Best Wineries to Visit in Jumilla, Spain

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

I received an email from a reader recently asking which wineries I'd recommend visiting in Jumilla, Spain. Along with 7 other US wine bloggers I visited Murcia, Spain last summer which included the DOs of Jumilla, Yecla and Bullas. Jumilla is the most recognizable name amongst these so I went with that for the title of this post, but wineries in all three DOs are within striking distance and worth considering depending on your schedule.

Jumilla is in the southeastern part of Spain. The best airport to fly into is Alicante (ALC) which is serviced most commonly from the US through connections in Madrid and Amsterdam. Alicante itself is home to some noteworthy wines including Bodegas Volver and their new Triga wine. We stayed in Murcia which is about an hour from the Alicante airport and within 30-45 minutes of most of the wineries and vineyards we'd visit.

The DOs of Jumilla, Yecla, and Bullas are best reached through
the Alicante airport (ALC) and the city of Murcia
Murcia is the home of Monastrell, a grape variety with deep roots here crafted in a bold fruit forward style. When done well it results in a big wines which are amazingly well balanced with refreshing acidity. For me, they're the best next step for exploration if you've developed an affinity for Napa Cabs and you're looking to branch out.
Cathedral of Murcia
The region has evolved in the past twenty or so years from being mostly a producer of bulk wines to being a reliable source of spectacular fine wine values. Along with that, wine tourism in the region has emerged with a an array of tasting rooms and restaurants worth visiting. Check out these Wine Routes in the Region of Murcia from the Instituto de Turismo de la Región de Murcia to connect the dots and start planning your visit (we were hosted by the Instituto de Fomento de la Región de Murcia, the government agency responsible from promoting the region). It was a trip I'll never forget.

Here are five producers to visit...

1. Bodegas Juan Gil/El Nido
Tasting room at Bodegas El Nido
The wines of El Nido are the class of the region and no visit to Jumilla would be complete without tasting them. Tasting El Nido Clio and El Nido proper steps from where it's produced is an amazing experience.

Juan Gil and El Nido are separate wineries within walking distance of each other and a visit there would likely be facilitated through the same host. The great thing about their portfolio is the diversity and value at every price point.

Wines to taste:

2. Bodegas Castaño
Bodegas Castaño's Dominio Espinal
We tasted the wines of Bodegas Castaño over lunch in the vineyards of Dominio Espinal. What was amazing about this experience was that I first came to know their wines through their ultra-affordable (~$7) Monastrell. Getting to know the remarkably down to earth people behind their wines made me like their wines even more.

Wines to taste:
  • Entry level Monastrell (best $7 wine on the planet?)
  • Entry level Rosado
  • Casa Cisca (incredible heavy bottled blockbuster effort that rivals El Nido Clio)
There are a variety of visits available depending on how much time you have and the size of your group:

http://www.bodegascastano.com/en/wine-tourism/visits

3. Barahonda
Winery, tasting room, and restaurant at
Bodegas Senorio de Barahonda
Charming La Castañona residence adjacent to Barahonda
I loved everything about our visit to Barahonda. It was both one of the most polished wineries and at the same time the most down to earth. The people behind the winery are some of the kindest, sharpest, and most authentic we met on our visit.

Wines to taste:
  • Barahonda Barrica (readily available, affordable, WA 92)
  • Heredad de Candela (great story, amazing wine)
  • Zona Zepa (another blockbuster, very hard to find)
Check out their on-site restaurant for lunch:

http://barahonda.com/en/

4. Bodegas Luzón
Bodegas Luzón tasting room
Bodegas Luzón Crianza - recommended!
Bodegas Luzón is one of the more established wineries in the region. You're likely to see at least one of their wines on your retailer's shelves even if their assortment of Spanish wines is limited.

The visit is notable for its polished entrance, refined underground cellars, and the value proposition of their wines.

Wines to taste:
  • Luzón Monastrell
  • Luzón Selección 12 Crianza
http://www.bodegasluzon.com/ingles/luzon-vinos-tienda.php

5. Bodegas Carchelo
Bodegas Carchelo's Director of Enology Joaquín Gálvez
Winemaking lab at Bodegas Carchelo
If I had $1,000 and could invest in a single winery in the region it would be Bodegas Carchelo. And that's mostly due to the knowledgeable groundbreaking enthusiasm their Director of Enology Joaquín Gálvez shares with visitors.

Their lab is front and center in their winemaking facility, which denotes the fact that they're making data-driven decisions on how to continuously improve the quality of their wines. Their current releaes are an attractive slightly modern interpretation of Monastrell, but Gálvez (ex-Luzon) says that Tempranillo and Syrah, if sited properly, can do very well in the region. Definitely keep your eye on Bodegas Carchelo over the next five to ten years.
Typical charming square in Murica, Spain
I hope this is helpful if you're planning a trip to this part of Spain and have a chance to include some wine tasting during your visit. If you have questions or comments I'd love to hear from you. Feel free to drop me an email (wellesleywinepress@gmail.com) or reach me on Twitter: @RobertDwyer

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