The Spanish DO area is an enclave on the southern edge of the vast central highlands of La Mancha and is named after the city of the same name. The name means "valley of rocks". The vineyards at 700 meters above sea level cover about 30,000 hectares on stony, reddish-colored soil with a water-storing layer of limestone. The climate is extreme and is described as "nine months of winter and three months of hell (dry and hot)". At the beginning of the 1990s, the white Airen variety accounted for around 80% of the vineyard, but since then this has been reduced to around half in favour of the red wine varieties Cencibel(Tempranillo), Garnacha Tinta and Cabernet Sauvignon. Other white varieties are Macabeo, Pardillo and Moravia Agria. The area became famous in the middle of the 19th century, when a light red wine mixed with white wine was exported as Clarete to South America. This light red wine known as "Tinto Tradicional" (also known as "Tinto Valdepeñas") is still popular today.
Red grapes (at least 20% cencibel) and white grapes are mixed and fermented together (a mixed set). The best quality, however, is considered to be the red wines produced from Cencibel and mostly aged in barriques. The rosé wines are mainly made from Cencibel and/or Garnacha Tinta, the white wines mainly from Airén. Well known producers are Aruspide, Miguel Calatayud, Dionisos, Bodegas J. A. Megía e Hijos, Bodegas Los Llanos, Rafael López-Tello, Bodegas Los Marcos, Márquez, Miguel Martín, Juan Ramírez, Bodegas Real, Bodegas Félix Solís (Viña Albali), Casa de la Viña and Visán.