Located in eastern Spain between the plateau and the Mediterranean Sea, the Alicante DO covers 14,600 hectares across two sub-regions: the hot and humid coastal La Marina, which is mainly a source for sweet wines, and the more continental Subzona Classico further inland, which specialises in Joven and dessert wines.
Like many of its neighbours in this part of Spain, the last two decades has seen Alicante move away from being a source of cheap, bulk wine to producing modern-style, competitively-priced red and white wines. However, it still produces its beloved, traditional sweet and fortified specialities, the most famous of which is known locally as Fondillón.
The grape of distinction here is Monastrell (aka Mourvèdre) supplemented by Tempranillo, Garnacha, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. For the whites, the little-known Merseguera holds sway.
The renovation and improved infrastructure of the wineries and vineyards in Alicante have helped rehabilitate Monastrell's reputation; it now yields fleshy, concentrated, complex wines with intense violet and redcurrant notes. Bodegas El Seque (from Artadi) is one of the great wine ambassadors for the region. The winery sources its grapes from a much-treasured plot of 100-year-old Monastrell vines, to which it adds more modern Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.
Recommended Producers: Artadi El Seque.