Monastrell, called Mourvèdre and Mataro elsewhere in the wine world, comprises more than 75% of plantings in the dry, inland wine region of Jumilla located in Spain’s southeast corner. And Jumilla is home to Europe’s largest planting of ungrafted 90-year-old bush vines. What better way to discover Jumilla than with a tasting of wines comprised entirely of Monastrell? The three wines in this tasting are made by different wineries in the region and bottled for the Consejo Regulador de la Denominación de Origen Protegida Jumilla, the regulatory board of the region. We received these wines as tasting samples.
An Brief Introduction to Jumilla
DOP Jumilla covers about 47,000 acres within the provinces of Murcia and Albacete where more than 2,000 growers tend the vines. 45 wineries in the region, most located in the town of Jumilla, make wine in a region where winemaking dates back thousands of years. Jumilla received its official designation as a wine region in 1966, which makes it one of the oldest in Spain. The region takes its name from the municipality and town of Jumilla.
The climate is sunny and dry with rain that can be heavy and sporadic. Summertime temperatures are hot and winter is very cold. Soils are rocky and comprised of limestone and gravel. The poor soils do have very good water-retention qualities, which helps with the irregular rainfall. Some vineyards are located at elevations between 1,050 and 2,952 feet above sea level.
Because the region is so warm and windy, disease pressures are low during the growing season and organic farming is practical; an estimated 90% of vineyards in Jumilla are farmed organically. Red wines comprise the majority of wine production in Jumilla and Monastrell is also blended with other red varieties including Garnacha, Garnacha Tintorera (Alicante Bouschet) and Syrah. A small amount of white, rosé (rosado) and sweet or fortified wine is also made in the region. Monastrell is drought tolerant and thrives a warm, sunny climate making it the perfect variety for the region’s harsh growing conditions.
Let’s Taste Jumilla Monastrell
2020 Rosado, DOP Jumilla — translucent raspberry color with generous aromas of roses and ripe boysenberries. Flavors include strawberries, cherries, blackberries and citrus supported by lively acidity and light tannins without noticeable sweetness. 13% abv. SRP $10-$12
Beautiful aromas and flavors taste like summertime in a glass. This rosado is made from free-run juice by Bodegas Alceño, located in the town of Jumilla. The winery recently celebrated their 150th anniversary.
2020 Monastrell Tinto Joven, DOP Jumilla —light ruby with generous aromas of strawberries, blackberries, earth and berry bramble. Flavors include cherries, raspberries, strawberries and blackberries with dusty earth, drying and gauzy tannins in a medium body. The finish is long with plenty of lingering fruit flavors. 14% abv. SRP $10-$14
This lively red wine is certified organic and made without oak aging. It’s just what you want to sip on a warm summer evening (just slightly chilled will do nicely.) Bodegas Xenysel is dedicated to Monastrell and makes a range of 100% Monastrell red wines, a rosado and several white wines.
2018 Monastrell Tinto Crianza, DOP Jumilla — medium ruby with aromas of red and dark fruit hints of dried herbs. Concentrated flavors of blackberries, plums and black cherries with earth and spice are supported by drying tannins in a medium body. The finish is medium-long. 14.5% abv. SRP $15-$18
Monastrell is aged in 300-liter French oak barrels for 12 months. The fruit shines through brilliantly with the aromas and flavors developing considerably as the wine aerates. Made by Bodegas Olivares, located in the town of Jumilla. Delicious!
Based on what I’ve tasted here I won’t hesitate to grab a bottle of DOP Jumilla rosado or red wine and I admit I’m curious about the sweet wines of the region. I’m happy for this introduction and thank DOP Jumilla for the taste.