This region is quietly undergoing a constant evolution: from an area shipping out cheap wines to a culture of pronounced quality wines, with prices that still remain more than attractive. Therefore it is not surprising that we come across 'young' bodegas here, with young, ambitious winemakers, looking after vineyards sometimes with decades-old vines.
Winemaking in the northern part of the València region, also known as Levante or País Valenciano both in local dialect and by Spaniards in general, is dominated by the old winegrowing areas around Valencia, Spain's third city.
As well as red, rosé and white wines, there are also famous dessert wines, made from a wide number of different grape varieties grown in four different subzones. Each subzone has its own vinification traditions. Because of centuries-old export from the city's harbour, the production is more focused upon international rather than national markets, which proved an extra incentive to maintain the wines' quality in the twentieth century. A formalised arrangement allows bodegas in D.O. Valencia to buy as much wine as they need for each vintage from neighbouring Utiel-Requena, and permits laboratory methods allowing the wines to be tracked in the bottle.
The vineyards of this D.O. are all located in the Province of Valencia, but in contrast to its famed market gardens (‘huertas’) they are located far away from the city, to its northwest and south. The majority are located at least 30 km further inland and are often hidden in valleys. In general, the subsoil varies from alluvial material at lower altitudes to limestone at higher ones, although clay can be found in the areas in between. The topsoil varies from eroded limestone in the lower western areas to sandy soil in higher areas.
The vineyards located along the Valencia coast have a clearly Mediterranean climate, but the majority of vines are grown inland in a continental climate, where the temperature can drop to close to freezing even in the summer months. Temperature fluctuations of 30°C within 24 hours is not unusual in ripening season. Some higher lying areas are desert-like or almost desert-like.