Murcia wine

by Neil Morris

casa de la ermita

Wine production in Murcia is dominated by the Monastrell grape variety (known as Mourvèdre in France), which seems to thrive in the unorthodox wine-growing climate of the region.

The secret to successful growing in the region is location, and the small elevated areas away from the coast - where the night time temperature is cool enough to rest the vines after the intense ripening that occurs during the blisteringly hot days - are in the perfect sweet spot for Monastrell vine cultivation. As a result the wines produced here are full-bodied but retain a sense of freshness and acidity that defies the areas reputation for producing wine of dubious quality.

The reputation of wine in the region was caused by the mass-production of robust wines with high alcohol content that occured in the area for many years. These wines were generally exported for blending or served locally; where wine is often mixed with soda drinks and fruit due to the very hot weather in summer. The revelation that Murcia can produce high quality wines that represent great value has been known for a while but it has taken some time to convince the rest of the wine world.

murcia bodegas luzon

As with many other spanish regions, Murcia has attracted some experimental wine makers as well as some seasoned veterans from other areas (and countries), all keen to make the most of the gnarly old Monastrell vines that survive in the chalky soil and arid conditions. The conditions here are so extreme that even the phylloxera louse, that devastated the majority of European vines in the 19th century, failed to plague the area.

The three Denominaciónes de Origen in the region are Jumilla, Yecla and Bullas. The regions produce mainly red wines, 80% of which utilise the Monastrell grape. The Monastrell wines are generally oak-free as these difficult grapes are not suited to ageing in wood and they are best drunk when young as the Monastrell grape is also prone to oxidation.

casa castillo

Now that the wine makers have tamed this difficult grape in such difficult conditions, they have also turned their attention to other varieties and I expect to see some interesting wines appear on the market in the coming years including whites made from the Viognier and Sauvignon Blanc varieties and reds made from Malbec, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon.

Denominaciónes de Origen

valencia do
utiel requena

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