By Fred Minnick
The term organic was once rarely used. In the 1970s, food labels certainly did not consistently carry the term.
But, consumers started consistently not buying food produced from agriculture practices that included herbicide and pesticide use. That small trend from the 1980s blossomed in the 1990s and became so commonplace in the 2000s that organic food and organic agriculture changed the marketplace for all foods and the United States Department of Agriculture’s labels. Now, bookstores and grocery stores have more shelf space dedicated to the term organic than ever before.
That has carried over to wine.
According to various market studies, organic wine growth ranges from 5 percent a year to 20 percent a year. Nobody is certain on exactly how many organic wine drinkers are out there, but we do know that they are passionate about their organic wine.
D.O. La Mancha has several organic wineries that have gone through the certification processes. Those include:
Bodegas Parra Jiménez — Las Mesas (Cuenca)
Coop. Ntro. Padre Jesús del Perdón / Bodegas Yuntero – Manzanares (Ciudad Real):
Vinícola de Castilla, S.A. — Manzanares (Ciudad Real)
Coop. San Isidro / Bodegas Latúe — Villanueva de Alcardete (Toledo).
Bodegas Verdúguez S.A.T. — Villanueva de Alcardete (Toledo)
Viñedos y Bodegas de El Toboso, S.L. – El Toboso (Toledo).
Aquilino Yébenes — Miguel Esteban (Toledo).
Biomancha, S.L. – Miguel Esteban (Toledo).
Domino de Punctum – Las Pedroñeras (Cuenca).
Bodegas La Tercia – Alcázar de San Juan (Ciudad Real).
Even though this is an impressive representation of organic wineries, almost all wineries in La Mancha are organic; they just do not have the certification.
According to winemakers in the region, DO La Mancha’s loose, rocky soil are not weed friendly. Plus, the high-heat summers and frigid winters kill bugs and create low humidity.
“There is little need for any vineyard here to use pesticides,” says Diego Fernandez Pons, winemaker at the Parra Family Organic Wines. “We have the perfect organic conditions seven out of 10 years.”
Today, the DO La Mancha wines represent a large section of organic wines. As you are preparing your holiday meals, see if you can find these wonderful organic wines, all of which are priced between $9 and $19.
Parra Jimenez Verdejo 2010: Nice straw color with a bouquet of pear and green apple. On the palate, it’s crisp and fresh with hints of cinnamon and allspice.
Parra Jimenez Reserva 2004: Brilliant dark purple color with a nose of plum, chocolate and black fruits. Its soft, well-rounded tannins are complemented by a palate of vanilla, chocolate and black currant with slightly spicy finish.
Bodegas Volver Tempranillo 2009: Strong nose of black fruits and earth with a palate of dark cherries, black fruits and a hint of raspberry jam and a dry finish.
Campos de Dulcinea Tempranillo / Graciano 2009: Lovely dark cherry nose. Well-balanced fruits and rounded tannins with a perfectly structured finish.
Latue Tempranillo 2009: A beautiful cherry color that is clean and bright. It’s intense cherry and forest fruit aromas leave way for a good body, smooth and a good structure with a very long finish.
NorteSur Chardonnay 2010: This is clean, bright with a strong yellow tone. It’s filled the nose with tropical and exotic fruits and on the mouth it’s fresh with many of the same flavors found on the nose.
Fred Minnick is an international writer and photographer. View his work at FredWrite.com.