wines Tag

Winegrowing in Almansa probably dates from the 16th century, and wine has been produced in the region ever since. Almansa stands around 700 metres (2,300 feet) above sea level in the eastern corner of the province of Albacete, bordering Valencia, Alicante and Murcia. The denomination of origin, established in 1975, encompasses 8 boroughs and 7,600 hectares (some 19,000 acres) of land under vine. It includes the boroughs of Almansa, Alpera, Bonete, Corral Rubio, Higueruela, Hoya Gonzalo, Pétrola and the locality of El Villar de Chinchilla, all within the province of Albacete. In the past, the wines of this region were in great demand in other European markets for their high alcohol levels and deep colour, and they were often mixed with wines from more northerly climes, where fermentation could be more difficult, in order to add those qualities of colour and strength. These wines were traditionally shipped in bulk. Today, the winemakers of the region use modern technology to make quality bottled wine, which is winning over the palates of wine-drinkers in over 25 countries. The leading grape varieties for red wine in the Denominación de Origen Almansa are Garnacha Tintorera (which, with its unusual red flesh, produces wines of intense colour and full flavour) and Monastrell (which produce wines that are powerful and full-bodied, with a hint of sweetness). These wines are characterized by their complex aromas (of ripe fruit, smoke, a touch of log fire) and richly intense colour. The excellent levels of acidity along with rigorous oversight of the fermentation process make them ideal for the production of high quality wines well-suited to ageing in oak casks to gain ‘Crianza’, ‘Reserva’ and ‘Gran Reserva’ status. Though best known for its red wines, it also produces fresh young white wines and fruity, young, sometimes sweet, rosés. The white wines, made from Verdejo and Sauvignon Blanc grapes, are light, but with a yellow richness, and are moderately aromatic. The rosé wines run from bright strawberry-pink in colour to a lighter pink with hints of orange. These are fresh, light wines, that are vivaciously fruity in the mouth....

The Almansa Denominación de Origen was established in 1966 and stretches eastwards in Albacete province, encompassing 8 boroughs, with 7,600 hectares (some 19,000 acres) under vine. It currently consists of 750 winegrowers and twelve wineries that, over the course of 2015, produced 62,553 hectolitres (1,652,475 US gallons) of wine, of which around 80% was sold in the international market. Long-established family wineries work in tandem with the more recently formed cooperatives to continue the development of the wines and the reputation for quality of the Almansa DO. The locality of Almansa itself is home to Bodegas Piqueras and the various grape varieties that go into the making of its Castillo de Almansa and Valcanto wines; Bodegas Virgen de Belén has the Mirador and Señorío de Almansa and Cañada de Belén lines; Hacienda ‘El Espino’ produces the 1707 range; Bodegas Atalaya makes the Laya, Alaya Tierra and La Atalaya del Camino wines; Bodegas Almanseñas produces the oak-aged Adaras Reserva, the younger style Calizo and the intermediate crianzas La Huella and Parcela; and Bodegas Matamangos’ wines are Matamangos Mod and Calx. Nearby Higueruela is where Bodegas Cano grows the different grape varieties that make up its Cañada del Soto and 1860 wines, and the Santa Quiteria de Higueruela Cooperative produces its Altitud and Tintoralba wines. Bodegas El Tanino, with its 1752 range, is to be found in Hoya-Gonzalo. The Santa Cruz Cooperative is in Alpera, where it produces its Santa Cruz de Alpera, Albarroble and Rupestre Alpera wines. Finally, Bonete is home to Bodega Dehesa El Carrascal and the grapes that go into the making of their Tudon’s and Dulcemar wines. These wineries are notable for the way they work together, supporting each other, and year on year they harvest new national and international awards for the excellence of their wines and the quality of their grapes. At present the emphasis is on three grape varieties: Garnacha Tintorera, which provides excellent structure, accounts for 60% of the area under vine; Monastrell, a native variety, makes up 13% of production; and Syrah, which has adapted particularly well to this area, produces excellent spicy wines....

