Red wine Barrel Organic. 10 months in French oak barrels. Winery: Mas de La Real de Sella. D.O. Alicante. (Valencia) Variety: Cabernet Sauvignon, Garnacha Tinta, Marselan, Syrah and Cabernet Franc.
Sweet wine. 13 months in French, American and Hungarian oak barrels. Winery: Gutiérrez de la Vega. D.O. Alicante. (Valencia) Variety: Moscatel de Italia
Red wine Crianza Respectful agriculture. 14 months in French and American oak barrels. Winery: Enrique Mendoza. D.O. Alicante. (Valencia) Variety: Petit Verdot
Red wine Crianza Respectful agriculture. 14 months in French oak barrels. Winery: Enrique Mendoza. D.O. Alicante. (Valencia)
Red wine Barrel. 15 months in French oak barrels. Winery: Enrique Mendoza. D.O. Alicante. (Valencia) Variety: Monastrell
White wine Aged in amphorae Non-certified biodynamic. 6 months in amphoras. Winery: Pepe Mendoza. D.O. Alicante. (Valencia) Variety: Moscatel and Merseguera.
Red wine Barrel Non-certified biodynamic. 3 months in French oak barrels 500 L. Winery: Pepe Mendoza. D.O. Alicante. (Valencia) Variety: Monastrell, Alicante Bouschet and Syrah.
White wine. Winery: Enrique Mendoza. D.O. Alicante. (Valencia) Variety: Moscatel de Alejandría
Red wine Barrel Respectful agriculture. 12 months in French oak barrels. Winery: El Sequé. D.O. Alicante. (Valencia) Variety: Monastrell
Red wine Oak. 6 months in American oak barrels. Winery: Volver. D.O. Alicante. (Valencia) Variety: Monastrell
Red wine Barrel Respectful agriculture. 11 months in French, Allier oak barrels. Winery: Enrique Mendoza. D.O. Alicante. (Valencia) Variety: Pinot Noir
Red wine Barrel Organic. 18 months in French oak barrels. Winery: Mas de La Real de Sella. D.O. Alicante. (Valencia) Variety: Cabernet Sauvignon, Garnacha Tinta, Marselan, Syrah and Cabernet Franc.
Red wine Crianza Organic. 12 months in French oak barrels. Winery: Mas de La Real de Sella. D.O. Alicante. (Valencia) Variety: Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Marselan, Garnacha Tintorera and Cabernet Franc.
Red wine Barrel Biodynamic. 2 months in French oak barrels 500 L. Winery: Pepe Mendoza. D.O. Alicante. (Valencia) Variety: Monastrell, Alicante Bouschet and Syrah.
Red wine Barrel. 14 months in French oak barrels. Winery: Volver. D.O. Alicante. (Valencia) Variety: Monastrell
Red wine Barrel. 14 months in French oak barrels. Winery: Volver. D.O. Alicante. (Valencia) Variety: Monastrell
Red wine Reserva Respectful agriculture. 17 months in French, Allier oak barrels. Winery: Enrique Mendoza. D.O. Alicante. (Valencia) Variety: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah.
Red wine Crianza. 20 months in French oak barrels. Winery: Volver. D.O. Alicante. (Valencia) Variety: Cabernet Sauvignon and Monastrell.
White wine Young Biodynamic. Winery: Pepe Mendoza. D.O. Alicante. (Valencia) Variety: Macabeo, Airén and Moscatel de Alejandría.
Orange wine Skin Contact Natural Organic. Winery: Casa Balaguer - Vinessens. D.O. Alicante. (Valencia) Variety: Moscatel and Merseguera.
Orange wine Aged in cement eggs Natural Respectful agriculture. Winery: Casa Balaguer - Vinessens. D.O. Alicante. (Valencia) Variety: Moscatel
Red wine Young. Winery: Telmo Rodríguez. D.O. Alicante. (Valencia) Variety: Monastrell
Red wine Crianza. 13 months in French and American oak barrels. Winery: Enrique Mendoza. D.O. Alicante. (Valencia) Variety: Monastrell and Merlot.
Red wine Young Organic Respectful agriculture Natural. Winery: Casa Balaguer - Vinessens. D.O. Alicante. (Valencia) Variety: Monastrell
Vines have been cultivated in DO Alicante for many many years, with various archaeological sites dating as far back as the 6th century BC showing the vineyard was represented on many religious and funeral rites. By the 16th Century, its wine was already sought-after locally and abroad, particularly in England, Scotland, Holland and Sweden. It was often used to add color and grunt to other wines. To protect the local industry, a ban was placed on all wine imports and restrictions were placed on exports (the wine could be shipped only through the port of Alicante).
