DO Uclés

A Very Promising Designation

Uclés DO is a region within the Castilla-La Mancha autonomous community of Spain. Located north of La Mancha, south of Mondéjar and east of Vinos de Madrid, Uclés is one of the loftier designations in central Spain. A group of local producers formed a committee in 2002 to promote the area and push for DO status, which it received in 2005, making it one of the youngest designations in the country. Its name is borrowed from a tiny town at the heart of the region whose imposing 12th Century monasterio (monastery) and fortress are notable landmarks.

Unlike other appellations of Castilla-La Mancha, Uclés does not have a uniform landscape. The Sierra de Altomira mountain range divides the region down the middle and into two distinct zones, with the western sector lying at altitudes of 1640ft to 2625ft (500–800m) while vineyards in the east can reach 3280ft (1000m). The Sierra de Altomira is considered to be the third subzone, with dramatic cliffs and dolomitic limestone.

The overall climate is continental, although the extreme summer temperatures of the central Iberian plateau are moderated by the high altitudes, which also contribute to greater quality and elegance in the wines. Rainfall here is around 20 inches (500mm) a year, making it less parched than other parts of central Spain.

A unique feature of the Uclés DO is a regulation governing the age of its Cencibel vines and the corresponding yields. Vines are classified according to their age and some are more than 40 years old. Wine produced from vines less than six years old are not permitted to have ‘DO Uclés’ on their labels. Next to the reds, Uclés also produces great blanco (white) and rosado (rosé) wines. Prominent white varieties include Verdejo, Moscatel, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. Unlike the region’s red wines, a white ‘DO Uclés’ can be made from vines of any age. Uclés is proving to be a very promising designation and the number of producers in the area is slowly on the rise.