La Mancha, Spain, just south of Madrid is the world’s largest growing areas of grape vines. La Mancha sits on a high plateau where little rain falls, but has plenty of sunlight for the vines. La Mancha was granted its DO status in 1976, but winemaking there dates back to the ancient Romans.
White and red wines are produced in the region of La Mancha. White grapes permitted are Airen, Macabeo, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. Cencibel (also known as Tempranillo), Garnacha, Moravia, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Syrah are the red grapes grown there.
White grapes make up the majority of vines planted with Airen accounting for 80% of total plantings. Tempranillo is the most planted red grape at 12% of total plantings.
Recently “La Mancha wines, the Knight Experience US Road Tour, 2015” came to Miami. Representatives from six different wineries from La Mancha showed off their wines.
First let’s explore the white wines of La Mancha
Vinos La Fontanilla brought a couple of their labels to sample. Their Ribera de los Molinos, Tradicional, Blanco, 2014 is a blend of Airen, Macabeo and Sauvignon Blanc is very light in color. The nose has notes of citrus with light minerals. The palate is crisp with tart acidity, the perfect wine to drink on a hot evening. Their Ribera de los Molinos, Sauvignon Blanc, 2014 is also very light and easy to drink with some tropical fruits on the nose and palate.
Bogarve 1915 also showed off their different labels, including 100 Vendimias wines that are 100% organic. La Cruz Vega, Verdejo, Joven 2014 is pale straw in color and is filled with citrus and tropical fruits. La Cruz Vega, Sauvignon Blanc, 2014 is pale yellow with aromas of lemon and green apples with minerals in the background. The La Cruz Vega Sauvignon Blanc is nice and refreshing with plenty of citrus acidity leading to a medium tasty finish.
Bodegas Ayuso was founded in 1947 and uses only estate grown grapes. Their Castillo de Benizar, Macabeo, 2014 is light straw color with aromas of citrus and minerals. The palate has plenty of crisp acidity and is very refreshing and easy to drink. Their Estola, Verdejo, 2014 is pale yellow with citrus and some tropical fruit.
Finca Los Azares, Sauvignon Blanc, 2014 is light gold with lemon, lime and green apple on the nose. The palate follows the nose and is an excellent wine.
Virgin de las Viñas, Tomillar, Sauvignon Blanc is pale straw with a bright citrus nose. The palate is filled with Golden Delicious apple and lemon. The medium tangy citrus finish is very nice. Tomillar, Chardonnay, 2014 won a gold medal at the Chardonnay du Monde as the number one Spanish Chardonnay. It is light bold with plenty of tropical fruit and minerals on the nose. The palate is filled with kiwi, pineapple with a clean fresh mouth feel. This is a very pleasing wine.
Santa Carolina brought along the only 100% Airen wine. Their Campechano, Airen, 2014 is very pale straw colored. The nose has light citrus and minerals and the palate features some Granny Smith apple along with lemon and lime. This Airen is very easy to drink and well chilled would be a perfect wine for a day on the beach. The Campechano, Verdejo, 2014 is pale yellow with lime and wet slate on the nose. The palate is alive with tart citrus, kiwi and some grapefruit. This was the best example of a Verdejo from La Mancha.
The white wines of La Mancha are easy to drink and are perfect for Miami’s steamy weather. The Verdejo of La Mancha features plenty of tropical fruit as opposed to the more citrusy Verdejos of Rueda to the north.