In terms of area this is by far the largest DO of Spain at 194,864 hectares. In this immense area of La Mancha, where once the legendary Don Quixote tilted at windmills, the wine-growers fought against what they regarded as arbitrary rules laid down by the European Community. Even today not every-body in La Mancha accepts that there is a vast lake of surplus wine in Europe. Fortunately more and more bodegas are addressing themselves to the demands of the market and improving the bad name associated with La Mancha wine. These bodegas have substantially replaced their equipment and directed themselves towards making quality Spanish wines. Thanks to the effort of these innovative houses the name of La Mancha has increasingly been linked to quality wines, that can be
The area of Castilla-La Mancha is so large that it is dealt with in two parts. In the previous section that dealt with the high plateau of the Meseta we travelled through the western part of Castilla-La Mancha (Vinos de Madrid, La Mancha, Mentrida, and Valdepeñas). It is now time to visit the eastern part of Almansa.
Almansa is situated on the high plateau of the Levante, close to the autonomías of Valencia (Alicante, Utiel-Requena, and Valencia) and Murcia (Bullas, Jumilla, and Yecla). Although Levante is the Spanish name for the east coast and therefore strictly only applies to Murcia, Almansa’s position and isolation justifies our dealing with this enclave of La Mancha within our section on the Levante. The climate in this eastern part of Spain varies between a distinctly Mediterranean one on the coast to a semi-continental one with Mediterranean influences in Almansa.