuate the true Mediterranean terroir characteristics of the island. Oak is limited to foudres and large barrels of up to 600 litres with only the occasional 225 litre barrique used.
Two new wines have been launched in recent years. The Motor Callet brand is used for alternative, experimental batches vinified in terra cotta and stainless steel tanks from grapes sourced around the island with the wine changing slightly every vintage.
A Premium wine called Grimalt Caballero (1,000 bottles) combines the surnames of the two founders and exhibits a rather particular coat of arms on the label. It is also their most delicate expression of Callet with purity and an authentic Mediterranean character.
4 Kilos Gallinas Y Focas Sa Cussa Antonia Blanco 2017, Vi de la Terra Mallorca, 12 Abv.
Grapes for this wine come from a callaboration between Amadip.Esment and 4 Kilos Vinicola and the wine is made by Francesc Grimalt. A blend 60% Prensal and 40% Macabeu, this organic certified white has a charming nose of waxy orange peel accentuated by 24 hours skin contact maceration for the Macabeu. The aromatics are beautifully complex showing peach stone, beer hops, bruised apples. crushed limestone and savoury leesy notes. The palate is finely balanced with a creamy soft yellow orchard fruit glycerol richness, soft clean acids, crushed gravel minerality and a delicately pithy finish with orange peel and green pear nuances. A minimal intervention wine with wonderful harmony and balance achieved through thoughtful, accomplished winemaking. Drink now to 2022.
(Wine Safari Score: 92/100 Greg Sherwood MW)
4 Kilos 12 Volts 2017, 12.5 Abv.
60% Syrah Carbonic & 25% Callet, Cabernet and Merlot. Bottled in June 2018, this shows a bright lifted vibrant nose of strawberries, bramble berries, loganberry and a pithy graphite spice. Lovely density and plush texture, finely balancing mineral grip, fresh strawberry pip notes and dry powdery grip. Wonderful earthy note, plummy spice and bramble berry length.
(Wine Safari Score: 93/100 Greg Sherwood MW)
4 Kilos Motor Callet 2017 Blend, 11 Abv.
Mostly Callet grown clay soils then aged in terra cotta and concrete then blended in stainless. Red plum, raspberry, strawberry purée. No stems used but shows a delicious sappy spice and complex earthy note from the Amphora. Lovely juicy, easy drinking style with layers of red apple, stewed strawberries, redcurrant and a resinous long finish. Really delicious.
(Wine Safari Score: 90/100 Greg Sherwood MW)
4 Kilos Vinicola 2017 Blend Components Tasted From Barrel:
A) 4 Kilos Components 2017
Callet from red ferrous soils, to be bottled in Feb 2019. 12.5 Abv. Rich ripe and deeply fruited with black and red fruits, earthy strawberry and sappy bramble berry. Vibrant and fresh, plenty of crystalline purity and sleek textural elegance. Wonderful harmony.
(Wine Safari Score: 91-93/100 Greg Sherwood MW)
B) 4 Kilos Components 2017
Callet from red ferrous soils but with more sand Component from 60 to 80 year old vines. Lovely strawberry pith, dusty minerality, slate, mint leaf and dried herbs. Palate full of strawberry, red cherry, graphite and pithy and gravelly mineral finish. A very precise wine.
(Wine Safari Score: 92-93+/100 Greg Sherwood MW)
C) 4 Kilos Components 2017
Callet from red soils and gravel picked 3 weeks later than previous two components. Darker more earthy raspberry, bramble berry and strawberry fruits. Wonderful sappy depth, dusty gravelly minerality and focused red fruit core and more linearity. A perfect blending partner but perhaps a bit serious on its own.
(Wine Safari Score: 90-92/100 Greg Sherwood MW)
D) 4 Kilos Components 2017
Callet plot on deep gravels from very old vine single vineyard. Darker black berry fruits, hints of mulberry and bramble berry but also more saline, reductive notes. Dusty, mineral, sappy and leafy with piquant spicy notes, peppery black berry and a direct, linear delivery on the taut, mineral finish. Has it’s merits but more appealing in a blend.
(Wine Safari Score: 89-90/100 Greg Sherwood MW)
4 Kilos Vinicola 2016 Tinto, 12.5 Abv.
Callet based blend that shows lovely deep strawberry and mulberry fruits, plenty of opulence and mouth watering sappy, plummy black berry fruits with superb harmony, balance and raspberry confit finish. Just the most subtle notes of dried herbs, graphite and crushed gravel minerality. Super focus and streamline tannins on a long, delicious finish.
(Wine Safari Score: 93+/100 Greg Sherwood MW)
Tanuki Bob (3,000 bottles) is the second wine of their joint project. Launched with the 2014 vintage, this 90% Manto Negro is partly fermented with stems to get some carbonic maceration and results in a fresh, fragrant, very drinkable expression.
4 Kilos Tanuki Bob Manto Negro Negre 2014, 13 Abv
Blend of 90% Manto Negro with a splash of 10% Syrah. Wonderfully perfumed nose of roses, violets, cassis, black berry and slightly dusty, leafy reductive notes. Palate is light footed, sleek, but deliciously concentrated with a caramelised black berry depth, sugared nuts, and an impressive, vibrant sappy depth.
(Wine Safari Score: 93/100 Greg Sherwood MW)
4 Kilos Gallines Y Foques 2015 (in Catalan)
4 Kilos Gallinas Y Focas 2015, 14 Abv.
Made from 40-50 year old Manto Negro grown on red ferrous soils but with a lot of Gallet / pudding stones from 3 different vineyards. Such purity and vibrancy on the aromatics that show dried herbs, roses, violets, peppercorn, and crunchy strawberry complexity. Uniquely distinguished, there is plushness and power, balance and harmony, but also electric vibrancy and intensity of red berry fruits laced with stony minerality. 20,000 bottles. (1st vintage 2009). Definitely a wine to track down!
(Wine Safari Score: 94+/100 Greg Sherwood MW)
Innovation never stops at 4 Kilos. Francesc is an obsessive fan of Amphora wines and inspired by the Sicilian wines of Cos Pithos white and red, he has used a number of Amphora for his reds but is current building an unlined “clay brick” fermentation tank made from clay-limestone bricks quarried at the 4 Kilos winery and fired by a friend, to mimic the characteristics of Amphora fermented wines. Promises to be a fascinating project.
Visits by appointment only.
4 Kilos Vinícola s.l.
UK Importer is Indigo Wines