Jumilla: Beyond Rioja and the power of making connections through Wine

Jumilla has made its case: Spain does not necessarily means Rioja

The powerful Infinito, from Jumilla

I recently joined a Consulting Firm’s team to help one of its clients in the Boston-metro Area. After almost two weeks I made some acquaintances of which one of them stands out: my esteemed colleague Andrew, who is an avid wine enthusiast. I didn’t know that until recently when we exchanged ideas to help his client evolve through an Agile Optimization Project. You see, in the Agile lexicon, the name of the game is adaptability. Like any living organism, Organizations that adapt survive. While we were exchanging ideas around the client’s enviable position it currently holds in the niche Speech Recognition market, I couldn’t help to bring up an analogy related to wine. An Agile Optimization is about adapting and disrupting the market. Similarly, in the wine industry, those producers that have rested in their laurels will perish at the hands of newcomers who are disrupting the market by making great wines at reasonable prices. Which is exactly what has happened in the Spanish wine landscape. Or at the very least, what has happened to the access American consumers now have to these newcomers. I’ll elaborate. Infinito, from D.O. Jumilla which has gone through a wine/vineyard Optimization over the past few decades itself, would be a good a analogy. Jumilla was ‘recently’ struck by phylloxera in 1989, forcing the hard-core producers adapt to survive. It also opened the door for new players to rewrite the book of Jumilla. For example, this wine Infinito (literally infinite) is composed of Monastrell, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot. Now, you did not expect that combination, did you? For the uninitiated, Monastrell is the local name given to Mourvèdre. Some scholars attribute southern Spain as the birthplace of this famous grape. If Bandol came to mind, you’re partially right. Even though this incarnation from Infinito could rival the brooding wines made of Mourvèdre from Bandol, they are totally different styles.

I opened a bottle of Infinito last night when my niece Linda from Okinawa joined us for dinner, where the wine compensated for an anticlimactic view of the sunset from our deck. The wine opened up with prized aromatics, sporting dark fruit, tobacco and spice derived from oak. The color is deep purple which gives an indication of its full body. On the first sip, the wine explodes with ultra-ripe notes of black cherries, chocolate and a touch of earth. The wines finishes long as summer solstice with persistent notes of black fruit, chocolate and olives undertones, revealing a sublime tension between power and elegance. No wonder, the wine went through an 18-month aging process in new American and French oak barrels. If you find this wine, please consider chilling it for 20-30 minutes in the Fridge to ensure that the bursting fruit and spice doesn’t feel alcoholic in the mouth. The wines is pushing it at 15% alcohol content as it is. I paired the wine with just cheese, Jamón Serrano and some olives. The wine definitely would require protein such as lamb, steak tips or even grilled chicken or something more basic such as bread and strong cheeses. I bought the wine at East Side Wine and Spirits for just under $20 bucks. After further reflecting on my initial conversation with Andrew, we talked about some of the tried and true wine growers and regions in California from Charlie Wagner to Peter Michael and from John C Sullenger to Alexander Valley. What we didn’t discuss at length was wines from Spain! He acknowledged that these wines are not in his radar yet. Who could blame him, he has an incredible 500-plus wine collection that is somewhat eclectic and yet as impressive as any. I hope this Infinito wine puts Spain in his radar now.