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Wine in Mallorca, Spain – A Vacation in a Bottle


October 5, 2015 | Blog

The olfactory bulb is a part of the brain’s “limbic system.” The limbic system is a part of the brain that is so closely tied to memory and feeling that it’s often called the “emotional brain.” This is why a particular scent can bring back a flood of memories you might have completely forgotten about. The sharp citrus of a green apple may remind you of a Summer you spent on the beach when you were ten years old, or a cheap beer might remind you of a college party you attended fifteen years ago. The relationship between scent and memory is further enhanced by the brain’s habit for conditioned response, attaching specific scents to memories that match.

But we hardly need to tell a wine lover this, right? Even if you don’t know much about the science behind it, you know that strong scents and tastes can conjure up an orchestra of memories and feelings. The right wine can be as emotionally complex as a good book or a favorite movie.

Maybe this is why certain people won’t go on any vacation without bringing a few bottles home from a wine tour. It’s almost like a secret trick they’ve learned to extend any vacation for as long as they please. When you’ve had a particularly rough day at work, or when you popped a tire on the way home, or heck, when your favorite TV show gets canceled, you can pop open a bottle of Pere Seda or Macia Batle, and, like magic, you’re right back in your room at the Hoposa, breathing in the salty sea air, gazing out at the seagulls, the sky so blue that you wonder if it was even real, or something you saw in a painting.

A sommelier’s palate is important, but the palate is nothing without the nose. The tongue is said to be capable of tasting five or six different flavors, depending on who you ask. The nose can smell around one trillion scents according to new data. That number sounds made up, right? Well, we’re not making it up. However important the tongue may be, it’s the nose that gives a taste its complexity. Pinch your nose and you’ll be able to tell salty from sweet, but beyond that, you’ll barely even be able to tell a white from a red.

The vineyards in Malloca, like Jose Luis Ferrer and Mortitx, produce tremendous wines. You can order a bottle online and you won’t be disappointed, but… you’ll be missing out on the context of the flavors and scents. When you put on sunscreen, all you can think of is the beach, right? Well, would you even jump to that association had you never been to a beach? If you’ve never seen the ocean, you might associate sunscreen with long drives home in the Summer, or a business trip you took to Phoenix, Arizona. It’s only because you have those pleasant memories to draw on that you associate the scent of sunscreen with pleasant memories. Truthfully, it doesn’t smell objectively better than most moisturizing lotions, but because we associate it with beach balls and sandy feet and boogie boards and the freedom we enjoyed from June to August back when we were still in school, we love the scent of sunscreen. A bottle of Mortix has a wonderful nose to it, but it’s even better when you’ve actually taken a guided tour of the vineyard.

It may sound corny, but bringing some wine home from Mallorca really is like bringing home a “vacation in a bottle,” a piece of the island that you can keep in your cellar or your wine bar and uncork any time you want to get back to the beach and sink your toes into the cool sand.

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