DO Alicante

A Rich History in Winemaking

Alicante DO is part the Comunidad Valenciana autonomous community of Spain. It is situated in the south-eastern corner of the country, bordering the Mediterranean Sea. Alicante is also the name of the province south of Valencia, and along with the designation, derives its name from the historic port city of Alicante. The region was awarded DO status in 1957 and a Consejo Regulador (wine authority) was established. These days, it has the reputation of ‘specializing’ in mass-produced wines, but there are a few notable exceptions. Alicante has a long history of winemaking. By the 16th Century, its wine was already sought-after locally and abroad, particularly in England, Scotland, Holland and Sweden. It was often used to add color and grunt to other wines. To protect the local industry, a ban was placed on all wine imports and restrictions were placed on exports (the wine could be shipped only through the port of Alicante). This generated jobs and wealth and the number of vines proliferated throughout the region.

Alicante can be divided into two separate and separated zones. The coastal area between the towns of Denia and Calpe is known as La Marina, while the larger, more-inland section between the towns of Villena and Pinoso is called Vinalopo. La Marina has a Mediterranean climate, with very hot summers. This is perfect for the Moscatel grape, which dominates production here. It achieves a high must weight in these warm conditions and is used for the region’s traditional dessert and fortified wines. The most famous of these are labeled ‘Moscatel de Alicante.’

The Vinalopo heartland, which follows the river of the same name, borders the Yecla region of Murcia. Here, the climate becomes continental and dry, with only 300mm of rain a year on average. Summers are hot, with temperatures often exceeding 35 degrees Celcius. Monastrell thrives in these conditions and is the most widely planted variety. Apart from producing red wines, Monastrell also goes into the region’s popular rosado styles.