FINCA LA ESTACADA Uclés DO, Spain
In the north-east of La Mancha, in one of the highest and coolest areas, lies The D.O. of Uclés which was founded in 2005. It is a very strict D.O. with yield restrictions based on the age of vine and the location in which they are planted.
Finca la Estacada were one of the wineries championing for the right to become part of this separate D.O. as nearly all of their vineyards are in this special area.
The Cantarero Rodríguez family, a surname with strong connections to the world of wine making in the Cuenca region, invested in Finca la Estacada in 2001 and built a winery to process the 278 hectares of vines that they own. Their wines are farmed at 850m elevation in clay soils with a lime substrate. Thanks to the high elevation and calcareous influence from the lime, the wines are lighter and brighter than one might expect from central Spain. Winemaker Todd Blomberg calls the viticulture at Finca La Estacada “transitioning organic,” and views the climate and land easily suitable for working without systemic chemical influences.
Region & Vineyard Notes
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.
Unlike other appellations of Castilla-La Mancha, Ucles 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 500–800m while vineyards in the east can reach 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 500mm a year, making it less parched than other parts of central Spain.
Tempranillo (known locally as Cencibel) thrives in these conditions and produces both young, fruit-forward wines and more complex oak-aged examples. The grapes are grown mostly in bush vines. Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot are also increasingly popular.
A unique feature of the Ucles 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 Ucles' on their labels.