La Mancha is a Spanish Designation of Origin (DO) for wines, with over 190,000 ha planted to vines, and is the largest continuous vine-growing area in the world. It is located in the autonomous community of Castile-La Mancha in central Spain and includes 182 municipalities in Albacete, Ciudad Real, Cuenca and Toledo.
Although the documented origins of vineyards in La Mancha dated XII-XIII centuries after it repopulated in the times of Reconquista, some would argue that the vines from La Mancha date back to the Roman times. However, the cultivation of vineyards in La Mancha reaches its maximum expansion since 1940 and the wines from La Mancha are currently among one of the finest and most prestigious in the world.
Tempranillo (also called Cencibel) is the most important variety of the red grapes in the Designation of Origin La Mancha, with the highest reputation for quality at the national level. It is the most used in La Mancha, to produce red wines with aging, in its versions of single varietal or blending with others.
Tempranillo is a very old variety. While the earliest official mention of the variety is from 1807, the general theory is that Tempranillo was introduced to the Iberian Peninsula by the Phoenicians over 3,000 years ago. Tempranillo is the fourth-most planted variety in the world and is considered one of the nine red noble grapes.
Tempranillo wines are ruby red in colour, while aromas and flavours can include berries, plum, tobacco, vanilla, leather and herb.
D.O.P. Yecla is a Designation of Origin for wines located around the town of Yecla in the northernmost corner of the region of Murcia. The area is notable for its extensive use of the red Monastrell grape variety.
Findings from archaeological excavations in the area have confirmed that grape growing and wine production has been practiced in this area for over 2000 years and was probably introduced by the ancient Romans.
The vineyards covered by Yecla DO are located in a transition zone between the Mediterranean and the central upland plateaux La Mancha, at altitudes ranging from 400 to 800 metres above sea level. The soil is lime bearing, and the subsoil is thick with a high carbonate content. The topsoil is sandy, poor in organic matter, deep with good permeability.
Monastrell is a thick-skinned, black grape high in tannins and late to ripen. It’s a difficult grape to grow with a tendency to produce good yields one year and small yields the next, and growers have to wait as long as ten years for new vines to produce commercial quantities of fruit. It grows best in hot climates with long growing seasons, like one finds in the Spanish comunidad autónoma (i.e., regional government) of Murcia, home to the Designation of Origin (DO) of Yecla. The high altitudes of most of the vineyards in this DO ensure cool nighttime temperatures and large diurnal temperature variations that ensure acidity in the wines.
Monastrell is a meaty and full-bodied red wine. Its smell is an explosion of dark fruit, flowers like violet and herbaceous aromas of black pepper, thyme, and red meat.
Valencia is a Designation of Origin (DO) for wines located in the province of Valencia and is divided into two separate zones and four sub-zones each one of which produces a different type of wine.
Grape growing and wine production has been present in this area for thousands of years as attested by several archaeological finds, including Neolithic tombs containing remains of grapes.
Bobal, the star of the Designations of Origin of Valencia and Utiel-Requena. The presence of Bobal in Utiel-Requena was documented in the 15th century in "Espill o llibre de les dones” by Jaume Roig. This indigenous grape variety has adapted perfectly to the climate and local conditions.
The wines made from Bobal are known for their deep red colour, for being full bodied with intense aromas and ripe red berry character.
Scientific studies have shown that Bobal is one of the grape varieties that containing the highest level of resveratrol, which is a cardio-healthy agent.