Meet the winemaker – Manuel Manzaneque Suarez

Friends, we are excited this week, more so than usual: Manuel Manzaneque Suarez will be in the store to share a selection of amazing wines from Spain’s La Mancha region, wines specifically from wineries Fatum and ¡Ea!

Spanish Wine Map

Let’s dive in. Manuel studied Viticulture and Oenology at the prestigious school Agropolis in Montpellier, France. After that he worked in several prestigious wineries in Spain and the South of France. In France he worked in D.O. Bordeaux, and, specifically, worked the 2001 grape harvest at Chateau Le Bon Pasteur  in Pomerol, France, reporting directly to Michel Rolland.

For 10 years Manuel has been the technical director of the family’s winery in El Bonillo in Albacete, Spain. He was the highest responsible in the vineyards and was fully responsible for enology. Additionally, Manuel was also head of sales and participated in several activities meant to spread wine culture. He spoke at different universities, conducted activities for sommeliers, gave presentations to the prestigious association Grandes Pagos de España, radio, television, etc.

In 2011, Manuel began his own project, and in 2012 he left the family winery for good due to management changes following his father’s illness.

In 2011, shortly after his departure, Manuel began the ¡Ea! Project with the aim to rescue old vineyards from authoctonous varieties. After several tests with bobal and garnacha tintorera, he started working with cencibel from old vines, roughly 40 to 70 years old, in D.O. La Mancha. What Manuel wanted to get, because of these old vines, was a great wine, really hedonistic, and with an excellent quality-to-price ratio. He has not rejected increasing his wine range in the future, and he never stops visiting different vineyards in La Mancha and other regions in order to increase his knowledge about different soils and grapes.

Manuel Manzaneque SuarezNowadays, Manuel also works as an advisor in different wineries in the region. He is self-employed, and while working in these wineries he is the highest responsible, taking over operation of the vineyards and the wine-making.

To this day Manuel continues his outreach work, collaborating with both a local radio station (Es radio) and the regional television channel (Castilla la Mancha Television). The television programme is called ‘La Vinoteca,’ and Manuel manages and presents a show called “De la cepa a la copa” where he explains the processes of winemaking from the vineyard to the glass. He also collaborates with ‘Asociacion de sumilleres y amigos del vino de Albacete’ an association to promote the wine in the region.

He is truly impassioned by nature, loves the fields and vineyards, and is a student of wine culture and gastronomy. He feels that he is really lucky because he does what he likes most.

A little about La Mancha D.O.

La Mancha may be best known as the setting for Spain’s most famous story, Don Quixote. But it is also the largest D.O. in Spain, covering sections of four provinces: Albacete, Ciudad Real, Cuenca and Toldeo. It is also the largest wine-producing area in the world with nearly 200,000 hectares (approximately 500,000 acres) of vineyards.

Climate: Elevation across the region averages well over 600 meters and helps define “continental” climate. Here very cold winters (as low as 10 degrees fahrenheit) lead to an abrupt warming in spring time to very hot summers (highs sometimes exceed 110 degrees fahrenheit). The region is very dry, getting only 12 to 15 inches of rain a year. The majority of vineyards are dry-farmed.

Soil: While it is a very large region, soils tend to be remarkably similar across the D.O., composed of red-brown sandy clay which offer low levels of organic matter and are relatively high in limestone and chalk.

Grape Varieties: The major grapes grown in La Mancha are Airen (white) and Cencibel (red a.k.a. Tempranillo). Allowed grapes include Viura (Macabeo), Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc as well as Garnacha, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah.

The week’s bottles, friends:

2015 Fatum, La Mancha Spain, Bobal/Tempranillo :: $15 sale $13

Vivid red. Aromas and flavors of fresh red berries and candied flowers slowly develop a peppery nuance. Smooth and weightless in style, picking up an exotic and refreshingly bitter orange zest note on the back half. Closes silky and taut, showing good cling, no obvious tannins and a lingering suggestion of candied strawberry.

2015 Fatum, La Mancha Spain, Airen, Sauvignon Blanc, Moscatel :: $15 sale $13

Pale gold. Aromas and flavors of ripe pear, pineapple and honey, along with a gingery background note. A spine of juicy acidity adds lift and focus and drives the lively, nicely persistent finish, which leaves behind a note of bitter pear skin.

2013 ¡Ea!, La Mancha Spain,  Tempranillo :: $22 sale $19

Deep ruby. Smoky, deeply perfumed blackberry, cherry and violet scents are complemented by hints of vanilla and dark chocolate. Sweet and seamless on the palate, offering concentrated dark berry preserve and licorice flavors that are given lift by a jolt of juicy acidity. Shows depth as well as vivacity, finishing with solid punch, very good persistence and building tannins.

These prices good through Tuesday, May 9.

Manuel Manzaneque Suarez

It’s that time again, friends: Wine Share Saturday at Pearl Wine Company! Curious as to what the wine share is? At Pearl Wine Company we believe in real wine made by real people. Each month we hand select wines authentic wines made at family-owned wineries. When you pick up your share, you’ll not only be receiving wine, you’ll receive the profile and story of each featured winery. For levels, choose either our Table Wine, Banquet or Connoisseur Wine Share monthly collections. Pick up your box the first Saturday of each month. Selections rotate with the seasons.

We’ll taste two wines blind, and we’ll vote for one of those for the next wine share. Come prepared to also sample two wines from the store.

TABLE WINE $55 – four bottles

At PWC we refer to our everyday drinking wine as Tuesday Night Wine or Table Wine. Think of it as that bottle that you can pop open and enjoy with pizza, a burger or on its own! This section is a rotating selection of wines that are on our table any given month.

THE BANQUET $95 – six bottles

Our Banquet is comprised of six bottles and will include four table wine bottles and two bottles you might plan a dinner around, open for some guests or even lay down for that right occasion!

We start sippin’ and tastin’ at 4pm. Hope you can make it! Tag your pics #pickitupatpearl so we can CHEERS! 

Discover why 5280 Magazine Readers and Editors voted Pearl Wine Company Denver’s BEST BOTTLE SHOP. PWC takes pride in being Denver’s best wine shop–a craft liquor specialty store. Conveniently located on South Pearl Street in Denver’s Platt Park neighborhood.