There is no doubt that the export of wine with the name "Alicante" helped the region gain worldwide recognition. Magallanes even took wines from this region on his first voyage around the world, visiting numerous royal houses on the way, taking the wines "Fondillón" and "Aloque".
A region steeped in history, a large part of this regions heritage is connected to the city of Monóvar, located in the south of the region. Brought to fame for its sweet wine Fondillón, when according to Saint Simon was the only thing that King Louis XIV of France would consume on his death bed in 1715 was cake soaked in this Alicante wine. There are also references to this wine in the "Count of Monte Cristo" or other literary works from many authors including: Gabriel Miró, Azorín, Miguel Hernandez, etc. In fact, viticulture in the region has been constant and one of the engines that helped drive the economic and social development of the region in the nineteenth century, propelled mainly by the creation of the Alicante-Monóvar railway.
DO Alicante is located in the centre of southern Spain in the province of Alicante, and was officially recognised as a designation of origin back in 1957. The designation is home to over 9,000 hectares of vineyards cultivated by 2,000 winegrowers and over 50 wineries between processors and bottlers. The region is home to the subzones; L'Alacantí, L'Alcoià, Alto Vinalopó and Vinalopó Medio, Bajo Vinalopó, Marina Alta, Marina Baja and El Comtat, although the region is generally divided into two larger distinct areas: Vinalopó and La Marine.
The Vinalopó zone is the large of the two. It follows the river of the same name and borders the Yecla region of Murcía. Here the vineyards are situated at various altitudes, ranging from sea level to 400 metres towards the central plateau.
The other area is La Marina, located in the northern part of the Alicante coast, about 75 kilometers north of Alicante, capital of the region. La Marina occupies a coastal point that stretches from the ancient Greek colony of Denia south to Calpe and inland to a few miles west of Parcent. This sub-region has a milder Mediterranean climate, thanks to the influence of the sea.The majority of the vineyards in this subzone lie at altitudes between 500-650 metres.
Climate, Soils and Grape Variety
Generally speaking, there is a noticeable difference in climate between the two subzones, Vinapoló and La Marina. The climate in the coastal Marina sub-zone is Mediterranean, while the climate in the Vinalopó subzone starts off Mediterranean becoming progressively more continental and dry further inland.
Across both sub-zones, the soils are mainly brown-limestone soils on subsoils of limestone rock, with some areas close to the rivers flowing towards the coast of Alicante home to clay soils.They are quite loose and sandy soils with almost no organic material present. However, it must be noted that within the two subzones there are slight differences in the soil composition.
For example, the Marina Alta sub area is condensed in high valleys and mountains that results in staggered territories and plots. In the Cabo de la Nao, the most southern of the Iberian Peninsula, the air is trapped in by these mountains and create a special microclimate marked by constant presence of moisture in the form of wind or rain. This sub zone is home to clay, fertile soils, with a very fast when sandy loam filtration. It´s these rugged features conducive to growing Muscatel, which gives its wines a particular fineness.
By contrast, in the Vinalopó and l’Alcoiá area, the sea breezes flow through the natural corridors created by the Sierras de Carrasqueta and Maigmó towas the Vinapoló, and by the open corridor from the Gulf of Alicante. The soils in this region are exposed to many hours of sunlight and experience large temperature variations as one moves inland. In the Middle Vinalopó water is scarcer and more stable temperatures, while in Alto Vinalopó, there no greater presence of aquifers, with sandier soils and extreme temperatures, given by the presence of the plateau that starts a few kilometers west.
The Comtat, in the mountains of Alicante, is one of the higher altitude areas, where a richness of soils as well as the contrast in temperatures allows for a great diversity in grape varieties.
The main white variety grown in the region is the Muscat of Alexandria, whose presence is mainly concentrated in the La Marina subzone. The Muscat of Alexandria grape is also used to make raisins as well as consumed as regular grapes. Their organoleptic value is immense, with a strong aromatic power, it is a versatile variety that is used to produce whites, sparkling wines and a great range of liqueur wines. Other white varieties that are grown in the DO Alicante include Macabeo, Airen, Plant Fina Pedralba, Merseguera, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Verdil and the Riesling experimental basis.
In regards to red grape varieties, the Monastrell dominates, accounting for 75% of production in DO Alicante. Its origins date back to the fifteenth century and is believed to have come from the Valencian town of Sagunto. In Spain, Monastrell is also know as Vemeta, Morastell or Morrastrell, Mourviedro, Murviedro, Alcayata, Gayata, Garrut, Monastrell of Gayata, Espar, Flouron, Trinchiera, Rossola, Balzac or Baltasar. Also internationally, the Monastrell grape has adopted its French name Mourvèdre, (derived from the Valencian town Morvedre), and America and Australia it is also called Mataro (Catalan population in the province of Barcelona -The Maresme). However, despite its dominance, other red varieties are too grown in the region, such as Grenache, Garnacha Tintorera, Tempranillo, Bobal, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Syrah and Petit Verdot and Tannat as experimental.
