For centuries, Alicante has borne witness to the presence of Monastrell; and there are few places as closely linked to the culture and history of wine as this region.

In 1510 King Ferdinand the Catholic granted Alicante an exceptional privilege, the privilege of wine, which would be the precedent of what today is a designation of origin. Alicante thus took the first steps towards regulating the origin, quality and control of a product. All this historical heritage is reflected today in thousands of hectares of cultivation and dozens of wineries where the Monastrell variety predominates and is currently predominant, representing 75% of the cultivation in the Alicante DO.

Marine influences define the variety in the Alicante DO, the most Mediterranean area due to its proximity to the sea, with the arrival of sea currents that give these wines a freshness that characterises them.

Resistance to large temperature fluctuations and adaptability to chalky soils are the main characteristics that the representative of DO Alicante, Eladio Martín, highlights of this variety, which he defines as “supreme” due to its great capacity for survival and its explosiveness with high tannin, color, alcohol and ripe fruit aromas.

Different altitudes in different areas where Monastrell is grown, ranging from 100 meters near the coast to plantations at altitudes of over 600 meters inland, allow a great diversity of wines to be produced.

We find a wide range of wines from young reds and crianza to rosés, which in recent years, according to Eladio, are being produced in a very creative way, looking for both the raspberry rosé and the more, orange-colored rosé“. “Always with a great amount of fruit, a taste of the sun that characterizes Alicante and very well adapted to the local gastronomy”, he points out, offering the possibility of pairing with the star dish of the local cuisine, rice in its different versions: surf& turf rice.

Among this wide range, Fondillón is the jewel of Monastrell in Alicante. The climate allows the variety to over-ripen on vines – normally in vases – in this area, to produce a dry wine that is unique in the world, the first to have its own name and the recognition of the European Union, with more than 10 years of ageing and a minimum of 16 degrees of natural alcohol of its origin. “The Monastrell expresses itself to the maximum in these Fondillón wines, keeping its purity intact for decades and bringing it to our palate. Whether the wine is 40, 50 or 60 years old, its conditions are the original ones, those that the vines have given us at source”, emphasizes the DO Alicante representative. The ripe fruit components of this wine allow it to combine perfectly with sweet foods such as chocolate or savory foods such as cheeses, salted meats, or dishes from oriental or Mexican gastronomy.

The great resistance of Monastrell, with a long-life cycle and ripening, allows it to adapt to climate change. In this area, the variety has the capacity to over-ripen on the vine, which, according to Eladio, “is something exceptional that only occurs in this environment because there is no threat of pests or rot, and that is something very valuable, which gives us a lot of wealth”.

This year, due to the scarce rainfall – except for the months of May and June – the grape harvest is expected to wait until autumn.

The combination of history and future make Alicante an area of maximum interest and a reference for Monastrell all over the world.