By Doc Lawrence
«Wine is one of the most civilized things in the world and one of the most natural things of the world that has been brought to the greatest perfection . . .” — from “Death In The Afternoon” by Ernest Hemingway
Hemingway loved the people and wines of Spain. Wine was almost inseparable from his view of a life lived fully. On his way to garnering a Nobel Prize, he experienced pleasures and adventures first hand. Unshackled by trends, the obscure often became the preferred.
Not so long ago, wines from countries like Argentina and Chile, for reasons unrelated to quality or value, made little impact in the American marketplace. Increased familiarity changed everything, welcoming new wines into the market mainstream Likewise, wines of the D. O. La Mancha region are now emerging from the shadows and the potential is good news for consumers.
Sharon Bader owns and manages not only The Spanish Table in Seattle, along with other retail wine stores in California and New Mexico, plus an online wine store, http://thespanishtable.com. Because she carries an impressive inventory of Spanish wines—including eight from D. O. La Mancha— and understands the critical demand factor in wine economics, she is a unique observer.
“La Mancha produces wonderful wines,” she said, “and the quality and very reasonable prices makes them quite attractive to our customers.”
We engaged in a hypothetical wine and food pairing. I nominated salmon, a Seattle staple, and grilled lamb chops. Ms. Bader selected a white and red wine from D. O. La Mancha. “Paso A Paso is a classic, 100 percent Verdejo,” she revealed, adding that this “makes an almost perfect summer wine. I’d serve it with salmon anytime.” We both agreed that her store’s $9.00 price tag would get some attention from budget-conscious customers.
Pago Florentino, La Mancha (2005) was her choice for the lamb. This 100% Tempranillo (named Cencibel in La Mancha), “works magic with lamb or any rich meat entrée,” she said, “and the $20.00 price tag is persuasive when you discover how terrific this really is and how well it compares to a much more expensive Spanish wine.”
According to Ms. Bauder, the future in America for D.O. La Mancha is optimistic.
“More exposure through tastings, wine dinners and lots of news articles is really going to increase popularity and consumer demand.” Her market view is very broad. “Interacting with retail buyers and wholesalers daily, we have a good feel for trends, but aren’t bound by them. We can establish trends by doing what we do best- introducing these wonderful wine experiences to our customers and that includes the exceptional wines from La Mancha.”
Doc Lawrence is a veteran wine, dining and travel journalist based in Atlanta, Georgia. He is the editor of Wines Down South and many articles are featured in his blog, DOC’S NEWS. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.