Murcia, located in the southeastern corner of Spain, is one of the nation’s smallest and least-known winemaking regions. It is surrounded on three sides by other more famous Spanish wine regions, including Andalucia (to the west), Castilla-La Mancha (to the north) and Valencia (to the east). The Murcia region is primarily known for its robust red wines made from the Monastrell grape.
There are now three official denominaciones de origen (DOs) within Murcia: Jumilla, Bullas and Yecla. By far, Monastrell is the most popular grape varietal for wine production. However, Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah are other red grape varietals grown in Murcia. In terms of white grape varietals, Macabeo, Airen and Merseguera are also grown in Murcia.
Winemaking has been known in the region since the period of the ancient Phoenicians. The city of Murcia was officially founded in the ninth century by the Emir of Cordoba, who named the city with an Arabic word (“Mursiya”).
In terms of climate, Murcia combines both a coastal and continental climate. Close to the Mediterranean Sea (located to the south), the climate is cooler, wetter and more moderate. Further inland, the sea breezes help to moderate the temperature. Key geographical features in the area include the Segura River, a salty lagoon known as Mar Menor, and low-lying mountains.
In recent years, Murcia’s winemakers have focused on making higher-quality wines with more structure. They have primarily focused on Monastrell, which is a grape varietal capable of creating robust, fruit-driven red wines. This type of grape is good for wines with high tannins and intense color.