The Binifadet Estate is located in the quiet municipality of Sant Lluís, on the tip of the south-east of the beautiful Spanish island of Menorca.
“Binifadet is more than just a winery; it is a life-long family project”
On arriving at Binifadet you will come through a large metal archway with two open gates, giving way to a dusty car park on your left and already the site of vines and a glimpse of what is to come to the right. Our bicycle wheels clatter as we jump and jilt over the uneven, rocky ground that is synonymous with the island. We chained up the bikes (this detail is import, as I would strongly advise against driving if you wish to get the most out of your visit!) and made our way up a shaded sweeping path.
Walking through the bar area (which really comes alive in the evening) we go through the door into the cavernous, airy winery and restaurant. To your left you can see the huge wine vats and straight ahead an enticing array of wines and even more excitingly the glasses laid out ready and waiting for the all-important tasting. Through double doors on the other side you will find the elegantly rustic, vine covered porch, which houses the restaurant, where you can sit and sip with the grapes themselves hanging over your head.
Our visit began with a very hot yet enjoyable tour through the vineyards. Our lovely guide was passionate, friendly and very knowledgeable about every aspect of the wine production. Moving us from one shady spot to the next, she talked us through the history as well as how the vines are nurtured and how the vineyard continues to evolve over time. The more we learnt, the more we saw that the whole thing sounded like one large, brilliant experiment by the estate’s owner, Carlos Anglés.
The first vines were planted in 1979 when Carlos decided to make wine for his family and friends. This was the scintilla of something that would grow into far more than the Anglés family could ever have predicted. It was in 2001, with the purchase of more land, when what we see now really started to take shape. After years of love and experimenting, the winery opened to the public in 2004 and began sharing their dream of wines that truthfully express the land and the majesty of Menorca.
As I mentioned before, the ground in Menorca is very rocky and because of this they have to dig large holes out of the rock which are then filled with red clay soil from the north of the island. The rock is then used to build the beautiful stone walls that contain each plot of land in the vineyard; these are called ‘Tancas’. What this means is that every ‘Tanca’ has the ability to produce quite different wine, even when growing the same variety of grapes. This is because it all comes down to the soil. This makes for quite an interesting and unusual vineyard. Many vineyards strive for consistency and would be terrified of their Chardonnay being completely different each year.
However, Binifadet is small and at just 12 hectares it produces 90,000 bottles a year. This may sound like a lot but actually it’s not many and they will never be able to compete with the big boys. Although it seems that this is not the aim, in fact quite the opposite. They are happy to be small yet exciting and experimental. Having steadily grown and built up the loyalty of their fans each year, the Binifadet brand seems to be more of the money-maker. They have now opened their third restaurant on the island and there is even talk of hotels in the future!
Now for the tasting.
The first wine we tried is what I would refer to as the entry level wine and the crowd pleaser...
Blend of Moscatel, Malvasía and Chardonnay
This wine is light in colour and fresh and vibrant to taste. I would say it has the nose of a Sauvignon Blanc but the taste of a Chardonnay, if that makes sense!? It’s a fantastic sunshine wine as it’s very clean and it doesn’t have a long finish. It’s not the best with food though as it is easily overpowered. We really enjoyed having a glass of this by the pool or at the bar before our meal.
We then tried one of the new wines from the TANCA range. If you remember that word from earlier, it refers to each plot of land contained by the traditional Menorcan walls. Each ‘Tanca’ can produce very different wines as the soil will be different in each one. Under the guidance of the owner’s son, Binifadet discovered that a couple of their Tanca’s had something very special to offer and so this limited-edition range was born.
This wine is bright yellow in colour and has an intensity that the first is lacking. This is an expressive and full-flavoured wine that goes beautifully with any of the gorgeous food on offer at the restaurant. It is an older wine and has been aged in French oak barrels, rested and then allowed to age again for 9 months in the bottle.
We ended the tasting with a red and also had some gorgeous cheese and crackers with a white wine and red wine jam. The whole experience was relaxed yet informative. The place has a very welcoming feel and for us it definitely became a firm favourite. If you are lucky enough to visit this beautiful island don’t miss visiting this place, it’s pretty special.
Merlot & Syrah
The wine is bright cherry in colour and is medium bodied. It’s subtle and well balanced with notes of vanilla, herbs and dark chocolate. It is a very elegant wine and light enough that it’s not too heavy for the hot climate.
The main thing I would take away from our visit is that everything about Menorca, the land and the climate is expressed so perfectly in the wine itself. It is reflective of its Mediterranean location and of the rocks and soil that feed it. The saline and mineral qualities of the soil are present in the flavour of the wine. Our guide said that Menorca has a ‘soft climate’ which produces ‘soft wines’ and she is absolutely right.
BINIFADET has temporarily paused exports to the UK but we will be keeping our eyes and ears open for you.
To find out more of their story click here.