When you think of Spain and its culinary delights, wine inevitably comes to mind. From the sparkle of cava to the rich reds of Rioja, the country has an array on offer. But did you know that Malaga has a long and rich viticulture history? Let’s discover the diversity of Malaga’s wines…
Among the country’s diverse wine regions, the province of Malaga stands out as a hidden gem, offering a history as rich as the flavours that its vineyards produce. From the sun-drenched hillsides to the sea-kissed shores, Malaga’s wines have captivated palates for centuries, making it a must-visit destination for wine enthusiasts.
History of Wine in the Malaga Region
The history of winemaking in Malaga dates back to ancient times. The Phoenicians, who arrived on the Iberian Peninsula around 1100 BCE, were among the first to cultivate grapes and produce wine in the region.
Later, the Romans embraced this viticultural legacy, expanding the vineyards and perfecting winemaking techniques. However, it was during the Moorish occupation that Malaga wines began to flourish. The Moors introduced new grape varieties, irrigation systems, and winemaking methods, solidifying the foundation of the region’s wine culture.
Diversity of Malaga Wines
Malaga’s diverse terroir and winemaking traditions offer a wide variety of wines, catering to every palate and preference. One of the standout categories is “Vino Dulce” or sweet wine. Malaga is famous for producing some of the world’s finest sweet wines, made from Pedro Ximenez and Muscatel grapes. These wines undergo a meticulous process of sun-drying the grapes on straw mats to concentrate their sugars, resulting in luscious, rich, and velvety dessert wines. The sweet Muscatel wines from the region are particularly cherished, boasting floral aromas and vibrant fruit flavours that dance on the tongue.
At the other end of the spectrum, Malaga is also home to the renowned “Fino” style of wine. This pale and bone-dry sherry-like wine is aged under a layer of yeast called “flor,” which imparts unique flavours and aromas. Fino wines from Malaga are characterised by their refreshing crispness, nutty notes, and a subtle saline tang, making them a perfect accompaniment to tapas and seafood.
Malaga also offers an array of red, white, and rosé wines, each reflecting the distinct terroir of the different sub-regions. From the fruity and fresh white wines to the complex and full-bodied reds, the diversity in Malaga’s wine offerings ensures that there is something for every wine enthusiast.
We take a closer look at some of the wine DOs in Malaga.
Rugged Ronda and her wines
Nestled amidst the dramatic Serrania de Ronda mountain range, Ronda boasts breathtaking landscapes and wines that reflect the rugged landscape. The region’s high-altitude vineyards benefit from the temperature fluctuations between day and night, which contribute to the grapes’ intense flavours and balanced acidity.
Ronda is renowned for its red wines, particularly those crafted from the grape variety, Tintilla de Rota. These wines often exhibit bold fruit flavours, earthy undertones, and a subtle hint of spiciness, making them a delightful choice for red wine aficionados.
Our day trip to Ronda & Winery, takes you to the wonderful hilltop town brimming with history, where you also enjoy a tour of the winery and exquisite meal.
Axarquia – Where Tradition Meets Innovation
To the east of Malaga lies Axarquia, a region with a rich winemaking heritage and a growing reputation for producing exciting new wines. The Mediterranean climate, with its warm days and cool nights, creates a favourable environment for grape cultivation.
Moscatel, a distinct variety of Muscat, thrives here, giving rise to the region’s famed sweet wines. Axarquia’s winemakers are also experimenting with modern winemaking techniques, blending traditional methods with contemporary approaches to craft exceptional red, white, and rosé wines. With each sip, one can taste the harmony between tradition and innovation in Axarquia’s wines.
Montilla-Moriles: The Sherry Alternative
While Montilla-Moriles is technically not part of the Malaga province, its wines deserve a mention due to their close ties to the region and historical significance. Located to the north of Malaga, Montilla-Moriles is often compared to the famous sherry-producing region of Jerez.
Here, the predominant grape variety is Pedro Ximenez, which produces a wide range of wines, from bone-dry Fino to lusciously sweet Pedro Ximenez. The unique soil and climate conditions of Montilla-Moriles contribute to the distinctive character of its wines, making them an attractive alternative to sherry.
In addition to Pedro Ximénez, other grape varieties such as Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Verdejo or Torrontés are used, which give the young wines a freshness and delicious aromas.
Join us on a Wine Tour of Malaga
The wines of Malaga are a testament to the region’s long-standing winemaking tradition, with each sip offering a glimpse into its ancient history and diverse landscapes. Whether you savour the bold reds of Ronda, the innovative blends of Axarquia, or the enticing sherries of Montilla-Moriles, you’re on a delightful journey through Spain’s vinicultural excellence.
Join us on a day’s wine-tasting tour of Ronda, Montilla-Moriles or Axarquia. Alternatively, why not try all three areas with our