The gnarled, twisted Monastrell vines amazingly grow from sandy and rocky soils and usually do not require irrigation - their roots reach to depths of 30 meters (over 90 feet) to find water without effecting the quality and health of the fruit. Mainly ungrafted vines, unlike most of Europe's vines that were grafted onto disease resistant American rootstock after the Phylloxera root louse wiped out most of Europe's vineyards at the end of the 19th century, there is no need for pest control - allowing for most vineyards to be farmed organically. The combination of diverse sandy and rocky soil types and an ideal climate have provided wine growers and winemakers of the three DOs the perfect backdrop for making high quality, distinctive wines that are well worth the excellent reputation they are steadfastly gaining. More often than not, the Monastrell wines are made using as natural a process as possible, even fermenting in their native, wild yeasts, which is said to help maintain the Monastrell's natural character. Although the wines from Yecla, Jumilla and Bullas each displayed unique characteristics from the terroir of their designated DOs, I found they shared common components of being fresh, pure and balanced – full of great acidity, complexity and character. Produced in a range of styles; including, young, crianza, reserva, sweet (naturally), fortified and sparkling, Monstrell is a gorgeous dark cherry red color in the glass.
Exploring the Land of Monastrell