Several years ago, I visited the Spanish region of Murcia with a group of wine media colleagues. Strikingly beautiful with an inspiring culture of food, wine and history, I vowed to return to this special part of the world. Now, thanks to my #WorldWineTravel colleagues, a group who travel the world via writing and social media shares, I can! This month, we decided to focus on the regions of Murcia and Valencia – links to their fascinating discoveries are found below. Start packing your bags!
My decision to concentrate on the region of Murcia with emphasis on D.O. Jumilla was prompted by the wines of Monastrell I sipped when walking through the vineyards, at the tasting rooms of family-run bodegas or during lunches and dinners. Balanced with bright acidity and a fresh, flavorful palate profile, the wines of D.O. Jumilla are as expressive and food friendly as they come!
Many interchange the words Mourvèdre with Monastrell and consider it the same grape, but please don’t do that when you are in Spain (or elsewhere for that matter). Monastrell expresses the soil and growing conditions of the region and therefore has subtle nuances different from Mourvèdre, grown extensively in the Rhone region of France and in other areas. Monastrell is the fourth most planted red wine variety in Spain and in the region of Murcia, this dark colored red variety comprises over 50% of plantings.
During my travels throughout the region of Murcia and specifically to the Designated Origins (D.O.) of Yecla, Jumilla, and Bullas, I noted how the topography of the mountain ranges, plains, and desert like lowlands as well as the unique terroir and climate provide optimal growing conditions for Monastrell. The vines grown in stony, sandy clay and limestone are impervious to drought and botrytis bunch rot. They’re well suited to the dry, semi-arid conditions of this area in Spain. Monastrell grows in small, compact clusters of thick-skinned berries and is late to bud and ripen.