Wines of Castilla – La Mancha, Spain
Geography & Climate
La Mancha is the largest continuous vine-growing region in Spain. A large elevated plateau right in South-Central of Spain. The region endures consistent trend of seasonal climate: very cold winter and dry hot summer. During the growing season, temperature could easily get above 90F with lack of rain, drought remains a constant threat.
Limestone, sandy and chalk make up the region’s growing soil. Poor nutrients do help challenge the vines to root down deeper, in turn, they are enriched with minerals and stone-like flavors.
As large of a growing region, with an enormous production La Mancha surprisingly grows just about a handful of varietals. Airen, a white native varietal known for its drought resistance is responsible for more than 60% of the region’s total production. The other significant varietals are Cencibel -local term for Tempranillo.
Red: Cencibel, Garnacha, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah
White: Airen, Macabeo, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay
For the most part, La Mancha wines are made for early consumption; fresh, approachable everyday wines are what it’s known for. Small amount of white wine (Airen) is blended with Cencibel to make lighter-bodied and fruity red wines. Wines of La Mancha still remains in the backseat compared to wines from many other regions in Spain. However, recent technological development and experiment have gained La Mancha much deserving attention. The region continues to evolve with improved quality and production.
Valdepenas is perhaps the most important DO in La Mancha, particularly with the age-worthy Tempranillo-based red wine, which is also made under the Spanish aging requirement: Crianza, Reserva and Gran Reserva.
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-Certified Sommelier (CMS)
Napa Reserva -Falling for wine, one sip at a time. TM