Jumilla wine region

Jumilla
The best-known wine region of Spain’s south east, Jumilla (pronounced “hoo-mee-a”) rose to prominence in the late 19th Century, when it was one of the very few parts of Europe to escape the dreaded vine pest phylloxera.  For many decades most of its production was exported to phylloxera-ravaged France, and often used to beef up famous French reds.
 
That historical importance led to it being one of the very first DOs in Spain, in 1966.  Its luck ran out in 1989 when phylloxera finally struck, reducing production by 60% over the next five years while the vineyards were replanted on phylloxera-resistant rootstocks.
 
Jumilla is overwhelmingly red wine country.  About 85% of the vineyard area is devoted to just one black variety: Monastrell, which is perhaps better known under its French name of Mourvèdre.  There&rsquuo;s also a fair amount of Tempranillo (here called Cencibel) and international varieties like Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon.  White grapes barely get a look in.
 
The climate here is arid and continental, with hot dry summers where temperatures can reach 40°C and cold winters where it drops below freezing.  However, it isn’t quite as extreme as further inland; Jumilla occupies a transitional zone between the Mediterranean coastal lowlands and Spain’s high central plateau, with vineyards rising from 400 to 800 metres.  Widely-spaced bush vines are the norm, to cope with the aridity, and yields are naturally low.

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