Spring has come again to stir up our senses in the area surrounding our homes at La Manga Club. As nature takes back up its life cycle, we too are revived by every flower that blooms and every plant reborn in the fields and gardens of the Region of Murcia. The grape is following along, and the vines are already in bloom that will give birth to some of Spain’s most valued and exported products: the Jumilla wines. These delicacies, whose praises are sung by expert sommeliers, are native to an area just steps from the residences of our golf resort. Their excellence is attributed to an exceptional clmate and the scrupulous care exhibited in production in every one of the vineyards. With a distribution of about 25 million bottles per year, and garnering increasing international acclaim, these wines are officially celebrated in August at the Jumilla Harvest Festival. In the meantime, though, read on to discover what these Denomination of Origin wines can offer you, and how their delicious aromas and flavours can pair with the dishes you create at home.
The wines of Jumilla are the fruit of ancient tradition in this area of Murcia, located just an hour and a half drive from your property at La Manga Club. You may be surprised to learn that the oldest remains of grapevines in Europe (from circa 3000 BC) were found in this municipality, and that today nearly half of the production and 70% of the wineries of the D.O., established in 1961, are found here. In total, 25,000 hectares of vineyards and more than 40 wineries, divided between Jumilla and six other municipalities in the province of Albacete, enjoy this seal of quality. Up to 75 million grapes, principally red, are transformed each season, mostly for the European market, but also for American and Asian consumers. The data from the last decade speak for themselves, and the exports of the various Jumilla wine brands have doubled, increasing the profile of these wines that – according to the trade publications – stand out for their quality and originality.
The facts speak for themselves, and you must try these wines, whose incredible qualities are due to the unique location of the vineyards that supply the Denomination of Origin. Replete with valleys and mountains, in a strategically located area between the impressive Mediterranean Sea and the plateau of La Mancha, the best production is guaranteed here thanks to being what what locals call “terruño”: a magical combination of the sunny continental climate, very arid soil due to scarce rainfall, the extension of the vineyards across a high plateau, and the particular varieties of grape cultivated.
The incomparable flavour of Jumilla wines is ultimately due, specifically, to the high quality of the grapes, now in full bloom, with the first green shoots appearing on the vines. Every sip of one of these wines reveals the skill and care employed in the production of each bottle: the meticulous care taken of the vineyards, continuous monitoring of the harvest, and modern facilities designed to achieve excellent product quality. Multiple brands and varieties demonstrate the reason for the D.O.‘s success, and can be found throughout the world. Try the red wines of the Monastrell grape (the most important of the Denomination); the varieties of rosés such as Garnacha or Cencibel, or the whites made from Airen, Pedro Ximénez or Macabeo grapes.
Wine culture goes far beyond tasting, and that’s why you shouldn’t miss the Jumilla Harvest Festival, whose 47th edition will take place from August 10th to 19th. Of marked ethnographic character, the festival delves into the full winemaking process up to the commercial distribution, from the harvest to the grape crushing and the making of the wine, and ends with a tasting of assorted brands distributed by different wineries.
A touch of colour is lent by the wine floats in the famous parade (the Gran Cabalgata del Vino), which distribute more than 50,000 litres of wine and other local products, making them an attraction for visitors of all ages. Rounding off the programme are the ceremonial vine offerings and the First Taste for the Niño de las Uvas, and the inauguration of the Fuente del Vino. Founded by a group of Murcian winemakers, the Jumilla Harvest Festival has become an established tourist attraction for gastronomy lovers and those interested in deep-rooted traditions that influence ways of being and living.
If you can’t wait for summer, try some of the enotourism routes available throughout the year that have already become economic engines of the Murcia region. Open up all 5 of your senses through visits to the wineries and museums of the Official Wine Route of Jumilla, a town declared an Artistic Historical Site in 1981. It’s yet another reason to discover the winemaking tradition of the region, with a history that dates back more than 5,000 years.