When the vineyards of Valdepeñas were destroyed by phylloxera this policy proved its value because there was sufficient wine in store to carry them through until the next harvest three years after new vines were planted on American rootstocks. The growers also saw the value of strict quality control and a common wine-growing policy. Due to this early foresight, Valdepeñas is highly respected and regarded today as a forward-looking wine-growing area. With today’s technology, including computer- controlled temperature regulation during vinification, Valdepeñas produces fresh and fruity wines alongside the robust reds on which the area’s fame has been established.
The soil of Valdepeñas is like the name itself (‘valley of the rocks’), extremely stony. The underlying strata are chalk which often reaches to within 25 cm of the surface while the thin yellow-red top layer is a mixture of crumbled chalk and alluvial clay. Most vineyards are sited at a height of 1,968-2,296 feet (600-700 metres).
The climate is strictly continental with very hot summers and very cold winters. The encircling hills protect Valdepeñas so that there is little precipitation. Some parts are almost like desert. When the rain does fall though it usually pours down in cloudbursts. These heavy thunderstorms have in the recent past caused severe flooding. Although a great deal of the Airén variety of grape is grown too in Valdepeñas, these are gradually being replaced on government advice with Cencibel (Tempranillo).
The white jovenes of Airén are very fresh and fruity with vegetal nose of celery and newly mown grass. This Spanish wine is made for early consumption and everyday use. Drinking temperature for this Spanish wine 46.4- 50.0°F (8-10°C).
The rosados are mainly also vinos jovenes for drinking within a year of the grapes being picked. These are also fresh, light, and cheerful rosé Spanish wines made with Cencibel (Tempranillo), often supplemented with the white Airén. Drink temperature fot this Spanish wine at 50-53.6°F (10-12°C).
Valdepeñas red vinos jovenes of Cencibel are pleasing thirst quenchers just like the rosés. You cand drink this Spanish wine at temperature like 53.6-57.2°F (12-14°C). The Crianza, Reserva, and Gran Reserva wines from Valdepeñas that are wholly made with Cencibel are certainly worth considering. Not only are these very pleasing wines with great fruitiness derived from Cencibel but there is also a sweet vanilla-like quality imparted by the American oak and to cap it all an unbelievably low price.
The Gran Reservas are velvet smooth, rounded, full- bodied, and usually with far less tannin than a Navarra, Rioja, or Ribera del Duero. Drinking temperature for this Spanish wine is 60.8°F (16°C) for a Crianzas and 62.6°F (17°C) for both Reservas and Gran Reservas.