When we talk about the Spanish Designation of Origin we tend to think of “Rioja” or “Ribera del Duero” which are very likely the best known outside our borders.
Nevertheless, Spain has much more (unknown) regions with D.O. Today we would like to talk about Alicante which is in fact one of the Spanish Mediterranean regions with this protection and wine recognition.
PRODUCTION AREA AND SOILS
Alicante borders with the sea but also with the mountain. This is why we identify very distinct production areas although we have to recognize that the big majority is generated inland.
The soils in this area are clayish and sandy loam, very permeable and porous. These factors greatly favour the grapevine growth in this region.
WHICH GRAPE VARIETIES CAN WE IDENTIFY IN ALICANTE?
As I stated before, the soil in Alicante, together with the climatic conditions, both enhance the proliferation of the grapevine.
Do you want to know which are most cultivated?
→Alicante Bouschet or GarnachaTintorera: known under both names, it is a unique variety of grape which interior and skin have the same colour. With a French origin, the bunches and grape berries have a medium size and can be found in other regions of the world such as South Africa, Portugal, Chile, Australia, among others.
→Alejandría’s Moscatel: of this grape we emphasize its aromatic power and versatility in the elaboration of wines, from sparkling wine, to white wine and a large variety of liquor wines. The harvest of this type of grape is one of the first to occur in Spain, due to the intense Mediterranean summer which favours its maturation.
→Monastrell: this grape represents nearly 75% of the total Alicante D.O. cultivation and it is mainly situated in the areas located in the South of the region. It is a mid-size grape, very compact and strong and therefore it resists many hours of sun. It has a strong aromatic power and its harvest takes place later, by the end of September and in October.
TYPES OF WINE AND FONDILLÓN
In Alicante we can find different types of wines: rosé, red, white, sparkling, sweet wines, liquor wines and apart from all these varieties, there is one which is very, very special and unique, the Fondillón.
This wine is unique in the world and this fact is actually stated in the E-bachus data base of the European Union.
The Fondillón is a sweet mature wine and one of the historical products of the Certificate of Origin, since for years it has been highly valued and appreciated, being present in Royal Houses, tales, literature, etc. Nowadays and due to its complicated elaboration, only a few wineries produce it.
There are several interesting characteristics worth mentioning:
- The alcohol comes exclusively from the grape, it does not receive any type of additives, which means its fermentation is 100% biological.
- It derives from the overripe of the Monastrell grape in the same strain, something that can be done in the area of Alicante thanks to its climate characteristics.
- The minimum time to get a vintage is 10 years.
The Fondillon may be at the same level as the Champagne, Oporto and Jerez , even though it is less known but we should be able to benefit from it too!
For this reason I would like to emphasize which food it combines best with. Being a sweet wine we automatically think of desserts and in effect it is where it takes us: dark chocolate, the typical nougat from Alicante (why not?), desserts made with cream or meringue.
In contrast, it also perfectly combines with blue cheeses like Roquefort or Cabrales, as it does with foie and some toasts.
What do you think about this suggestion?
I am sure that after discussing all these curiosities about the grapes of the Alicante region and its exquisite Fondillón wine, you already feel like visiting a winery or taking a wine route through the area.
The weather is excellent, and so are the gastronomy and the wines.
In Viavinum Wine Tours we organize customized routes. It doesn’t matter if you are an individual or a company, all that matters is that you learn, enjoy and have the best time ever. Are you in? We are looking forward to it!