I was invited to learn more about (and taste) a few wines from Jumilla, a place I have not yet visited and whose wines I knew only from my studies, I was excited to dig in!
Sixteen years ago, I visited Spain for the first time. My plan was to stay ten days; I ended up lingering there for four weeks. During the day I attended Spanish immersion classes, at night I was out on the town with school mates, who hailed from around the globe. My dreams became reality, and I didn’t want to wake up. Oh, Andalucia, I succumbed to all your charms!
Subsequent trips introduced me to the hustle and bustle of Madrid, the eye-popping artistry of Barcelona, and the dramatic, death-defying gorges of Ronda. All of them left indelible memories and gave me colorful stories to tell.
But no matter which city you visit, Spain has a way of seeping into your heart, working her magic on you slowly, subtly. Food, wine, music – and the warm, welcoming people – create an irresistible environment, one that you will dream about until the day you return. After that first adventure, it took me three weeks to unpack my suitcase, and I listened to Flamenco music every night. I blurted out my fledgling Spanish to anyone who would listen, yearning to be back in Spain again!
So, it should come as no surprise that when I was invited to learn more about (and taste) a few wines from Jumilla, a place I have not yet visited and whose wines I knew only from my studies, I was excited to dig in!
Where Is Jumilla?
Jumilla lies in southeastern Spain, in the province of Murcia. Its 22,400 hectares lie to the west of Valencia and northeast of Granada. The Mediterranean Sea is close but does little to modify the Continental climate of the region: hot, dry summers and cold winters are the norm, and the sun shines 3,000+ hours per year. Winds blow through the vineyards, checking humidity and reducing disease pressure on the vines. In fact, organic farming is common here, with approximately 70% of the DOP’s vineyards certified.
Many vines are planted at altitude between 320 and 1,000 meters above sea level, which also helps moderate high temperatures during the growing season. Soils are predominantly limestone and gravel, created by ancient mountain deposits dating to the late Miocene/Pliocene Era and the early Pleistocene Era. The deep alkaline soils retain water, offering a lifeline to the vines during a drought.