The Tasting Panel magazine

JULY 2011

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Mondejar, Ribera del Jucar, Uclés and Valpendas. They differ in climate. For example, Ribera del Jucar’s cool summer nights result in long ripening seasons for its white grape, Moscatel de Grano Menudo, and for reds Bobal and Tempranillo, while Jumilla’s arid sunny climate make it the world’s number-one producing region for Monastrell. The D.O.s also differ in age, from Mondejar, first established in 1997, to Valdepenas, an ancient Roman region that became a D.O. in 1932. Even within a D.O., there’s great diversity. For example, D.O. Uclés’s three geogra- phies consist of vastly different soils; in Sierra de Altomira, there’s dolomitic limestone, while the Eastern section comprises of ternary deposits and the West’s rolling landscape has sediments and valley floors. This great terroir variety means that when you see the mark of Castilla-La Mancha—Don Quixote’s emblem on Miami-based sommelier Carlos Arturaola was a speaker at the 2011 Fenavin Spanish Wine Fair. the old Toledo look, a combination of Moorish and Roman architecture, they refurbished the cellar with Mudejar brick and a coffered ceiling. “There are more than one million wine labels in the world. How do we separate ourselves from the rest? By the history and the story of the wine,” says Rodrigo Bravo, Export Manager for Loranque. “Our cellar puts it all together.” After hearing the story about the cellar, Marc Guillotte, the Wine Buyer for Rhode Island’s largest wine store, People’s Liquor Warehouse, points at Bravo and says, “Now this is a vineyard that gets it! Story is what sells.” And now more than ever, the wine- makers here are trying to tell, or sell, their story. Are you listening? Fred’s Fenavin Favorites Gotas de Plata (Drops of Gold) is Castilla-La Mancha’s lone sparkling wine producer. the bottleneck—you will find vastly dif- ferent wines from vineyard to vineyard, D.O. to D.O. But what all the D.O.s have in common is that the region stands far above France and Italy in altitude. “Castilla-La Mancha has one of the highest terroirs in Europe,” Arturaola says. Some vineyards are as high as 900 meters (2,950 feet) above sea level, giving them greater sun exposure than other Old World terroirs. In D.O. Mentrida, Toledo, where the average elevation is 507 meters (1,660 feet), vineyards average 238 days of sunshine a year. This gives Finca Loranque’s fertile clay soil the perfect amount of light for growing its Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Merlot. But what makes this vineyard special is its cellar; to give it I tasted about 500 wines at the Fenavin Wine Fair and wrote notes on about 250. Here are two exceptional Castilla-La Mancha wines, one white and one red. —F. M. Maza Cruz 2010 Verdejo ($12) This beautiful straw-yel- low wine hits the nose with notes of toasted chestnut, cloves, fennel and fresh herbs. It’s slightly buttery in the mouth with floral and citrus notes, retaining natural acidity that truly leaves a pleasant aftertaste that lingers on the palate. It’s an excellent Thanksgiving wine to pair with turkey. currently in negotiation for U.S. import Bodega Tikalo 2005 Kios Tempranillo (SRP $12) With a dark plum color, this 2005 gives the nose heavy red fruits and hints of fig and strawberry jam. It’s so deli- cate in the mouth, with smooth well-rounded tannins, that the chocolate, raspberry and slight black currant notes are almost lost amidst the velvety texture. It leaves a nice, lasting chocolate ganache finish to enjoy. Its keen acidity would make it a great pairing for roasted duck. Bourgeois Family Selections july 201 1 / the tasting panel / 83

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