LUSH AND GORGEOUS GRAPES GROWN IN A RUGGED LAND
The single most important facet of Spanish geography is La Meseta, the high desert plateau that dominates the center of the country. It is a flat, arid expanse of some 80,000 square miles-close to half the surface area of Spain-and ranges in altitude between 600 to 1,000 meters above sea level. Spain’s capital city, Madrid, sits in the very middle of the Meseta. Hope into a car and drive southeast of the capital and you’ll find yourself in La Mancha, a historic region characterized by rugged scenery, lonely castles, windmills, herds of sheep and the legacy of Miguel de Cervantes who set his book, Don Quixote, the defining work of Spanish literature, in La Mancha.
The Parra family works two large vineyards in La Mancha near the town of Las Mesas (The Tables), totaling some 445 acres, or around 180 hectares. One of the vineyards is named Entresendas (Between Paths). It sits in the dried bed of an ancient river. As a result Entresendas benefits from the rich, Alluvial soils, common to old river beds and perfect for the cultivation of grapes. The other vineyard is officially named Olla del Monte (Cooking Pan in the Mountain), but is known in local slang as Cuesta Colorá, the red slope. Cuesta Colorá is also the name of the Parra family’s remarkable sulfite-free wine. The red slopes are covered in chalky clay with a fine layer of pebbles atop it that capture the heat of the sun and keep the grapes warm during La Mancha’s chilly desert nights.
There is a saying that to make great wine you must torture the grapes. If that is so, then La Mancha is an ideal place to make wine. Days are hot, imparting sweetness to the fruit. Nights are cold, giving the fruit the bracing acidity it needs to produce lively wine. Rainfall is almost nonexistent, allowing the vines to grow grapes concentrated in flavor.
Francisco Parra says.
La Mancha is not a zone with a great deal of prestige in comparison to places like Bordeaux or La Rioja, but the conditions here are ideal for growing grapes and we put a great deal of love and attention in our vineyards and the fruit that comes out of them.”