WINES OF THE EASTERN COASTAL REGIONS OF THE PENINSULA
The two autonomous regions of the south eastern coast include a total of six regions with denomination of origin.
The region of Valencia has three wine-producing areas: Alicante, Utiel-Requena and Valencia. Renovation is one of the main aspects of wineries and regulatory councils. This change is giving good results, since it is mixing tradition and new techniques in wine production.
The D.O. Alicante is placed in the province of the same name. This Historic region has among its most famous wines the sweet muscats and raisin monastrell-based fondillons. Fondillon is a particular old wine from Alicante made with grapes dried over reedbeds, using a very particular fermentation and ageing process resulting in wines with a very original pungent flavour, with a high presence of alcohol, perfect as a dessert wine. Also reds have raised a great prestige during the last years due to the introduction of new grapes that have adapted themselves very well to the exceptional climate and ground conditions of the region.
The D.O. Utiel-Requena is located at the inland part of the province of Valencia. Reds and rosés are produced in this region with local grape bobal as their base. With this rare variety some full-bodied, colourful wines are obtained, showing a good acidity and a low presence of alcohol. Both the excellent conditions for growing this vine in the region and the renovation in its wineries make us expect a splendid future for this denomination of origin.
Four different sub-regions are part of the D.O. Valencia, over the province of the same name. These regions show a great variety between them, which makes pretty difficult to talk about common features. Traditional muscatels, sweet, maderized and splendidly aged in oak, can be found in the Moscatel de Valencia sub-region. Fruity, aromatic and light merseguera-based white wines are produced in Alto Turia, and also in the other two sub-regions: Glariano and Valentino. In Glariano we find monastrell-based reds, showing strong colour and body. Finally, Glariano and Valentino pink wines are nowadays considered among the best ones in Spain. These wines are made with the traditional garnacha in a blend with the local grape bobal. The final result is a fruity and aromatic wine, very appreciated in Europe.
Wines from the Region of Murcia have been known in the past for being sturdy, hard to palate and with a highly alcoholic. Nevertheless, today this is not the main characteristics of its wines, since the fruitiness and bouquet strength of the youthful wines and the good fusion in oak barrels of its vintage wines are the new characteristics of the region’s wines. There are three denominations of origin in Murcia: Jumilla, Bullas and Yecla.
The D.O. Jumilla stretches by the north of the Region of Murcia and a part of the province of Albacete. Due to the climatic conditions, the land and the grapevines (monastrell is the main variety) Jumilla reds have historically been Spain’s strongest ones. The over-ripening of bunches and splitting of sugar, as a result of the kinds of yeast used, make wines get alcohol contents of 17 degrees, more typical of full-bodied generosos, in a natural way. However, thanks to the new production systems and the changes in grape harvest, new high-quality wines –much closer to today’s wine-lovers’ tastes- are being obtained. The addition of foreign grapes (cabernet-saubignon, syrah, merlot) to the traditional monastrell has a lot to do with this improvement. The result is a number of youthful wines that can be placed at the top of our country, because of their fruitiness, freshness, strength and bouquet variety, both in mouth and nose.
The D.O. Bullas is maybe the least popular in the region. It is characterized for the production of wines in Co-ops. Its best wines keep being youthful reds, made with the monestrell grape.
The D.O. Yecla, is located on the North of the Region of Murcia. Like its neighbouring region of Jumilla, this region produces traditional strong, alcoholic wines. Nowadays, wineries have started doing more balanced wines in which the aromatic complexity of monastrell prevails without the hardness of past times’ wines.