La Mancha may be best known as the setting for Spain’s most famous story, Don Quixote. But it is also the largest D.O. in Spain covering sections of 4 provinces; Albacete, Ciudad Real, Cuenca and Toldeo. It is also the largest wine producing area in the world with nearly 200,000 hectares (approximately 500,000 acres) of vineyards.
Climate: Elevation across the region averages well over 600 meters and helps define “continental” climate. Here very cold winters (as low as 10oF) lead to an abrupt warming in spring time to very hot summers (highs sometimes exceed 110oF). The region is very dry getting only between 12-15 inches of rain a year. The majority of vineyards are dry-farmed.
Soil: While it is a very large region, soils tend to be remarkably similar across the D.O.; composed of red-brown sandy clay which offer low levels of organic matter and are relatively high in limestone and chalk.
Grape Varities: The major grapes grown in La Mancha are Airen (white) and Cencibel (red a.k.a. Tempranillo). Allowed grapes include Viura (Macabeo), Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc as well as Garnacha, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah.