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Turkey Tamales and Eguren Tempranillo Vino de la Tierra de Castillo

November's edition of #WorldWineTravel takes us to the wine region of Castilla La Mancha, famous for Don Quixote, the famous Spanish novel by author Miguel de Cervantes. It was the first true musical I was aware of, with songs like The Impossible Dream and the Theme Song to Man of La Mancha.  This was a popular musical in the 1970s and my high school band played the major tunes from the musical.

I learned from some brief research that the main grapes grown in the Castilla La Mancha area are:
(retrieved from https://winefolly.com/deep-dive/spain-meseta-central-wine-region/)

Tempranillo: Once known as Cencibel in the area, many are still convinced that Cencibel is a special clone with thicker skins and richer colored Tempranillo wines than can be found up north in Rioja.

Bobal: A very bold, red wine grape with a likening to Petite Sirah, Bobal has blackberry and menthol flavors. Vanilla notes come from oak aging.

Garnacha: Richer in style, moderately high in alcohol and tasting of candied raspberries and leather.

Cabernet & Merlot: Red fruit flavors dominate the Cabernet and Merlot of Spain, but producers often blend these grapes with others for a deeper, darker, and much more intense flavor.

Monastrell: Opaque with a bright violet rim, Monastrell (a.k.a. Mourvedre) tastes of blackberries, anise, grilled bread with the occasional meaty note.

Syrah: Similar to Shiraz but with a unique clay-leather note to the flavor.

Petit Verdot: Opaque in color like Monastrell but with flavors of blackberry, lilac, and cilantro.

Albillo: A white wine that’s often oaked with medium acidity and slightly nutty, oxidative flavors of apricot, aniseed, and dried flowers.

Malvar: A white grape tasting of peaches and tropical fruit, orange blossom, and citrus that’s rarely oaked. Malvar is the main grape in Vinos Madrid.

Macabeo: (a.k.a. Viura) A white grape that’s also known as Viura in Rioja and is also a major grape in Cava. Macabeo is sometimes blended with Chardonnay to create a light unoaked white wine.

We visited Spain in 2019 and drove through the Castilla LaMancha area on our way to Malaga.  The area is dry, with miles of vineyards and olive trees.  It's also very beautiful, with rolling hills.  

Castilla-La Mancha is home to nine Denominaci√≥n de Origen appellations, including Europe's largest officially delimited wine zone, La Mancha. It is also blessed with no fewer than eight Vinos de Pago estates, including the very first, Dominio de Valdepusa.  Due to the climate, most of the grapes find themselves turned into brandy, but some are made into very good wines at reasonable prices.

The wine we chose was a Eguren Tierra Castilla Tempranillo. This is a subtle wine with notes of black cherries, vanilla, and blueberries. It has fine tannins and acidity and a fine finish.  We decided it would go well with our turkey enchiladas and it was lovely. The wine did not overpower the turkey, the corn remained sweet and delicious. The wine is a deep crimson.

Our enchiladas were made by a local eatery called Rock Star Tacos, which just opened a second location in "The Hill" area of St. Louis. They share space with a recording studio, which allows Rock Star Taco guests to listen in while they are recording.  The owner's mother made the tamales as a special and sold them by the dozen. These tamales were absolutely incredible, I haven't had anything like them since I was a teacher at West School.  Delicious!

Other posts this year on Spanish wines and information are listed below.  We will wrap up our deep dive into Spanish wines in December.  

January: Our First Rioja
February: Chicken Empanadas and Azimut Cava
March: Exploring Castilla y Leon through Wine and Food
April: One Grape: Three Unique Experiences with Albarino
May: Calatayud, Aragon Wines: Evodia + Fully Loaded Pork Taquitos
June: Basque Country Wines for Beginners and Great Food Pairings
July: Pollo con Ajoy y Limon and Spanish Hard Ciders
August: Coco am Recapte
September: The Kalimotxo
October: A Beginners Guide to Amontillado

Join our other #WorldWineTravel bloggers as they discuss more information and pairings on wines from Castilla La Mancha.  

Would you like to comment?

  1. Thanks for sharing a photo of Castilla La Mancha - looks beautiful! Were you there in the heat of summer? Interesting how this wine region is so little known.

  2. Lots to learn always about wine!

  3. Lots to learn always about wine!

  4. Lots to learn always about wine!

  5. How cool that you've actually been to Castilla la Mancha!!! And just as impressive that you have participated in every month of the Spain exploration! Thank you for joining this month as well and making that pairing with turkey tamales. Yum!

  6. I love that you have visited (even just driving through) the region. Being there, seeing the sun, the wind and the countryside always locks in a place for me, and the wines make more sense.

  7. Interesting note about Cencibel... will have to consult my Jancis "Wine Grapes" book to satiate my curiosity. Enchiladas with Cencibel/Tempranillo sounds delicious! I'll bet you've made tamales too?!?

  8. I love tamales, but I so rarely have them. Your turkey tamales sounds wonderful and does the wine!


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