Wine is considered one of the oldest beverages known to man, dating back more than 7000 years. Grapes are believed to have been first cultivated between 3000 and 4000 B.C. in Spain. This long tradition of wine making has positioned Spain as the country with the largest cultivation area worldwide with a surface of almost 1,200,000 hectares of vineyards. Climate is also an important contributing factor to the existence of the winemaking tradition in Spain, that is favourable to the cultivation of the vine. Thanks to its diverse geography, Spain has many types of grapes that result in the different and varied types of wine. A clear example is reflected in the cultivation seen in Andalusia, where the vineyards are planted at more than 650 metres, in order to be able to adapt to the high temperatures recorded in summer, that would have serious consequences on the grapes.
Wine is also one of the key components of the Mediterranean diet, and it is well known that the moderate consumption of same during meals can ensure greater longevity and reduce potential cardiovascular problems.
Whenever Spaniards think of wine, they do not think of it as simply wine, also associating it with the social ritual that goes hand in hand with it, whether at an opening, a party, a meal with friends or family, that always ends up with a great toast.
THE LA MANCHA DESIGNATION OF ORIGIN
Our varieties of wine all possess the La Mancha Designation of origin.
La Mancha is, a great expanse of flat land, consisting of a reddish earth resulting from the limestone structure Miocene sediments, that is relatively low-lying.
Its extreme temperatures are due to its continental climate that ranges from-15 ºC in winter to 45 ºC during the summer.
Dryness is another of its more pronounced characteristics, owing to the fact that its micro-climate prevents the entry of humid winds, resulting in scarce rainfall (300 to 400 mm per year), the reason why La Mancha is primarily a place of dry cultivation.
The La Mancha Designation of Origin has wines that have been produced with different grape varieties, including:
WHITE GRAPE VARIETIES
Sauvignon Blanc: Originating from the Loire Valley. Very aromatic variety, adapted to cold climates, although it also offers an acceptable adaptation to dry climates. La Mancha is experiencing a significant increase in the number of plantations of this variety, considering its great aromatic contribution. It buds early and is resistant to the cold. Bunches are cylindrical and medium in size, with straw yellow coloured grapes that have soft skin and very aromatic juice.
Verdejo: It is regarded as one of the best varieties in Spain and results in very aromatic wines, with smooth and soft body Stand out for its freshness, acidity, and stickiness, and is very persistent on the palate with a lingering aftertaste. Despite its very recent introduction, it has grown exponentially in La Mancha.
RED GRAPE VARIETIES
Tempranillo: This is the main grape of the Designation of Origin of La Mancha, with the biggest reputation for quality within Spain. It is the most widely used variety in La Mancha, for the production of red crianza wines , in both their non- varietal versions or blended with others. Moderate production, but of very high quality.
Petit Verdot: From Bordeaux, it grows in the prostrate position with an average yield. Small or medium bunches. It produces wines with a great intensity of colour, that are rich in tannins and ripe, proving to be very suitable for blending with other varieties of wines that provide smoothness in small quantities.
The Designation of Origin offers a wide selection of wines, which can be classified according to their production periods into the following:
Young wines: these must be consumed no later than nine months from the time they are produced. Are produced by controlling the fermentation temperature to best maintain their aromas. They must be consumed preferably in the same year of harvest to fully benefit from all their aromatic potential.
Traditional wines: while their natural life is comparable to any other ageing wine , their conservation has been carried out in tanks or pots. This section would also include naturally sweet white wines.
Wines aged in oak casks: while they are produced in the same way as young or traditional wines, they remain for at least 60 days in oak casks.
Aging wines: naturally aged for two years, one of which must be in oak cask and bottle.
Reserve wines: aged for a minimum of twelve months in oak casks and twenty four months in the bottle.
Gran Reserva wines: aged for a minimum of twenty four months in oak casks and thirty six months in the bottle.
Pearl wines: thanks to their particular method of product, they retain a small amount of carbon dioxide from the fermentation of sugars.