Several months ago, I attended a La Mancha tasting in San Francisco. I blogged about it in a post entitled Is La Mancha Ready For Primetime? Of course, most of us are familiar with La Mancha thanks to the famous book by Miguel de Cervantes entitled The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha (or perhaps for the less literary types such as myself, the Broadway musical The Man of La Mancha)
These days La Mancha is trying to make a name for itself with its wines. Here’s the 411 on La Mancha:
- Part of the Castilla-La Mancha autonomous community
- Largest of 9 DOs in Castilla-La Mancha, which is the largest continuous vine-growing area in the world
- Climate – According to a local proverb – “nine months of winter and three months of hell“
- Authorized red grapes: Cencibel (a.k.a Tempranillo, Grenache, Moravia, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah
- Authorized white grapes: Airén (pronounced “Aye ran”), Macabeo (a.k.a. Viura), Chardonnay, Verdejo, Moscatel de grano menudo, and Sauvignon Blanc
- Achieved DO status in 1976
- There are 5 wine classifications rather than 3 typically found in Spain. In addition to the traditional Crianza, Reserva, and Gran Reserva classifications, La Mancha also has Young (Jóven), and Traditional classifications. The wines classified as “Joven” typically see no oak. And according to LaManchaWines.com, the Traditional is “Made with the traditional system, reinforced by the latest technological advances. They keep a distance and equilibrium point between the young and aging wines.” In other words, it’s a New World style.
- Known for producing wines with great price/quality ratio, and formerly known for producing bulk wines
2009 Bodegas Volver La Mancha Single Vineyard – $11.99 at Costco
My tasting notes follow:
Inky purple-black color with black fruit, clove, allspice, and tobacco aromas. On the palate medium- full bodied, and smooth with well-behaved tannins, and with vibrant black cherry, plum, a touch of black currant fruit and spice flavors. Medium plus finish. – 90pts
This wine, which is classified as “Tradicional,” is a fine example of a wine that can win over New World palates and put La Mancha on many a wine lover’s map, particularly if seeking great price/performance. It’s 100% Tempranillo. The grapes were sourced from a 72-acre vineyard planted in 1967. It’s fermented in barrel and aged 14 months in new French Oak. Rated 92pt by Wine Advocate. I’ll be buying more, and highly recommend you give it a shot! I purchase the wine at Costco. But it’s widely available. Click here to find.