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Málaga wines PDF
Tuesday, 14 June 2011 05:30

When most people are asked about Spanish wines their answers are predictable; where does red wine come from? Rioja, of course, or Ribera del Duero. White? Galicia. Cava? Catalonia. More knowledgeable wine drinkers might suggest other regions of Spain, but how many would come up with Málaga?

Yet, Málaga and Sierras de Málaga both have their own Denominación de Origen (DO), that is they are denominated wine regions, just like Rioja, Ribera del Duero and the rest.

In fact, wine in Málaga has a long history. Did you know that the first references to wine in the area date back to the arrival of the Phoenicians in the 8th Century BC? The name of the Roman settlement near Ronda, Acinipo, means “land of wines”. Numerous coins with the symbol of a bunch of grapes have been discovered there, leading archaeologists to believe that wine production was very important in the area. Other remains which indicate the economic and social importance of wine production have been found in the province, including fermentation vessels in Cártama.

Over the centuries, Málaga wines gained in reputation, not only within Spain, but in France and Russia. Various measures were taken to guarantee the origin of the wines and to protect their quality, culminating in 1924 in the registration of the Málaga brand.

In 1933 a controlling body was established, el Consejo Regulador de la Denominación de Origen “Málaga”. In 2001 Sierras de Málaga, wines from the province of Málaga, including the Serranía de Ronda gained their own DO, and in 2004, Pasas de Málaga, raisins, also gained protection.

Sierras de Málaga

Wines with this denomination come from 66 municipalities located in five areas of production: Axarquía, Montes, Norte, Costa Occidental and Serranía de Ronda. Serranía de Ronda wines are produced in bodegas located in the Serranía de Ronda from grapes grown in the area.

But what about the wines themselves?

Sierras de Málaga wines are made from a wide variety of grapes, some local; others imported. The whites are produced from the following varieties: Pedro Ximénez, Moscatel de Alejandría, Moscatel Morisco, Chardonnay, Macabeo, Colombard, Sauvignon Blanc, Lairen and Doradilla. The reds are made using these grapes: Romé, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Tempranillo, Garnacha, Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir and Petit Verdot.

The wines are fermented naturally and have an alcoholic content of between 10 and 15 %. There are whites, reds and rosés, which are denominated according to their ageing:

Crianza: aged in oak casks for a minimum of 2 years.
Reserva: aged for a minimum of 3 years, of which 12 months are in oak casks.
Gran Reserva : aged for a minimum of 5 years, of which 24 months are in oak casks and 36 in bottles.
Gran Reserva de Blancos y Rosados: aged for a minimum of 5 years, of which a minimum of 6 months is in oak casks.

And what do they taste like? Normally if Málaga wine is mentioned, most of us think of sweet dessert wine, don’t we? Think again!

At a tasting I attended last week, I was stunned at the quality, variety and dryness of some of the wines. For example, a 16% aged Pedro Ximénez was as dry as a bone and as smooth as silk.

The problem is that wines from Málaga and Sierras de Málaga tend to be a bit more pricey and are not widely available – there are no cheap versions stacked en masse on supermarket shelves.

But, as with everything in life, you get what you pay for.

© Paul Whitelock

Tags:  Spanish wine, Rioja, Ribera del Duero, Galicia, Catalonia, cava, Malaga, Sierras de Málaga, Denominación de Origen, DO, Phoenicians, Acinipo, Serranía de Ronda, Pasas de Málaga, Axarquía, Montes, Norte, Costa Occidental, bodega, Crianza, Reserva, Gran Reserva, paul whitelock,


Paul Whitelock

Paul is a Joint Honours graduate in Spanish and German, a qualified teacher (PGCE) and has a Member of the Institute of Linguists (MIL) qualification.

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