In Jumilla, the odds are that you will bump into someone wearing sturdy boots, with a trowel and a magnifying glass in their backpack. These are the tools of the seekers after soils – the geologists. I met a jovial party of them from Holland at the next table on my first night of my stay in the region.
The fact that Jumilla is such a favourite with geology students can be taken as a guarantee that these diverse soils will make fine wines, too. Take a walk in the vineyard at the foot of one of the region’s two extinct volcanoes, and you will understand.
Scroll down to see Sarah Jane Evans’ pick of 10 Jumilla wines
Jumilla is located at the eastern part of the Baetic Cordillera, which extends to the Rif and Tell mountains in north Africa, and across to the Apennines. The soils are a mix of marine origin and calcareous, with good permeability and capacity for water holding. The lack of organic matter has been significant in holding off the phylloxera louse in many places.
It’s an extraordinary landscape, pre-desert, and has an extreme climate. It is windy, too, as evidenced by the wind farms marching across the hillsides.