by Penny McKinlay via her blog
I am infatuated with Spain and wine. So when Doug Reichel (Doug Reichel Wine Marketing Inc.) suggested that I try Altos de Luzon, a wine from southeast Spain, I leapt at the opportunity. And I’m glad I did as I enjoyed the wine and will buy it again.
Altos de Luzon (Jumilla 2005) is one of several wines produced by Bodegas Luzon winery, which was founded in 1916 by a group of winemaking families.
The Luzon vineyards are located in the Jumilla region, south of Valencia and inland from Murcia. It’s a sunny, hot, dry mountain plateau. Grapes have been grown here for over 2,000 years, starting with the Phoenicians, the Romans, and the Moors.
Soil and Climate
Extreme heat does not usually produce great wine, but in Jumilla the heat is tempered by the cool night-time temperatures, which preserve the wine’s acidity, and the local Monastrell grapes do well here. Legend has it that the grapes were first grown in the monasteries of Catalonia, hence the name.
The hot, dry climate means that there are less pests and disease, so a number of local growers, including Luzon, are producing organic wines.
Jumilla has sandy soil containing very little organic material. As a result, it escaped the phylloxera epidemic, which forced most of Europe to replant its vineyards with vines grafted onto American rootstock. So Altos de Luzon benefits from a blend of 50-year old ungrafted Monastrell vines, combined with 25% Tempranillo and 25% Cabernet Sauvignon from 20-year old vines. A healthy blend of old and new.
Robust but Subtle
Now to the important stuff! I really enjoyed the taste of Altos de Luzon and it was a good combination with a rich eggplant moussaka. It has lots of fruity, acidic flavour and compares very favourably with Pinot Noir (one of my personal favourites). I much prefer it to Malbec wines, which are too strong for my taste.
Luzon in Saskatchewan
The Luzon wines are brought to Saskatchewan by Doug Reichel Wine Marketing. Altos de Luzon costs approximately $28 in Saskatchewan and is available in the government liquor stores. The Dulce de Luzon dessert wine and the two organic Luzon wines are also excellent.