Few fans of Jumilla wines are aware that phylloxera reached the region. It did, but not when the bug destroyed the vineyards in Europe. In the case of Jumilla, the arrival of the bug happened one century later, in 1988!
A few visionaries thought the disaster could turn into an opportunity. Vines needed replanting and a good choice was made by re-introducing quality Monastrell clones. Jumilla, once a land dedicated to exports and production of wine in bulk was about to initiate a revolution that still continues today.
The strategy from a winemaking perspective implied a few changes: earlier picking to retain acidity, longer maceration, cooler fermentation, and careful aging. The results were surprising and a good match to seekers of richly ripe and fruity wines. You can enjoy a Jumilla wine tour at some of the wineries in Jumilla. The most beautiful wineries are located in the area known as Carche, a natural protected area. Car is needed to reach el Carche though since it is located at some 10 minutes drives from the town of Jumilla.
Jumilla has a clearly defined terroir. The wine region is named after the town of Jumilla. It is a small town, with not much charm, despite it offers to the visitor a great view of the remainings of an ancient castle at the top of a steep hill.
Vineyards are located between 400 and 800 meters in height (1,300 and 2,625 feet). Vines are planted on light, sandy soils that cover a bedrock of limestone.
The countryside offers not just vineyards, but also olive trees and almond trees. Monastrell is the main grape planted, but you can also find tempranillo (known as cencible here), Garnacha Tinta, and Garnacha tintorera. Foreign grape varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon or Petit Verdot are also planted. Amongst white grapes, we find Airen, Macabeo, and Pedro Ximenez (this last grape is mainly found in the sherry wine country) and it is used to produce sweet wines with overripe grapes.