On January 17, 2013 the wines of Castilla-La Mancha rolled into Miami Beach and landed in the Villa, the former Versace mansion. Set up on the outdoor patio next to the ornately tiled pool.
Castilla-La Mancha is located in central Spain; it is the land Don Quixote roamed with his sidekick Sancho Panza. In addition to Spanish varietals like Tempranillo and Monastrell, international grapes are found here as well, Petit Verdot, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Syrah along with many others. Once know for producing wines that weren’t that distinguished, many wineries are working to change that perception and it is working.
I will feature some of my favorites.
Bodegas San Dionisio’s Mainetes Seleccion 2009 is a blend of Syrah, Merlot and Monastrell; richly textured this wine is meant for roast lamb.
Casa Antonete also showed very nice bottles, my favorites were their Crianza Tempranillo 2008 and their Joven Tempranillo, 2012.
Altolandon Rayuelo is a blend of local grape variety Bobal with Malbec and Monastrell. It is deep purple in color and is full bodied with some spiciness and a long dry finish.
Bodega Manuel Manzaneque was one of my favorite producers; their Finca Elez 2006 is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Tempranillo. Their Nuestra Seleccion 2005 is also Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Tempranillo is aged 14 months in new French oak and has dark concentrated black fruit and a spicy dry finish.
Vinicola de Castilla was also showing some excellent wines, 2005 La Llanura Reserva Tempranillo was perfect for drinking now with it tannins starting to soften. They also brought two of the oldest wines to the tasting, Senorio de Guadianeja Gran Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 and Senorio de Guadianeja Gran Reserva Tempranillo 2001. Both were drinking fantastic with bright fruit and light tannins.
Vinicola de Tomellos, Torre de Gazate Gran Reserva 2002 was one of my favorites. 100% Cabernet Sauvignon it is aged in new oak barrels. Softening tannins allow the fruit to shine through but still has plenty of body to hold up to richly prepared meat dishes.
Perhaps my favorite winery of the afternoon was Finca Los Aljibes. Robert Parker seems to agree, he has awarded most of their wines over 90 points. Their 2008 Cabernet Franc and 2008 Petit Verdot were loaded with black fruits, and minerals with silky tannins and long finishes. But it was their 2007 Selectus that was my favorite of the day. A blend of Cabernet Franc, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot and aged in new French oak for 18 months. Full bodied with fruit and minerals, the tannins while still powerful don’t overwhelm the palate. This wine does call for a nicely marbles rib eye fresh off the grill.
Head to your favorite wine shop and search out wines from Don Quixote’s Spain.
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