What does La Mancha, the underrated wine region in Spain, have to offer?

Manjavacas was founded in 1948 by a group of growers who wanted to help the struggling local economy after the Spanish Civil War. Partnering with 750 growers who work with 6,000 hectares of vineyards, the cooperative produces 50 million litres of wine a year. The company also makes other agricultural products like olive oil.

Bulk wine takes up 90 per cent of Manjavacas’ wine production – the remaining 10 per cent goes to bottled wine production, which includes IGP (Indicacion Geografica Protegida, a lower tier appellation) and DO La Mancha wines. Juan Fuente Rus, general manager of Manjavacas, said he expects the bottled wine production segment to grow. “You earn more selling bottled wines, and [its production] also gives more jobs to the villagers as you need to hire more workers to tend to the vineyards and bottling line,” he said.

Manjavacas makes a range of organic DO wines under the Sandogal brand, offering consumers a taste of what stalwart cooperatives like themselves can bring to quality winemaking. The Sandogal Seleccion Parcela 2020, made from Tempranillo sourced from a “parcel” of no more than seven hectares, is a beautiful wine with a lush mid-palate of dark fruit and touches of pepper, sandalwood and vanilla. The oak use is light-handed here, a style that is in line with modern Tempranillos and one that would appeal to those new to the grape variety.

Established in 1961, Virgen de Las Vinas is today the largest wine cooperative in Spain and Europe, working with more than 3,000 growers who get their fruit from 25,000 hectares of vineyards. It also makes a small selection of DO wines under its Tomillar brand. 

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