Apologies for those who read this blog on a regular basis. Coming back from vacation, it could be a difficult endeavour. It is tedious to get back to the routine, especially when you have a 3-year-old and your wife is also on a summer sabbatical. September will bring a type of normality, I hope and will be posting more or less on a regular basis.
The ninth month of the Gregorian calendar also marks the beginning of the school year, and the end of summer holidays. In keeping up with the academic spirit, why not make the time to take a wine course or drinking some wines from less familiar areas. Put Rioja and Ribera del Duero aside for a bit and venture into others places such as Yecla or perhaps Jumilla per say?
About two weeks ago, I had the chance to visit the Festival Vins Terrebone. Outside Montreal, this is one of the most important wine festivals in Quebec. It has been kind of a tradition for me to go. I have been going for the last 9 years or so.
In this year edition, I had the chance to discover some hidden gems coming from Jumilla. Represented by Le Grand Cellier, an upcoming Quebec Agency, these two wines bring down the misconception that Jumilla can only produce rustic and macho wines. Both of these wines are made by Bodegas Bleda. Definitely, Jumilla should be on your wine map, if you are looking to expand your knowledge of Spanish wines this coming fall.
Bodegas Bleda went into the wine business in Jumilla in the early years of the XX century. At the beginning they were grape and olive growers selling in bulk until Antonio Bleda Gracia took over. He was the pioneer in bottling and exporting Jumilla wines
Not long after, the winery was winning international accolades with their wines. For instance Oro Viejo won Gold medal at the Barcelona International wine fair of 1929. This bit of history came to me as an unexpected surprise. You see me too, i was haunted with misconceptions that Jumilla can only produce campesino wines
Believe or not Jumilla is blessed with an optimal climate for winegrowing in the world. The combination of sunny and warm summer days with little rain result in low yields.Next is the altitude which brings considerable differences in diurnal and nocturnal temperatures. Jumilla is situated at 650 meters above sea level and the thermometer varies between 14 and 36 C between night and dayThis contribute to the aromatic richness of the wine.
Pinodoncel Black 2016 ($21.95, case of 12)is a fantastic blend of Monastrell, Syrah and Petit Verdot. The wine spends 5 months in oak, so is considered a vino joven. Lovely nose bringing to mind cherry and spices. Round and unctuous with a very long finale. Will buy this wine with my eyes closed by the case for weekend drinking with a nice chop on the BBQ or other noble piece of meat.
Castillo de Jumilla 2016 ($18.95, case of 12) is a predominant blend of Monastrell with some Tempranillo. With attractive black fruit aromas, this is a generous wine with that makes shine the roundnessof the Monastrell grape. It is well-balanced with pleasant sweetness and a long finale. Perfect with wild mushroom based dishes, now starting to be season in this part of the world.