Close your eyes and let the breeze from the windmills caress your face. Let the smell of the grapes, the vineyards, the wood and the terroir transport you to the small villages where country folk can still be seen working by hand, where traditions hold strong… It can only mean one thing: you’re in Castilla-La Mancha.
There are so many grapevines in La Mancha that the world´s biggest vineyard is located in this region. One of its native grapes is the red “Cencibel” variety, also known as “Tempranillo” or “Tinta Fina” (depending on where you are in Spain). Another is the white variety “Airén”, while the “Bobal” variety, the least common of the three, can be found to the east, in the area lying closest to the Mediterranean coast.
Castilla-La Mancha is an emerging winemaking region, one in which technology and tradition combine to produce quality wines, like the ones you’re about to discover.
Quixote´s Wine brings you 7 wines from La Mancha that just have to be tasted. These include traditional examples such as Tomillar Reserva from the Bodegas Virgen de las Viñas winery. A blend of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Tempranillo, this sumptuous, elegant wine boasts an intense color and aroma and has a long finish. Then there’s the classic Raíces Reserva 100% Tempranillo from the Bodegas Fernando Castro winery, one of the finest examples of the spirit of La Mancha in bottled form. The Rubí y Oro range from the Bodegas Romero de Ávila Salcedo winery provides us with another classic from La Mancha, a 100% Cencibel with 100% hand-picked grapes. This wine has delicate wood notes and pairs perfectly with any meat dish.
Moving on a bit from the more traditional examples, we come to the Bodegas Verum winery and their spectacular white. It’s based on a bold combination of 80% Sauvignon Blanc and 20% Gewürztraminer, and its production involves 3 months of fermentation in its own lees. This white wine has a mature heart and leaves an elegant flavor on the palate. Sip by sip, you’ll find yourself immersed in its infinite array of floral notes… Continuing with the whites, we mustn’t forget the traditional “Airén” grape, a white variety par excellence that’s native to La Mancha. It’s used by the Bodegas El Progreso winery to bring life to their Blanco Progreso. This wine allows us to savor the very best qualities that the variety has to offer.
It’s now several years ago that the Syrah and Merlot varieties began to be grown locally, while a range of more modern wineries has emerged. This younger generation is keen to do things differently and has made a priority of quality, technology and design. One such example is the Bodegas Mont Reaga winery, with their Fata Morgana 100% Merlot. Another is the Bodegas Villavid winery, with their 25-year-old vineyards and their Crianza Villavid 100% Syrah… that color, so characteristic of the Syrah variety, that youthfulness, that sense of joy. This wine has them all.
There are two ways to get your hands on these wines: one is to visit Castilla-La Mancha, and the other is to make the most of their availability in the U.S., thanks to Quixote´s Wine. So, there’s no need to leave the house. You just have to crack open a bottle and let your senses carry you off to that beautiful winemaking region of Old Europe.
Raquel Dominguez Rueda