I would be hard pressed to find a more agreeable wine producing region than Jumilla. Adventurous, avant garde wines being made with grapes less commonly found in Spain mixed with Spanish grapes such as Monastrell that has been making its comeback for years but that always seems to miss out on the glory. A red, very sweet grape, Monastrell makes deeply colored wines characterized by a high alcoholic content and often a cherry liqueur kind of undertone.
The D.O. Jumilla was created in 1996 and has transformed itself into a modern wine making region that produces elegant and often organic wines, that apart from Monastrell frequently include a variety of foreign grapes that seem to do exceedingly well here, such as Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, and even Cabernet Franc.
One of most exciting wineries found in this region is without a doubt Casa de la Ermita, and up until last night I was willing to drink their Crianza 2003 made from Monastrell, Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Petit Verdot, just about anytime, anywhere, and with any excuse. A deeply colored , deeply textured wine that achieves a perfect balance between fruit and oak, ripe dark rich berries, but not heavy, not obnoxious, not overdone, in a wordÃ¢€Â¦perfect, and with a retail price of around 7-8 euros. So what happened last night? In two words, Petit Verdot. I tried the 100% Petit Verdot 2003 and it blew me away. Deep rich garnet, the color exudes richness; Henry VIII meets a dark red plush sofa. Aged 12 months in both American and French oak, it is intensely fruity – raspberries and plums – with an initial piney-ness that turns into a lingering toasted vanilla macaroon, thanks in part to the 14,5 % alcohol. Velvet on the palate, fruit, tannins, acidity, and an overwhelming sense of warmth and satisfaction at 20 well spent euros.