Spain: La Mancha
La Mancha happens to be the largest demarcated wine region in the world and it lies just 200km south of Madrid. I spent a whole day at Pago del Vicario, in its beautiful organically designed complex that blends in with the landscape and its surrounding vineyards. The region is so flat that anything would stand out, but the winery’s hotel and restaurant rather integrate with nature and cannot even be seen from afar.
Pago del Vicario is denominated Vino de la Tierra, the equivalent of Vins de Pays in France, which theoretically is one step below the DO wines, but allows the producer greater freedom, so experimentation runs wild. Having that said, it was Susana Lopes, the winemaker at Pago del Vicario who came up with the first Blanco de Tempranillo, a white wine made from the black grape Tempranillo– what the French call a Blanc du Noir– and I call heaven.
A delicious, refreshing, 100% free run juice with a delicate and yet racy palate. I brag on the fact that I was the first person to carry this wine in NY and having tasted every vintage since its release, I must say that its evolution is remarkable. The wine is leaner and elegant, which makes it a great afternoon wine or aperitif, not to mention a perfect sea food pairing. I could have had an entire bottle by their pool on that 104F degree afternoon, but a swimsuit wasn’t an option.