Review of Casa De La Ermita Winery
While I lay on my sun lounger in sunny Spain I just couldn’t resist to tell you about my recent trip to the Casa De La Ermita winery in the El Carche region of Murcia close to Jumilla. It is located in one of the highest mountain regions of the area with an altitude of 1371 meters and covering 150 hectors. As you may well know by now I am a strong advocate of environmentally conscientious produce and I was delighted to learn that Casa De La Ermita is leading the way being the first Spanish winery to produce an organic wine.
Micaela Pérez was our lovely tour guide first taking us into one of the fields where the winery were growing some experimental grape varieties. We were lucky enough to be taking the tour just as harvesting was about to commence tasting some of the ripe juicy fruits. I was pleasantly surprised by their delicious sweet intense flavour, which is reflected in the wine they produce from these Monastrell grape varieties. There is a lot of hard work that goes into producing these successful vineyards with field work taking place year round and where many of the grapes are hand picked. Each vine takes 3 – 4 years to mature from planting.
Once all the grapes have been harvested it’s time to separate, press and ferment them. Fermentation takes 10 – 15 days for the red Crianza’s and 20 days for the white wine. The juices are then transferred into oak barrels for aging and maturing in a temperature controlled room before being bottled and aged further. There is no waste from the crushed grapes as left overs are send off to be used in animal food.
Interestingly, tannin strength in wine is determined by the grape skin, the pip and the time it is aged in the barrels. While the taste is effected by the temperature during fermentation, the time it is fermented for, in addition to the time it is matured or aged in barrels and in the bottle.
Casa De La Ermita specialise in producing Crianza wine in the form of Crianza, Crianza Reserve and Crianze Grand Reserve. It was enlightening to learn that the word Crianza refers to the fact that the wine has been matured in oak barrels for varying lengths of time and is typically produced from carefully selected premium grapes. Check out this link for further understanding of Spanish wine and definitions.
There was of course a wine tasting at the end of the tour, accompanied by a generous selection of cheese, cold meats, bread sticks and wine jam! We tasted a 2014 white which although quite sweet was not sickly because it was served very cold. It had a lovely nose of honey and melon accompanied by citrus flavours which were crisp and fresh.
Next came the red 2012 Lunatico with a light summery label on the bottle. A delight to drink with tapas and other small bites giving off a vanilla nose and tasting lightly of blackberries. This wine is one of Casa De La Ermita’s newest products.
Being a fan of full bodied reds, it was no surprise to me that I fell in love with the 2010 Idilico, meaning unique. It was an elegant wine, soft and round making it the perfect accompaniment to enjoy with an big meal such as a roast. Definitely one to sip a savour slowly over the course of an evening.
Finally we tried a luxurious Dulce Monastrell red which I could imagine delighting dinner guests with as an aperitif or dessert wine. Naturally sweet, created from the same grape variety as Lunatico and is also used in their jam which was equally delicious topped on cheese. It’s is the first time I have tried a red dessert wine and I was not disappointed.
Needless to say I spent a small fortune on bottles of wine and a pot of wine jam in the shop afterwards. But with wine of this quality available to purchase at a fraction of the cost it would be in the UK I had to take advantage!
Next time you find yourself in SE Spain I would highly recommend a tour with Micaela at the Casa De La Emita winery. By heading to their website you can also purchase their delicious quality wines directly or find some of their produce in popular UK stores such as Marks and Spencers, Waitrose and Odd Bins.
Next week I’ll be helping you understand how to read a wine label and what to look for when you are purchasing your next bottle.