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12 Volts from Mallorca

T. Edward Wines, Organic Wine importer/distributor, 12 volts wine, Karen Ulrich for T. Edward Wines

Meaning ‘black’ in the Mallorcan dialect, Callet is a native grape that with the indigenous Fogoneau comprises a field blend that totals 50% of the 12 Volts 2012 blend.  Recently rescued, in large part at the hands of Francesc Grimalt of 4Kilos Wines, Callet yields light, rustic red wines and thrives in Call Vermell soil, which is rich with reddish clay loam and dotted with stones.  As a parent varietal of Callet, Fogoneau shares similarities with Gamay Noir, and sees limited plantings on the island of Mallorca.  Luckily for us, 4Kilos, along with Ànima Negra, which Grimalt also co-founded, are two of the top producers of Callet blends in Mallorca, yielding a style of wine that we love.

A blend of 50% Callet-Fogoneau, 30% Syrah, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Merlot, 12 Volts 2012 is farmed “beyond organic” by Grimalt and Sergio Caballero (Grimalt’s co-founder of 4Kilos), who practice biodynamic farming while Grimalt holds true that an atheist cannot really farm biodynamically.

From vines that average 20-years in age, the fruit is manually selected, and then macerated and fermented with indigenous yeast in stainless steel vats.  Aged for 12 months, with 40% in foudre, 30% in 2-year-old French oak and 30% in 1-year-old French oak barrels, 12 Volts is neither filtered nor fined, and this year, 4Kilos produced only 3,500 cases.

The unusual and delightful label, which captures the accessible yet unique character of the wine, is designed by Gary Baseman, who lives in L.A. and is represented by Jonathan Levine Gallery in NYC.   Brought onboard by Sergio, who is a working musician and founding partner of the Sonar festival of advanced music, Baseman offers a video glimpse of his work in progress here.

A bright and spicy wine with aromas of fresh red cherries and plums, purple flowers, and granite, 12 Volts 2012 offers light and earthy tannins that uphold the wine’s persistent acidity and spice, which hints at cinnamon and anise.  After some time in the glass, the oak comes whispering through with super slight aromas of toasted caramel; and the spice kicks through to the end. Chill it. It’s fall divine.

For more from 4Kilos, drink Gallinas y Focas.

5 Comments Post a comment
  1. I had this wine on a recent visit to Spain (Cantabri?, to be precise) and loved it. Where can I find it in the San Francisco Bay Area.

    October 7, 2013
  2. xavier borràs #

    “Callet” does not mean black in our dialect, it is a diminutive for “call” which could be translated as “callus” or “corn” but I would never think that’s where the term comes from. Actually, I think it’s just a name, like we call our white grapes “Premsal” and “giró ros”. I must also disagree on the aseveration that Francesc Grimalt rescued this grape, actually, this grape was the only one that survived the philoxera plague at the end of the 19th century and it is the main grape of the wines produced in the east of the island. Where I do agree is that Grimalt makes excellent wines, you must try “4 kilos”, an excellet blend of Callet and Mantonegro. Excellent article and I’m very glad to see our wines are making it that far.

    August 19, 2015
    • Thanks Xavier for the the insight. The wines are indeed beautiful. And Motor America, which we loved last year, recently arrived from 4Kilos!

      August 19, 2015
      • xavier borràs #

        This is very interesting, I have never seen this wine in a restaurant or a shop here in Mallorca (And I am a regular in wine shops of the island), I saw the main grape is Fogoneu, which would be the first time I see this grape acting as main grape and not as supporting grape. I will squeeze my contacts and see if I can get myself a bottle. In the mean while, I’m 2 weeks from tasting for the first time a monovarietel of “Gorgollassa”, a grape that died with the filoxera and has been reported on the island already in the middle ages, the cellar “Can Majoral” managed to restore the plant and now has just released the wine.

        August 19, 2015

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