Winemakers in Castilla-La Mancha did not have a large selection of grape varieties been cultivated in their vineyards. In fact, there was only one, Airen! Literally! It was the most durable white variety enduring long anhydrous summers and freezing winters. Over the years, wineries in Castilla-La Mancha have broadened their portfolios. Pardilla (Pardillo) and Viura (Macabeo) compose the puzzle of the native varieties along with Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay. Red grapes dominate the remainder of the lineup. These include Cencibel (the local name for Tempranillo), Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Garnacha, Alicante Bouschet (known here as Garnacha Tintorera), Monastrell, Syrah and Bobal.
Mostly, the wineries in Castilla-La Mancha produce white grape varieties, therefore the region’s reputation was mainly based on its white wines. However, planting dark-skinned grapes, including international varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Syrah, increased the amount of red wine production by more than two-thirds of all the wine made in the region! In the last 25 years, sparkling wine made its appearance with the help of the laws concerning grape cultivation.