La Mancha countryside, in the dusty landscapes of Don Quixote, has some great wines and wineries. This region includes Toledo, a UNESCO World Heritage Site renowned for its cultural and winemaking history.
The majority of Spain’s vineyards lie south of the capital Madrid, on the plains of La Mancha. La Mancha D.O. (appellation) is the largest continuous wine-producing area in the world and accounts for almost half of all wines grown in Spain.
Long-term investment in modernization has been critical in improving La Mancha's bulk-wine image from the 1970s. More and more wine estates producing high-quality wines have emerged, building the region’s prestige.
Notably, Pago De La Jaraba offer a guided tour of their vineyards and cellars combined with an elaborate introduction to their product extensions; cheese, olive oil and other raw materials. There are organized wine tastings with the winemakers where they also discuss the process of winemaking.
The finest vineyards in La Mancha are those with high limestone and chalk content in the sub-soil. The most successful grape variety are those hardy enough to withstand the harsh climatic conditions. Airén is a local favorite. The wines made from this grape are fresh and dry and provide much of the country’s basic vino de mesa and raw ingredients for the brandy de Jerez.
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