In recent years, the wines of DO Almansa have been on everyone’s lips, metaphorically and literally. The wines have fanned the passion of those who already knew the charms of the region, and are gaining new admirers with every glass. 2016 is proving to be a great year. The wines have won award after award across a range of national and international competitions. The most recent vintage is highly promising and has tantalized the palates of those who have tried it. Bodegas Piqueras achieved three silver medals this summer in the highly regarded international competition Mundus Vini 2016. The prize-winning wines were: Castillo de Almansa Crianza, Castillo de Almansa Reserva and Valcanto Syrah. And in the 2016 Sakura Japan Women’s Wine Awards a gold medal was awarded to Valcanto Syrah 2012 and a silver to Castillo de Almansa Reserva 2011. Bodegas Matamangos won the ‘gran oro’ (‘top gold’) medal, the highest recognition of merit at CIVAS (Concurso Internacional de Vinos Akatavino Sumilleres de España – the Akatavino International Wine Competition for Spanish Sommeliers), with MataMangos Calx included among the top wines overall. This wine has also been elevated to the victors’ rostrum of the Guía del Vino Cotidiano 2016-2017 as one of the best wines in Spain. Bodega Santa Cruz de Alpera won the ‘Manojo de Bronce’ (‘Bunch of Bronze’) prize in the Young Whites category of the ‘Premios Manojo’ (‘Bunch Prizes’) at the National Wine Competition in Tordesillas. In addition to the above, the 2016 and 2017 editions of Spain’s market-leading Peñín Guide awarded a score of 90 points to the winery’s Albarrobles Selección and Rupestre de Alpera wines. Bodega Dehesa El Carrascal won prizes at the Gran Selección 2016 awards for the 2015 and 2014 vintages of Tudon’s as the best wine of distinguished quality in the red wine category, and also a gold medal at the Bacchus Wine International Competition, and among other honours the wine was awarded 90 points by the ‘GFW Wine Association’. Several medals were won at the Gran Zarcillo (‘Great Tendril’) international competition by the winery’s Dulcemar wine and others. Bodegas Tintoralba received various honours in the Gran Selección Awards Castilla La Mancha 2016, notably gold medals for the red Tintoralba 2015 and the sweet Tintoralba Dulce 2015 and silver medals for the white Tintoralba Blanco and red Tintoralba Selección Orgánica (‘Organic Selection’). The 2015 Tintoralba Garnacha Tintorera and 2015 Tintoralba Roble were awarded silver medals at  the Bacchus Wine International Competition, Spain’s leading wine competition. Bodegas Cano’s 1860 Vendimia Seleccionada (‘selected harvest’) was a gold medal winner at the ‘Mono Vino’ Monovarietals Competition. The 89 points awarded by the Guía Peñín 2016 edition are also a highlight. Bodegas Almanseñas won silver with La Huella de Adaras 2013 and a much-coveted gold with Adaras Huella 2014 at Mundus Vini 2016, and the latter wine was also scored at 91 points in the Peñin Guide 2017. In the same current edition of the Peñin Guide the Adaras Calizo Garnacha Tintorera 2015 achieved a score of 90 points. Hacienda El Espino is well-known for the quality of its ‘1707’ range of wines, which, as the ‘5 barricas’ website explains, pay homage to the countryside in which the vines are grown and the year of the historic battle fought there. In the 2017 edition of the Peñín Guide, all the wines of Bodegas Atalaya are awarded scores of over 90 points. Specifically, Laya 2015 receives 90 points, Atalaya del Camino 2014 leaps in with 91 points, and the 92 points achieved by Alaya Tierra 2014 confirm its status as one of the best Garnacha Tintorera wines in the country. As well as the above, Alaya Tierra 2011 was again ranked in the ‘Elección de Vivino: Top Wines of 2015’ list. In the Guía de Vinos Monovarietales de España 2015 (‘Guide to Single Variety Wines of Spain’ 2015 edition), Bodegas Virgen del Belén was awarded 89 points for its Mirador de Almansa and 87 points for its Cañada de Belén wines. Finally, Bodegas El Tanino has achieved sundry honours with its 1752 Tinto de Garnacha Tintorera 2011, notably a gold medal at Bacchus 2016 and a silver at Mundus Vini 2016, as well as achieving a score of 90 points in the 2017 Peñin Guide....

