When somebody talks to me about La Mancha, the first thing that comes to mind is windmills and Don Quixote. Although the region is notorious for Miguel de Cervantes’ novel is less known by their few premium wines.
This always sound to me as paradox since La Mancha is the largest wine region in the world. While La Mancha has had a reputation for producing mediocre wines, there is a wind of change in the region. One recurring problem of the region is that they have had focused on price and volume in the past rather than quality.
Another issue has been the necessary monster of the cooperative. The coop is a big player in La Mancha wine industry. A neccesary evil, they still maintain the idea of bulk wine production and export it to other European countries such as France and Italy. This philosophy has prevented La Mancha to develop a clear wine identity. It is one of those weird anachronisms of the Spanish wine industry
Still you can find Bodegas that do things right like Bodegas Latue in This reference producer in La Mancha started out as the San Isidro Cooperative in 1954. The philosophy statement of the company it is:
The founding spirit of Bodegas Latúe remains latent. Entrepreneurship, ecology, sustainability, social responsibility, quality and innovation define the personality of Bodegas Latúe, in an environment where equal opportunities and social maintenance of people in the rural area are always present.
These values, transferred to our wines and high quality musts, are recognized by associates, clients, institutions and the society, identifying Bodegas Latúe as a socially responsible, sustainable and ecological company.
You can really feel the words when you taste the wines. I recently had a chance to taste their Verdejo and Tempranillo available in the Quebec market via their importer: Pot de Vin. The wines are available only via private import. It is actually worth it to buy a case or two of these wines since only a few references listed in the SAQ from the region have this incredible quality level.
Verdejo by Latue 2017. ( $19.78/Case of 6, private import in the Quebec market)
From organic grapes. One of the most amazing Verdejos that I tried with an unbeatable price. Great nose reminiscent of peach and tropical fruits. On the mouth, round and quite fresh with delicate notes of roasted herbs and lime sorbet. Pairs well with vegetable soups or light seafood dishes.
Tempranillo Pingorote Reserva 2012 ( $21.80/Case of 12, private import in the Quebec market)
A maturing bouquet. Aromas of tamed leather, spices such as cinnamon and cacao. With time in the glass, the nose develop enticing nuances of coffee liqueur, Kirsch cherry and vanilla bean. On the mouth, structured with a firm poise and noble tannins. The best Tempranillo reserva available in the Quebec market under $25. Buy by the case, because it stills has some mileage for the cellar.