Half of the wine in Spain comes from Castilla-La Mancha. But only in the last ten years the land of Don Quixote has produced some of the best wines in the country. The revolution has been posible thanks to the liberalization of the strict old rules on wine making and the energy and imagination of a handful of entrepreneurs, who ignited these changes. Most of these radical winer makers were not related to the region, and arrived there full of dreams, ready to experiment with new grapes and techniques and change the way things had always been done.

Finca Sandoval 2004 is the Che Gevara of this revolution, a red from Ledaña, Cuenca, which sums up the best things that freedom and talent have brought to Castilla La Mancha. I tasted it this week at an interesting “farm restaurant” in Madrid, called Montana, in calle Lagasca. The owners, Ignacio and Erica, are obsessed about the quality of the food they serve, so they have carefully selected a group of farmers all over Spain as exclusive purveyors.

The Finca Sandoval 2004 I tried was delicious, sensual and exhuberant. It was a very dark, very dense wine that showed its strong personality from the first moment. It made me think of one of my favorite places in Castilla La Mancha, the Spanish Contemporary Art Museum, located in the medieval city of Cuenca, not far away from Ledaña. This very special museum, owned and run by the Juan March Foundation, is the product of painter Fernando Zobel challenge of the status quo of the sixties. Together with friends artists Gerardo Rueda and Gustavo Torner, he decided to create a place to house their favorite works of art and to continue painting. Almost by chance, he landed in Castilla La Mancha, in the XV century Hanging Houses of Cuenca. The museum radiates beauty and force. Like Finca Sandoval, it is a tribute to the passion and talent of a handful of individuals that walked to a different drum.

www.grandespagos.com/sandoval

www.march.es/arte/cuenca