During a recent balmy evening, my wife decided we’d have a cookout and asked me to grab a wine to accompany our grilled steaks. I grabbed this Tempranillo from Bodegas Villavid in the Spanish municipality of Villarta.
The area is located in Spain’s Castillo-La Mancha, the largest wine region in the world with more than 740,000 acres of vineyards. A much smaller portion of that territory can produce D.O. (designation of origin) wines that brings with it tight controls on production and quality. Unfortunately, the region is unknown to many American wine lovers – but a marketing effort is underway to change that.
The wine tradition in Castillo-La Mancha is longstanding. Author Miguel de Cervantes who penned the masterpiece “Don Quixote,” makes several references to wine including one praising “the wine that put him in the clouds.”
Castillo-La Mancha has limestone soil and more than 3,000 hours of sunshine a year to provide great growing conditions. More than half of the organic wines in Spain come from this area, so the region is committed to sustainable agriculture. Tempranillo is the most important red grape in this region, so I was anxious to taste this bottle.
The Villavid has a medium body and is delicious from the very first sip. In the glass it is a deep red. On the palate it offers rich red fruit and cherry and toffee flavor notes. This an easy drinking wine with a round, smooth texture with light tannins.
Normally I would pick a heartier wine to pair with a steak, but this proved to be a tasteful combination. As dinner wound down and we started a fire in the firepit, the Villavid proved to be a great wine for a summer evening on the patio.
The Man of La Mancha is an enduring classic and now the wines of La Mancha are on their way to world-wide notoriety as well.
Full disclosure: We received this wine as a marketing sample.