The Meseta (also known as the Central Plateau) wine region of Spain is an enormous wine producing region that produces nearly half of all the wine in Spain. Almost two-thirds of all Spain’s vineyards are planted upon this vast central plateau which encapsulates Madrid to the north, Cáceres to the west and Albacete to the east. It is home to the world’s most widely planted white grape variety, ‘Airén’, a grape that produces rather unspectacular table wine but does excel when distilled for the production of Brandy de Jerez.
For a long time it was considered that no wine of any real quality could be made on the ‘tabletop’ that represents the centre of the elevated plateau in Spain; however, huge European Union investment has attracted a number of foreign buyers into the region who recognise the potential to be had here, especially by planting vineyards in amongst the significant mountain spots dotted throughout the region.
A broad range of grape varieties including Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah have been introduced into the region taking advantage of the strong differences between day-time and night-time temperatures which grapes appear to thrive upon and now resulting in the production of very good high-quality wines.
The work of Carlos Falcó (Marqués de Griñón, owner of Dominio de Valdepusa and other estates) in the region led to the creation of the highest tier of Spanish wine designations called Vino de Pago which is a single vineyard area designation. His Dominio de Valdepusa vineyard became the first to receive a Vino de Pago DO and there are now a total of eight DO Pago’s in the region.
The Denominación de Origen regions in the Meseta wine region are:
Almansa DO is a large wine producing region but home to only a few wine producers. The region produces mostly Monastrell and shows great potential not only with value but with their high quality oak-aged wines.
La Mancha DO is a large region that relies heavily on its plantings of the local Airén grape for brandy production. There are other grape varieties in production including Macabeo, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay all of which prove a popular partner to the local Manchego cheese.
Manchuela DO has several wineries championing the indigenous Bobal grape for both red and rosado style wines.
Méntrida DO is separated from the beautiful city of Toledo by the Tajo River and is a vast, flat and sandy region planted primarily with the Garnacha grape, although other vines such as Tempranillo, Albillo, and Cabernet Sauvignon are also planted. Madrid is just to the northeast of this DO and provides a welcome local market for the reds and rosados.
Mondéjar DO is a small region with some vineyards planted at elevations approaching 3000 feet offering great potential in the future.
Ribera del Guadiana DO is a sprawling region that touches the border to Portugal and has a myriad of grape varieties planted that are a mixture of Spanish, Portuguese and French. Winemaking has flourished here since Roman times, and the city of Mérida includes an amphitheatre, an aqueduct, bridges, a circus, and a hippodrome from those long-gone imperialists.
Ribera del Júcar DO is located to the eastern side of the La Mancha DO. The extreme summer temperatures are mitigated by elevation (vineyards are planted at roughly 1800 feet) and the proximity of the river Júcar. The most popular varieties grown include Cencibel and Bobal.
Uclés DO is a small region that is prone to some of the most extreme temperatures in Spain. Even though large producers dominate, the region shows potential based on its higher elevation vineyards.
Valdepeñas DO is a wine region of nearly 70,000 acres planted to Garnacha, Cencibel, Airén, and Macabeo grapes. The wines produced here have a centuries–long legacy of international popularity.
Vinos de Madrid DO is a region rapidly diminishing because of the growth of the city, however, towards the south there is a focus on two local white grapes: Malvar and Albillo. The area of Vinos de Madrid that’s farthest from the city has many ancient Garnacha vineyards.
The Vino de Pago DO’s include: Pago Calzadilla, Pago Campo de la Guardia, Pago Casa del Blanco, Pago Dehesa del Carrizal, Pago Dominio de Valdepusa, Pago Finca Élez, Pago Florentino and Pago Guijoso.
Discover more about the Meseta Wine region of Spain online.