The heady aroma of fermenting grapes

Vineyards at Bodegas Martínez Verdu

The Vendimia is in full swing in Jumilla – we can tell as soon as we leave the house and sniff the air!  There is no mistaking the heady aroma of fermenting grapes, which will no doubt end up in a bottle of wine in a supermarket near you.  We are lucky, as we can walk down the road to buy our wine from the local bodegas, which saves us a bit of money as well as being very convenient.

In some parts of Spain they are celebrating the Fiesta de la Vendimia right now, however we think Jumilla has made a wise decision in celebrating its Fiesta in August before the hard work begins, especially as the beginning of the harvest is a moveable date, rather like the Fall in New England.

Jumillanos always enjoy a good party,  so I am sure they will find another excuse to celebrate once the Vendimia is over for another year.  After all, where else do you find people celebrating their saint’s day as well as their actual birthday?

The Vendimia in Jumilla started a couple of weeks earlier than it did in 2010.  We soon spotted the tractors and trailers heading down the road beside our house, and we also read about it on Facebook.  I am a Facebook friend of many of Jumilla’s best bodegas, including Viña Campanero, Hacienda del Carche, Silvano Garcia, Martínez Verdu and BSI: it helps to keep in touch!

Which way to the bodega?

This year we have noticed lots of lorries carrying grapes, as well as tractors and trailers of varying sizes.  We have also spotted several cars pulling smaller trailers full of grapes.

We were worried when we had some heavy rain recently, but fortunately it did not damage the crops as we had feared and it actually helped in the process of maturing the grapes.

You can tell that I am no wine expert when it comes to the technical details, in spite of having had several tours around local bodegas – but I do know a good wine when I taste it!  We are lucky to be living in Jumilla, with so many excellent bodegas around us.  The American wine guru Robert Parker consistently rates Jumilla’s wines highly, with many wines achieving over 90 points, and in particular for their excellent price to quality ratio.

Initial reports for 2011 sound very promising.  The volume of grapes is down 20% but we have heard from several sources that the quality of the grapes is good and expectations are high that this will be another very good vintage.

We will report back once we have tried this year’s wines, although sadly the Tinto Joven 2011 won’t be available until 2012, so we will have to make do with the rosados and blancos until then. On the whole we didn’t find last year’s wines as good as those from 2009, however – from what we’ve heard on the grapevine – 2011 should be a winner.  ¡Salud!

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    Thanks, Penny. Did you know that we have a monthly book swap in Jumilla? It’s usually held on the first Tuesday of the month in Bar La Casa next to the Centro de Salud. Drop me a line if you are interested. Sue