Guide to Wine from Valencia
Valencia is the great port of Spanish wine, a vocation inherited from the last century, when Swiss, French and Italian traders set up the business exporting robust wines to those areas of Europe which had been most affected by the great vineyard plagues.
This tradition of exporting in bulk from the Valencian wine areas (Valencia, Utiel-Requena and Alicante) has had a major impact on the region’s situation today. In general terms, it is now struggling to find an identity of its own and a place in the world of quality bottled wines.
Popular wines from the region of Valencia
Of course, there are exceptions to this rule, the Monastrell or Bobal varieties which are distinguished by their freshness and liveliness, or reds from the Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes which have little to envy reds produced in other parts of the country.
One area of particular interest in the Valencian wine-producing panorama are the sweet Moscatel wines and the Alicantine Fondillon, a rancio wine aged like sherry which knew its moments of greatest glory in the 19th century.
These are two classic wines which, though they’ve been somewhat relegated because of modern taste, will always find a lace in the cellars of a true wine enthusiast.
Wine from Alicante
Considering that Alicante is such an important tourist area, it’s strange that its wines are so little known. These days you can find a great variety of wines in Alicantine territory; from a fruity white Riesling of Alsace inspiration to an oak-matured Cabernet. And we mustn’t forget to mention one of the best Moscatels in Spain and an original red called Fondillon made from sun-dried Monastrell grapes.
The Fondillon, which was lost but then revived by some wine-grower’s sense of nostalgia, is Alicante’s rancio wine, traditionally made by drying the grapes in the sun on wattle screens. It has a high alcohol content and is ideal as a dessert wine. A legendary aromatic wine whose vines used to occupy the lands closest to the sea.
Valencia has certain traits which distinguish it quite clearly from other wine-growing regions in the East and perhaps the rest, of Spain. Large exporting companies are, together with the cooperatives that often supply them, the main producers in the region, with small and medium-sized wineries in a minority.
The wine production zone comprises 66 municipalities in the province of Valencia, divided into four sub-zones:
- Alto Turia– Six municipalities in the North West of the province (10% of the total vineyards)
- Clariano – 33 municipalities in the South (30% of the total)
- Moscatel de Valencia– 9 municipalities in the central zone of Valencia
- Valentino– 24 municipalities with six of them also belonging to the sub-zone Moscatel de Valencia