Fondillón is a sweet wine from Alicante, a unique wine that nothing in the world can quite compare too. It is protected by EU law and can only be produced within the DO Alicante. In order to technically be a Fondillón, this wine must be made using overripe Monastrell grapes, with a minimum 16% alcohol content, which should come only from the biological fermentation of the grapes, without any other substances added (this is something that differentiates it from Oportos of Sherry). Also, Fondillón must be aged for at least ten years, which can occur in old barrels with up to 1,200 litre capacity. This ageing process can also be carried out using the solera system, with a blend of older wines with a controlled percentage of slightly newer ones, although a blend of wines from the same vintage is also possible.
Fondillón is characterised by its intense aged aromas (cocoa, vanilla, prunes, roasted notes), culminating in a rich, long and persistent palate. Actually this superb wine had almost disappeared, with only one winery continuing to develop this wine for their own consumption and a small clientele. Recently, Fondillón has experienced a revival, and there are at least a dozen wineries that make it.
DO Alicante wines and wineries
Even though this region is home to over half a dozen cooperatives, some of the wineries in some of the estates have been at the forefront of a wine revolution, producing DO Alicante wines that are respectful to the culture of its surroundings, cultivating vines with care and selecting only the best fruit, producing wines that really portray the character of the terroir and grape variety.
Take for example Bodegas Enrique, with one winery in Alfás del Pi (La Marina) and another in Villena, in the Finca el Chaconero, from where they produce unique wines such as Estrecho, which makes reference to the Monatstrell vineyard plot in the Estrecho de Pipa, which lies between the Sierra de Salinas and the Yecla highway on unique soils. They are also known for their red Las Quebradas, which makes reference to a hamlet in Villena, where a vineyard dedicated exclusively to Monsatrell grapes is cultivated.
Casa Mira, in Villena. This winery is located by the Sierra Salinas, produced in the shade of this mountain with a very special Grenache grapes.
Bernabé Navarro, also located in Villena. This winery has managed to distinguish its own character thanks to the authenticity of its own estate, Finca Balaguer, which is home to 50 hectares of vineyards as well as its own celler. Monastrell is the most cultivated variety, but the winery also grows Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah, which help produce some of the varietal labels. Among its products include the red wine Beryna, and the sweet white Parque Natural, which comes for 40 year old vines located in the Parque Natural de las Lagunas de la Mata y Torrevieja, in the south of Alicante, as well as wines from various payments and different soil types, with specific varieties, few treatments and biodynamic techniques, able to express their character in their wines: Morrón, Casa Balaguer, Ramblís or Longdrink, among others.
Bodegas El Sequé, located in the most western point of the DO, in the shadow of the Murcian moutains of El Carche, in the municipality of Pinoso. Bodegas El Sequé was born through the union of two famous wineries from the Rioja and Jumilla regions, Artadi and Agapito Rico, with the aim of working with the Monastrell variety, which reflected in its wines Monastrell Vino Mediterráneo, El Sequé, and El Sequé Dulce.
Bodegas Volver is the personal project of Jorge Ordonez and Rafael Canizares in Alicante. The wineries are between 40-75 years old, grown on low bush vines under natural conditions, are located between Sierra de Salinas, Sierra Sierra El Altet and the Sima, at an altitude of between 600-750 meters above sea level. Bodges Volver produces a wide collection of wines, both single variety and blended under the labels Back, Paso a Paso, Tarima Triga and Wrongo Dongo.
Also winemaker Telmo Rodriguez has been captivated by the uniqueness of some of the vineyards of Alicante and the Monastrell variety. He produced the red Almuvedre, with grapes from the Collado de Salinas, Madara, Falcones, Solaneta and Tuman estates.
A turning point also deserves Gutiérrez de La Vega, located in Parcent, where he works with the Monastrell, Moscatel and Garnacha, with which produces half dozen red wines, some with the recovered variety Giró, as well as the collection of sweet and semi-sweet white Casta Diva, even a natural Muscatel based.sparkling wine.
And finally the winemaker of Heretat de Cesilia, Sébastien Boudon, who created the red Chapó, a blend of Monastrell from Xorret de Catí, aged for 12 months in French oak; the Petit Chapó, a blend of Monastrell and Grenache and not aged; and the Grand Chapó, using only atlantic Monastrell grapes, aged for 18 months in new French oak Barrels from Bordeux, with no more than 300 bottles produced, all under the DO Alicante.
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