Wine from Vinalopó
When geographically observed, this DO wine region is divided into two distinctive sub-regions.
The southern sub-region is called Vinalopó – the area under review here.
Description of Vinalopó Sub-Region
As the title suggests, Vinalopó is representing the southern sub-region of Alicante and is located further inland from the coast.
It is to be noted that this is also the largest sub-region.
In simple terms, this sub-region is found to be representing a more inland section between the towns of Villena and Pinoso.
Topographically, the Vinalopó heartland is following the course of the river of the same name, Vinalopó and is bordering the Yecla region of Murcia.
As such, this sub-region is including the following towns:
- La Romano
Most of the vineyards of this sub-region are found to be planted farther west in the foothills.
As per the information provided by the D.O. Regulatory Council, there are forty-four wineries spread across the surface area of 14,613 hectares on either side of the Vinalopó River.
Climate and Soils in Vinalopó
It can be seen that the terroir, as well as the growing conditions of the two sub-regions of Alicante, are quite different from each other.
While the northern sub-region is found to be enjoying a Mediterranean type of climate, this southern sub-region (Vinalopó) is found to be experiencing a fierce continental, dry type of climate.
Rainfall is very sparse here. The annual rainfall is found to be just around 300 mm, which is comparatively less than that is being received by its northern counterpart.
The summers are hot, and the maximum temperatures can go beyond 35 degrees C. On the other hand, during the winters, the minimum temperatures can plummet to 5 degrees C.
In this region, the spring frosts are found to be a constant threat.
The predominant soil type is also found to be quite different from the northern sub-region and we can find the sandy soils covering the dry plains, which lack organic content.
Thus, this sub-region is giving challenging growing conditions to the winemakers and hence, the growers must be very selective with the grape varieties they plant.
Wines and Wine Grapes of Vinalopó
Right from the ancient times, the Monastrell grape variety is the mainstay of this sub-region.
This is because this grape variety can cope with the hotter summers and ripens to form a rich, fruity red wine with good alcoholic content.
This grape variety is also being used to produce an outstanding fortified wine and a famous rose wine. These are the important cash producers of the region even today.
The Fondillón Luxery Wine
Fondillón, which is the traditional prize of Alicante, is also produced from this grape variety.
This wine is marketed as a dessert wine and is also sold in dry styles depending on the grapes used.
This Fondillón is being produced from best-selected and overripe Monastrell grapes that are allowed to stay on the vine longer than normal.
The grapes that are harvested will be pressed and fermented with the skins for a short time.
Then, they are allowed to age for at least eight years in oak. Several of the Fondillón are aged in soleras and the result will be the darker red or amber coloured wine with high alcohol content.
This is one of the five luxury wines as identified by the European Union.
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