Wine lovers and wine experts have long been aware that the Almansa region is ideally suited to the production of fine wines. In 2015, DO Almansa hit the landmark production figure of 3 million bottles per year. And only 30% of that is sold domestically within Spain. We have over thirty years’ experience exporting our wine, as exporting was adopted as the core strategy of DO Almansa in the 1960s, when it emerged as one of the first Spanish DOs to focus on the international export market. Export volumes for last year reached 30,532 hl, over 70% of total production, representing sales revenue of 7,482,403 €. Germany and Finland are the main European markets. Beyond the EU, the leading markets are Canada, the USA and Asia, the latter especially having grown significantly in recent years. Our wines have succeeded in establishing themselves as market leaders among Spanish wines in over 40 export markets, with Canada and Finland as the principal destination countries. In Finland we are firmly established as a leading wine region, despite stiff competition in this country of enthusiastic wine-drinkers. In Canada, which is a highly important market, with a very modern and sophisticated wine trade, our wines are well-established both in terms of prestige and sales, having won over the most demanding palates. Here at the DO we realize that we are blessed with the finest raw materials so long as these are tended with the care that they deserve. Wine-growing in Almansa is notable for the age of the locality’s vines, for the intense concentration of fruit and the quality of the grapes, for the altitude of its vineyards and for the particular local climate (with its exceptionally low levels of rainfall), which together give rise to very full-bodied wines, with good tannin levels and exquisite aromas. The wines of the Almansa DO are unique, highly expressive fine wines that are very competitive in the market place, due both to the special qualities of our indigenous grape varieties (Garnacha Tintorera and Monastrell) and also to the wines’ overall image, quality and price....

Matching food and wine is one of the areas of liveliest discussion among wine experts, and also among those who don’t see themselves as experts, but just want something to enhance their enjoyment of a nice glass of wine. In theory this seems quite straightforward: it’s just a question of choosing a dish and a wine to go with it. However, we’ve come a long way since the days of "it’s fish so it has to be white wine", as more and more well-matched food and wine combinations are becoming established, especially with the greater array of grapes available nowadays. So that you get the most pleasure out of your meals, we would like to suggest some foods to partner with DO Almansa wines. The white grapes most widely used for quality white wines in the Almansa DO are Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Verdejo and Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains. Wines made with Sauvignon Blanc and Verdejo, which are characteristically dry and aromatic, should be served chilled, at between 8 °C and 11 °C, and are the perfect match for raw or grilled vegetables, starchy staples like rice, potatoes and pasta, and, of course, fish. But for a fuller-flavoured grape like Chardonnay, an ideal partner might be seafood, but it also goes well with rice, potatoes and pasta as above, grilled vegetables, and white meats such as chicken, with the wine served at between 11 °C and 13 °C. Finally, the sweeter Muscat (Moscatel) grape, with its slightly higher alcohol levels, goes perfectly with lighter cheeses, with cured meats or, of course, dessert, with the wine served at around 6 °C. The red grapes most frequently used in the fine wines of DO Almanasa are Garnacha Tintorera, Monastrell, Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo, Syrah, Merlot, Garnacha Tinta, Petit Verdot and Pinot Noir. Wines made from Garnacha Tintorera are a sure winner with strong and full-flavoured dishes. This grape variety goes perfectly with meat. All the way from roast lamb to meat-flavoured rice and pasta dishes, via hearty stews and casseroles. It is a perfect match for sheep milk cheese, and more substantial vegetables such as sweet peppers and aubergines Wines made with Syrah and Garnacha are often used to make rosé wines. This particular style of wine goes perfectly with seafood, grilled vegetables and white meat, and should ideally be served at between 11 °C and 13 °C.  Tempranillo and Merlot grapes are often used for young wines, and their bright freshness brings out the flavour of stronger cheeses, and both red and white meat, as well as cured meats, and should ideally be served at between 14 °C and 16 °C. For red meat straight off the barbecue and for cured meats again, we turn to Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot. These are high-quality wines with a high concentration of antioxidant polyphenols, and should be served slightly warmer, at between 16 °C and 18 °C. Finding the perfect match can seem difficult to start with, but if you explore the possibilities you’ll find the perfect partner for every meal. ...