The Not So Impossible Dream—Wine from La Mancha

Once we finished the Catalonia wine tasting marathon, The Wine Academy of Spain’s instructor turned to Castilla-La Mancha before giving us an hour and a half lunch break.

Castilla-La Mancha
is located towards the middle of the Iberian peninsula and is home to the
Great Plain of La Mancha. Even more famous than its wines are the windmills, which were brought to the world’s attention in Miguel de Cervantes’ Don Quixote. However, La Mancha is incredibly important to the winemaking world. It’s Spain’s largest wine region, and up until July 2009, it was the largest wine appellation in the world (The Upper Mississippi Valley AVA just claimed that title from La Mancha).

On the whole, the
Castilla-La Mancha wines that we tasted in class were very inexpensive, with 3 out of the 5 wines averaging a retail price of under $10 and with the most expensive of the 5 wines averaging a retail price of $15. That said, the La Mancha wines were also the weakest of the group, so it was a slightly disappointing finish to the morning session.

Tasting #6 on Day 2
Castilla-La Mancha

2.5 Corks

2006 Altozano (winery, snooth)
65% Tempranillo, 35% Cabernet Sauvignon
Ripe, jammy fruits on the nose
Cherries with a touch of spice and smoke in the mouth
Medium tannins and high acidity

2007 Tapeña Garnacha (winery, snooth)
Purple with blue flecks
Red currant, white pepper, and violets on the nose
Red fruits and violets in the mouth
Low acidity, which may have contributed to the wine tasting flat

3 Corks

2008 Viña Albali Tempranillo from Valdepeñas
Medium purple
Herbaceous, fruity, and fatty
Medium tannins and acidity
May benefit from being chilled slightly

3.5 Corks

2002 Viña Albali Gran Reserva (snooth) from Valdepeñas
Ruby with a touch of garnet on the rim
Licorice, leather, nutmeg, cinnamon, and a touch of vanilla on the nose
Berries, vanilla, cedar, and smoke in the mouth
Medium tannins and acidity

2007 Volver (snooth)
100% Tempranillo
Dark, inky purple
Red fruits, smoke, cedar, and ground coffee
A little high in alcohol
Medium-to-high tannins and acidity with a full body

…and after the tasting we took a 1 ½ hour lunch.

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