A strong desire to give their daughters the best possible childhood was the inspiration for Emelie and Dan Marsh to move from the UK to Mallorca in 2010. Since moving to the island they have been working towards a dream, which is very close to becoming a reality. Emelie is a competitive show jumper originally from Sweden, and Dan comes from a hospitality background, managing groups of pubs, restaurants and hotels in the UK, and creating an events company in Mallorca specialising in cycling; they have combined these experiences and together with a love of wine, fun and community they have created “Ses Rotes, Wine and Horses.”
The Ses Rotes estate, which is close to Esporles, was something of a find. “When we first came to the island we kept my horses at livery, but we were always looking for somewhere to buy and develop,” said Emelie.
When the couple discovered the Ses Rotes finca in 2017 they knew that their project could begin. Ses Rotes was originally the smaller house on the Canet estate. Extending along the Esporles valley, it dates back over 200 years. The fertile soil of the land around Ses Rotes was used as small holdings for the inhabitants of Esporles to grow their own vegetables. In the late 1960’s, the estate was reinvented as a venue for large parties. With a huge restaurant, a disco and riding arena, it was the perfect setting to enjoy a typical “Fiesta Andaluza” in the countryside. On a night, you would regularly see up to 500 people: a mix of locals and tourists, enjoying a display of traditional Spanish horses whilst feasting on roasted meat followed by dancing into the early hours of the morning. As the tourism in Mallorca evolved, so did Ses Rotes. The horses remained, but the parties became more private and it was known as one of the best venues on the island for large wedding celebrations. Now it is being given a new lease of life with an extensive redevelopment including creating six hectares of vineyards and 7 star horse accommodation.
The equine side of the project is already flourishing with two foals being born last year on the estate. Emelie has established a name for herself in the show jumping community internationally and she is sent horses to develop at the estate with her team. I am not exaggerating when I say that the stables and facilities are quite the best I have seen in Mallorca plus they have a covered riding arena which I think is unique to the island. I was first invited to the Ses Rotes estate last summer where I was part of a grape picking party to bring in the harvest for the 2020 vintage. It was a great experience, and a novel way to meet some new people. We arrived early in the morning, before the sun got too hot to work, and filled crate after crate of grapes. I don’t personally know much about wine, but it is on my list of things I would like to know more about, but I am told that we were picking Callet and Sauvignon grapes at the times that I was part of the picking gang.
After the morning’s work was done we were invited to a couple of glasses of the previous year’s wine whilst chatting and relaxing under a tree in the vineyard, it was a blissful experience in a beautiful setting. Ses Rotes is located on the edge of the mountains of the Serra de Tramuntana in a south facing direction. At a slightly higher altitude and with the prevailing sea breeze down the valley, the temperature is a few degrees cooler than the more traditional wine areas of Mallorca. We picked in August and then the grapes made their way through several stages of processing with the resulting wines were bottled just this week at the end of March. Many of the people who were involved in the picking turned up to be part of the bottling as well. Dan demonstrated the process that the grapes had gone through to reach the final stage. How interesting, and satisfying to see something from the beginning to the end, and then taste the literal fruit of your labour. The wines themselves are very pleasant indeed. Dan has recruited a great production team in Andreu Oliver Tril, Jaume Fullana and Gaspar Alemany, all locals with an extensive knowledge of wine.
“Emelie and I are big fans of the greener, fresher tasting Sauvignon Blancs from New Zealand, the lighter Rosés from Provence and younger Mallorcan reds,” said Dan. This year’s offerings will be a white Sauvignon Blanc, a red Callet and a rosado Callet. Plus the team is creating a new wine to the area, an amber (or orange) wine.
“We appreciate a glass or two with our food and we fell in love with an orange wine on a piazza in Florence!” The wine is created by leaving the grape skins in the fermentation tanks for longer, and with that different colour comes a bolder taste as well. “We have created a Sauvignon Blanc Orange wine that we think will perfectly accompany food in the warmer summer evenings of Mallorca.”
How can you get your hands on a bottle? Well, the Ses Rotes label will be found in a few places around the island, including, I believe, the Palma Tennis Club and Hotel Portixol and Esplendido in Soller. Plus you can get it directly from Ses Rotes themselves. You can also apply to join the gang as a grape picker and get your hands dirty in the vineyard when harvest comes around. To join up you must visit https://www.sesrotes.com/community/ and complete the form. Ses Rotes comes highly recommended both for the wine, the horses, and the experience. In the future Emelie and Dan have more plans for events at Ses Rotes, and if their enthusiasm, passion and hard work is anything to go by, it’s going to be a fun ride, with some delicious cold beverages.
If you would like to listen to an interview with Dan and Emelie you can do that by visiting https://majorcamallorca.buzzsprout.com/ and listening to episode 26, enjoy!