Home to literary hero, Don Quixote, and Manchego cheese, Castilla-La Mancha is a large autonomous region that vastly contributes to Spain’s wine production. With its continental climate that ranges from high temperature summers with no rain to freezing winters, it is no wonder the Moors named the land after manxa, which means “parched earth.” While more than half of Spain’s grapes are grown in Castilla-La Mancha, the most common varietals are Airén, Cencibel (Tempranillo), Bobal, Garnacha, Monastrell, and Bordeaux grapes.
Castilla-La Mancha has eight DO appellations: La Mancha, Almansa, Ribera del Júcar, Manchuela, Méntrida, Mondéjar, Uclés, and Valdepeñas. One of the largest continuous winegrowing areas in the world, La Mancha DO has 160,000 hectares under vine, although a good amount of wine is used for brandy or other fortifying agents. Once a part of La Mancha DO, Almansa, Ribera del Júcar, and Méntrida are well established appellations, although in the beginning Méntrida had a poor reputation for its bulk Garnacha.