Joelle Thomson's Amazing Value Picks: The Valdepenas mix
by Abby Jones
If you’re wondering what on Earth the word Valdepenas has to do with great wine, you’re not alone. Valdepenas is a wine region in Castilla-La Mancha in south central Spain; home to smooth, full bodied reds.
It is part of the huge La Mancha wine region but that’s where the similarities between the two places begin and end because Valdepenas has developed a reputation for reliable high quality reds, thanks to its altitude at 700 metres above sea level. This gives the region cool nights, which preserve acidity and freshness in wines with big ripe fruit flavours. Tempranillo is one of the main grapes here with approximately 28,000 hectares (that’s about the same as
the amount of Sauvignon Blanc in Marlborough). The best reds are made exclusively from Tempranillo (known in Valdepenas as Cencibel). Meet a bunch of these beauties below.
This great red has been aged for nine years and still tastes incredibly fresh. It comes from Valdepenas where the hot days and cool nights provide ideal conditions to retain fresh qualities in the wines. This wine is 100% Tempranillo (aka Cencibel) and tastes dry, fresh, smooth and soft with big flavours and a long finish. It is great value for money.
Valdepenas is code for top shelf Tempranillo without a scary price tag. This wine is dry and full bodied but retains elegance, thanks to its juicy acidity and succulent fruit flavours, which shine in every mouthful. It’s a wonder this wine doesn’t cost a lot more.
2012 Calle Real Reserva Valdepenas DOP
17.5/20, 4 stars
This is a tasty Tempranillo from Valdepenas in Castilla la Mancha, a large region south east of Madrid and home to over 50 per cent of Spain’s grapes. Tempranillo is the most popular grape in the country and is the key ingredient in this smooth, spicy, seven year old red with its ripe red fruity flavours.
Here’s another great take on the Tempranillo theme, this time blended with France’s great Cabernet Sauvignon grape, which provides backbone, weight and structure to this wine. This wine is dry, full bodied and smooth. It drinks well now and can undoubtedly age for at least five years in a cool dark cellar.
And here’s a great white to provide some variety in this week’s wine pack. Chenin Blanc is the great white of the Loire Valley in Central France and the star ingredient in this dry, medium bodied, super refreshing white. It’s capable of evolving and improving in taste for decades, if cellared in a dark spot. It remains fresh for years, thanks to its high acidity, which preserves its flavours and ability to age. This is a star wine on all counts.
2018 Villa de Adnos Bobal Rosado
16.5/20, 3.5 stars
This gold medal winning Spanish pink wine is, dry and made from the Bobal grape, a native to Utiel-Requena in Valencia, Spain. It drinks beautifully now when chilled, thanks to its refreshing light body and long finish. Sealed with a screwcap.
Joelle Thomson is a wine writer, journalist and author. She’s an avid lover of wine and currently writes for Capital magazine, Good magazine, NZ Winegrower, Drinksbiz, and her own site,www.joellethomson.com.
She also teaches, works in radio, and more, so we've enlisted her help to sniff out our amazing value wines!