November 16th, 2012
The Costa Blanca – the White Coast – which sits happily on the East of Spain, stretching long white sandy fingers down one of the most popular destinations in Europe. We love it for many reasons, but also for the gastronomy, and the delicious wine. So where are the top five towns to visit for a drop of winning wine? This way please, glass in hand….By the way, choose the window seat on the plane!
Look as you land
Landing at Valencia or Alicante airports, you’ll let out a relaxing long breath at your first sight of really blue sky, sunshine and a stunning stretch of coastline. Look inland too though – this are produces many riches in the form of food and drink. We might stray into the Costa Calida, or the Costa Valencia on this journey, put it down to too much to drink!
Rice is nice
Note the rice fields just a short hop from Valencia, and the area around Sueca produces the best in Spanish rice, and Spain as you already know makes the best Arroz, Paella and rice puddings in the world! Rice is to Spain what the potato is to Ireland! Here is a picture of my neighbour cooking up a storm, Arroz with seafood in a silky sauce…
Fields of Gold
But also note the vineyards as you draw closer on the plane, at the moment they are veritable fields of gold, the leaves burnished copper and golden as the grapes have been harvested ready for the new season wine. This is the perfect time to visit Spain, especially Alicante, be part of the in crowd and taste the new wine as it rolls out of the barrels for the first time this year! Yo Primera!
A guiding hand
Here is a short and handy guide to the top 5 places to mark in your travel journal, as the best places to go and sip a drop of Costa Blanca wine…there are many, many more, just a few for a quick tasting session!
Murcia features the town of Jumilla, and this town is worth it for the views alone, so feel free to bring along the tee totaller to drive! Spilling down the hillside from the mouth of the ancient castle, Jumilla knows its wine, they have been making it here since the Romans showed them how..
A gutsy red is the order for lunch, Tempranillo and Monastrell grapes will wash down your food well. Try it with some local dishes, a hearty stew for example…
Just inside the Murcia boundaries – I did warn you we would stray a little – Abanilla will delight with the sight of all the palm trees waving their arms at you in greeting. The wine here is best drunk young, so you’re just in time….it’s all produced under the Alicante D.O., so you know it’s all quality controlled. Salud!
This is one of the big ones, not in town size but in production of the famous wine. Mooch around the town of Monóvar and taste the local wine treats. Red, Rosé or Dessert wine – matured for two decades it’s potent stuff – the choice is all yours…
Isn’t she a judge on the X Factor? No?
We’re going a little upmarket now to Teulada, a very smart resort on the Costa Blanca and a wonderful destination for walking in the surrounding countryside rich with the vines of the sweet Moscatel grape. The result of all of this hard work is a sweet and refreshing wine, Mistela, which you will be sure to try out in one of the local bodegas or watering holes. Probably best after your hike in the country though, not before!
An upmarket place to stay can be found here too, try out this country house in Teulada for size, called Finca Azul, it comes with relaxation guaranteed, and superb country views included – free of charge!
Visit Jalón and you will be entranced by the views, wowed by the walking opportunities, and bowled over – hopefully not literally – by the wine! Visit the 19th century church for starters, then make a pilgrimage around the many bodegas of this former sleepy village – taste the red, the white, the rosé and the sweetly delicious dessert wine…
So that’s it – sadly, the end of our whirlwind wine tour – hiccup – but of course here are far more than just 5 great wine towns on the Costa Blanca – what’s your favourite?