It’s the magical heart of Spain and the home of the fabled Don Quixote. Castilla-La Mancha is composed of five provinces and expands over 80,000 sq. km of beautiful land with diverse Mediterranean and Continental climates. Known for its diversity, exquisiteness, and fertility; Castilla-La Mancha can truly be considered a mecca for Spanish culture. With 460,000 hectares of wine-producing terroir, Castilla-La Mancha is the largest wine-growing region in the world and produces 50 percent of Spanish wine. Fortunately for the Philippines, the Spanish Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines, in conjunction with IPEX (Instituto de Promoción Exterior of Castilla-La Mancha), brought a taste of Castilla-La Mancha wine to Manila. Hosted at the Makati Shangri-La, Manila hotel on May 29th 2017, the grand tasting event brought in some of Castilla–La Mancha’s best wine producers to find homes here in the Philippine market.

Tempranillo Life

The focus of the event was certainly Tempranillo, the star variety of Spanish red wine grapes. Every producer had their line up of Tempranillo wines, all of which shined with layers of flavor and incredible bouquet. Lineups generally include a Roble, a Crianza, a Reserva, and a Gran Reserva, all of which are made from Tempranillo (in this specific case). “Roble,” which translates from Spanish to “oak,” is a fairly new term which means to show that the wine has seen a little bit of oak barrel aging (usually four months), but not enough to receive the title of “Crianza.” “Crianza,” which translates to “nursing” or “caring for,” requires more oak barrel aging than the Roble, usually 12 months. The Reserva and Gran Reserva are reserved for the best grapes and vintages. Reserva is usually aged in oak barrels for 12 to 24 months with a minimum of 36 months of aging before release and the Gran Reserva has a minimum of 24 months in oak (often longer) and is required to age at least 60 months before release! These wines are the crème de la crème of Spanish wine and often age gracefully for years.

Blends, Blends, and more Blends!

Along with the traditional Tempranillo expressions, Castilla-La Mancha wine producers all bring their unique blends that incorporate Tempranillo with foreign varietals. These blends, which are often marriages with neighboring varietals such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Syrah, explore the unique traits of the varietals and create new expressions. Creativity is key and is widespread in Castilla-La Mancha. It was common to see producers showing off more and more blends, whether it was Bodegos Montalvo Tempranillo-Cabernet Roble or Bodegas Viñedos Illanas’s Casa Illana Tres de Cinco Crianza (a blend of Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sryah, and Bobal). Blends create uniquely chartered wines that often deviate from the norm. This creativity in winemaking is what keeps wine fresh and new—no matter what type of drinker you are.

Spanish Tradition

Castilla-La Mancha is certainly a hotbed of Spanish tradition. Whether you are interested in culture, food, or wine, Castilla-La Mancha has it all. For those who want a taste, do your research (which means drink!). Go to your local bottle shop and look for Spanish wine, whether from Castilla-La Mancha or from other Spanish wine regions such as Rioja. Vote with your pesos and before we know it the Philippines will be flush with fantastic wine.

Fogoso Sparkling Wine
Edone Cuvee de Maria

Photos by Star Sabroso

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