Skip to main content

Replies sorted oldest to newest

My pick for best buys in Priorat is Mas Igneus. Everything they produce that we've tried was worthy of purchase. Two reds to look for are the FA206 and FA112. These are truly outstanding wines in the $30 (FA112) and under (FA206) range.

Don't neglect the similar wines from Montsant. Celler Laurona is one to seek out.

Glenn, I'll look for the Pinord. I've never heard of it before.
Spo - Rioja is far richer and has bodegas that are quite large, so they're able to do that kind of thing.

They've also been pouring money into marketing and PR, with more misfires than successes IMO.

But all that aside, I don't see the comparison to Jumilla in quality or quantity, other than the fact that they're both in Spain.

The entire region of Murcia, including Jumilla, Bullas and Yecla, is about 40,500 hectares and of that Jumilla is largest with somewhere around 30,000+ or so. OTOH, Rioja is about 64,000. The production figures don't correlate however - I think Rioja puts out over 10 times the amount of wine.

More importantly, Rioja has well over 1000 bodegas whereas Jumilla has about 45 and some of those are co-ops. Many bodegas in the region just don't produce wine that's all that good, and consequently it's not imported into the US.

There are a few producers in the region who worked with a few US importers to develop wines for the US market and those dominate what people see and know.

There are also newer and younger producers who are ambitious and working to upgrade the quality of the wine - most of them aren't here and the more ambitious are also hindered by the fact that their wines are costly and Spanish wine over $30 is just not moving in the US market, even with really high points.

Otherwise, it's still a region of rustic wines.

In the $10 - $20 range, I'm hard pressed to think of all that many wines from Jumilla. It's essentially a small group of wines that define Jumilla in the US - Julia Roch e Hijos Casa Castillo, Casa de la Ermita, Agapito Rico, Finca Luzón, Hijos de Juan Gil, and Bodegas Olivares, and Bodegas Bleda. Then there's Bodegas El Nido, which is about 9 years old and was started by a US importer who partnered with Juan Gil and brought in an Australian winemaker specifically to produce a confection for the US critics and market. Smart move too - he picked the winemaker with more 100 point wines from Parker than anyone else and they hit some home runs. But those wines are way over $20, and there are plenty of those in Rioja too.

I like many of the wines for sure and some of them are quite delicious, but IMHO there's no comparison to Rioja in terms of selection or availability.
Last edited by gregt
Steve - I don't think they've ever denied it. I wish I had done it - the wine has a lot of fans and it gets huge scores - 97, 98, 99 points from WA and it helps the importer, or at least used to help the importer, place other wines from the portfolio. They were pretty ruthless with it. Brilliant plan and brilliant execution.
Originally posted by GregT:
In the $10 - $20 range, I'm hard pressed to think of all that many wines from Jumilla.

So you equate quantity with quality? Everybody and their grandmother know there's an ocean more wine coming out of Rioja than Jumilla, but Jumilla produces better wines in the $10-20 range. The number of wines has nothing to do with it. (Not that it matters, but almost everything from Jumilla is in the $10-20 range.)
I never equated the two. Of course you're right and the mere fact of quantity doesn't have anything at all to do with quality. But Rioja has been producing wine for export for centuries and it's got huge bodegas that consistently produce wine of better quality than even many small, artisanal producers. Riscal's reserva is actually even ageworthy - I've had them over 30 years back and they're under $20.

The fact is that there just aren't all that many wines produced in Jumilla that are all that good and the producers there are well aware of that. Moreover, they're all pretty new to the export market. There has obviously been wine in the area for centuries, but it's only in the 1990s, after being inspired by Priorat, that much really started happening in Jumilla. Prior to that, it was bulk wine country and mostly still is. They got DO status only in 1996 based on the efforts of a tiny group.

Casa Castillo started making exportable wines only in the 1990s and they're usually recognized as one of the first "names" in Jumilla. One single importer contracted with Casa de la Ermita, Casa Castillo and Finca Luzón and that was pretty much how Jumilla was introduced to America in the late 1990s.

Carchelo only started up in the 1980s, maybe even 1990, don't remember, and Olivares started making exportable wine in the 1990s. Luzón is also an older bodega that only recently starte making exportable wine. Juan Gil too was an old wine family but they only started making their own wine in 2001 or 2002. Alceño from Luis Martinez only started up in 1990 or 2000, and I'm not sure if it's imported right now or not.

Who else would you recommend under $20?

Again, I'm not knocking the wines themselves and the producers are smart to make something they can export. But there's no where nearly the number of good drinkable wines under $20 that one finds in Rioja.
Actually, he's wrong. He's comparing the number of good wines, not the best wines in the $10-20 range. There are better wines available in that range from Jumilla than from Rioja. There are many more wines produced in Rioja, but that is not the subject of the current discussion, even though he's trying to change the subject.

We weren't comparing Rioja and Jumilla, just the best wines in the low priced range. The number of bottlings has no significance.
Come on - I'm not trying to change the subject at all, just pointing out that not only are there many more wines in general, there are also many more good wines under $20 from Rioja than from Jumilla.

It's not a knock on Jumilla, just a reflection of the fact that they've only started improving their wines maybe 15 years ago and there aren't that many that have improved yet.

Other than the wines I mentioned, which are the wines you'd recommend under $20 from Jumilla? I'd love to know of more and hope that there are more. And that includes Yecla and Bullas as well.

As far as the number of "good" wines, of course that's subjective but FWIW I happen to like both regions.

Regarding uniformity of style - G - not fair. You know who's making the wines and who's behind the labels.
Board-O, which Jumilla wines do you have in mind? I'm sure I'm forgetting many, but just to start:

Marques de Riscal
Marques de Caceres
El Coto
Sierra Cantabria
Cosme Palacio
Monte Real
Castillo Labastida
Marques de Murrieta
Muga Reserva (actually a bit over $20)
Palacios Remondo

All those producers have solid offerings for less than $20. I would be interested to see your list of the many "better" wines from Jumilla.
Originally posted by GregT:
Regarding uniformity of style - G - not fair. You know who's making the wines and who's behind the labels.

Mostly monastrell-based wines from a warm area. I stand by my early statement, the wines taste similar to me - I'm talking about the low end wines from Castillo, Luzon, Juan Gil, etc... Castillo Pie Franco, on the other hand, is a very, very good wine, but it sells for more than $20 and I'm not even sure of the availability in the US.
Originally posted by GregT:
Come on - I'm not trying to change the subject at all, just pointing out that not only are there many more wines in general, there are also many more good wines under $20 from Rioja than from Jumilla.

You most definitely are confusing the issue. We weren't talking about the number of good wines. The subject was which region produces better wines in the $10-20 range. I say Jumilla; you don't. That is the issue. This is just getting stupid and going around in circles.

Add Reply

Link copied to your clipboard.