Central Spain produces much of the nation's wine and was once known as the home of the cheap and cheerful. It still fulfils this role today, but has added quality to its repertoire as well. The region can be divided into the Levante, which takes in the Mediterranean coast and rises up into the mountains, and Castilla-La Mancha, a vast area deep inland to the south of Madrid. La Mancha, Valdepeñas and Almansa are amongst the foremost areas with a DO (Denominación de Origen) classification and, in the latter of these, the Bodega Piqueras is a leading producer of excellent reds.Read More
Red, white and rosé wines are all produced in the region though the styles are not as varied as for Northern Spain. A lot of unexceptional blending takes place, but this is often for domestic consumption and the wines that are exported can be of excellent quality and value for money. It is the red wines that have achieved the greatest results up to now, from both local and international grape varieties, and the whites still have some way to go.
Monastrell, Bobal, Garnacha and Tempranillo (known locally as Cencibel) are the local red varieties and they have been recently joined by Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot to fine effect. Airén and Merseguera are the most widespread of the whites but neither has shone on the international stage.
The climate is Mediterranean on the coast, with warm summers, mild winters and reasonable rainfall, but further inland it becomes continental and areas of Castilla-La Mancha can verge on the arid and be freezing in winter. It takes careful viniculture to operate in such conditions and in recent years the expertise and investment has begun to be applied to get the best from the land. The soils throughout the region are generally quite rich and retentive of the moisture that infrequently falls.