Blogs in this series

Life in Culebrón is a disconnected series of pieces about the banal and ordinary of everyday life in an inland Alicante village seen from my very British perspective.

Friday, August 06, 2010


We've always been big supporters of the Spanish wine industry. Maggie maybe a little more so than me. I worry more about the brandy business.

As well as swigging as much of the stuff as we can lay our hands on we've also visited a number of bodegas but we've never before tried to follow one of the wine routes.

The idea of a wine route is to use the wine "peg" to hang any number of touriist activities on. The key element is obviously the wine producers or bodegas but restaurants, bookshops, hotels,specialist bars and shops etc. can all get in on the act with a bit of thought. I've seen some imaginative links over the years - music in amongst the barrels, libraries running lecture series, cultural centres doing wine appreciation sessions etc.

Jumilla has a wine route. Pinoso has been talking about setting one up for years but so far zilch. The tourist office in Jumilla was deadly efficient and within seconds of pushing the leaflet into our hands we were booked in for a tour and tasting session at Casa de la Ermita, a brand of wine we've seen a lot of down in Cartagena. Tour of the vineyards, tour of the bodega, tasting session, shop - pretty standard I suppose but the route and spiel was clearly thought out and nicely executed.

It worked too; we spent some cash.The friendly young woman who showed us around, Micaela, says that the Casa de la Ermita brand is sold in Waitrose and M&S in the UK.

Back in Jumilla we went to one of the restaurants on the list too and they were playing their part offering wines from all the participating bodegas as well as highlighting the route in their menus.

We're thinking of doing a few more very soon!


Bob Filby said...

I dont't believe for one minute that you'll agree, but there is a much held belief in England that there is no such thing as a decent Spanish wine.
I adhere to this belief preferring to opt for a new Zealand Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc.
Abuse expected!

Chris Thompson and Maggie Brocken said...

Hiya Bob. As I said I prefer the brandy so I'm not the right person to speak on any sort of wine though from what I'm told and my own experience it seems to me that the better Riberas, Toros and Riojas can hold their own against the competition. True the majority of the Spanish stuff banged out by the tankerload is, at best, ordinary but then most of it gets shipped to France to spice up the French stuff.

When I was last in the UK the South African, Chilean and Australian etc. wines were in vogue because they tended to be lighter and crisper than the traditional European stuff and the wine around here is definitely old school, dark heavy and strong in comparison.

Rob Innis said...

There is now a 'Wine Route' from the La Mata-Torrevieja natural park. It is not very long so ideal for drinkers as against walkers. Enjoy. More here