I continue to hear reports about a decline in the quality of $10-20 shiraz coming out of Australia. Prices are the same, but many wines are less drinkable due to mass production on many brands exported to the U.S. For example, the Rosemount Black Diamond shiraz, which has been pretty unremarkable for the past three vintages. And the Yellow Tail…well, it’s been big-fruit nasty after the second year.
Don’t get me wrong, I love Australian shiraz, when made by boutique wineries, and are towards the 13-14% range. But I think it’s time to point you guys to another emerging region that is producing outstanding, rich red wines lately: Jumilla (jyoo-me-yah).
Why Jumilla Is Hot
Spain has experienced a flood of winemaking talent, who have been successful in other regions such as Barossa, Italy, Southern Rhone and California. At the same time, Spain remains a source for some of the best wine values around, especially robust reds from emerging regions like Toro and Jumilla. Jumilla isn’t new to winemaking by any means–but it is finally worth being excited about. For years, this region suffered quality and distribution issues, but has recently cleaned up its act. This region is pumping out $10 bottles that, in my opinion, are much higher QPR than Australian shiraz.
What are the main grapes of Jumilla?
Monastrell (aka mourvedre) is the mainstay, which produces full-flavored reds. In 1989, plant destroying insects spread over the vineyards of Spain. Unlike the other regions that replanted the vines, Jumilla was not replanted with the traditional varietals, but rather monastrell, a native grape that is very well suited for the drought-prone climate. Consequently, this varietal now occupies 85% of the region. In addition to monastrell, garnacha, cencibel, cabernet sauvignon, merlot, syrah and detit verdot are also grapes grown in Jumilla.
Wines to try
Here is a sampling of three outstanding Jumilla wines that I have enjoyed recently:
Produced from 100% Monastrell from 60- to 80-year-old vines in Jumilla, aged for 8 months and bottled unfiltered and unfined. Highlighted by dark fruit and licorice flavors with softer, rounder tannins from aging. Great for grilling.
This robust red is dark purple in color and lets off a bouquet of dark berries, lavender, rose and smoky Indian spices. This wine definitely becomes more beautiful as it breathes, allowing the blackberry and candied cherry flavors to sweeten.
This is a light red with that mixes cherry, raisin, leather and tobacco flavors. Just enough acidity to keep it interesting. Recommended for drinking immediately.
*Images courtesy of K&L Wines.Your request timed out. Please retry the request. Tags: varietal, Hot Region, Spain/Portugal, grape, boutique wineries, flood, California