Malaga -raisin wine from Spain

The defining factor of wines designated as “Málaga” is that they are aged in the city of Málaga, but the grapes are grown, pressed and often fermented in other parts of the province. In fact, there are three different grape-growing zones. The westernmost is centred around the village of Manilva where, as it is closer to the Atlantic, the more humid weather and richer soil results in Moscatel grapes which can swell to an enormous size without losing their wonderful sweetness. Thus, most of the crop is more profitably destined for eating as table grapes.

At the opposite end of the province, in the Axarquía, the predominant variety is also the Moscatel, growing on picturesque terraced vineyards which defy the use of mechanical means for cultivation and harvesting. Ninety percent of the crop is laid out in open-air beds to dry in the sun, becoming the famous raisins of Málaga Province. This inland zone lies north of Antequera, and due to the extremes in temperature (with scorchingly hot summers and often freezing winters) the grapes develop the character needed for a fine wine. The predominant variety here is the Pedro Ximenez, which is named after a 17th-century Spanish soldier thought to have introduced it from Germany. It has an exceptionally high sugar content, which is made even higher thanks to the process of letting the grapes roast in the sun before pressing, which reduces their moisture and concentrates the sugar. This partial raisining accounts for traditional Málaga wine’s dark colour, for the Moscatel and Pedro Ximenez are both in fact white grapes.

The wine is then aged and the vintages blended following the same solera system used in Jerez for Sherry. The longer the wine has spent making the rounds of the solera barrels, the better it is. Now, thanks to modern enology and the introduction of cold-fermentation methods, the region is making some exceptional sweet white Pedro Ximenez wines. These full-flavoured wines can stand up to the best Sauternes, and nothing can beat them as the perfect companion for pâté. The best ones are Cartojal from Lopez Hermanos and Carpe Diem from Tierras de Mollina, while the best-selling brand of classical Málaga wine is Málaga Virgen from López Hermanos.

The Málaga and Sierras de Málaga wine region is situated in the province of Málaga and covers an area of over 1,200 hectares.

There are now about 30 vineyards (Bodegas), which produce over 2 millon liter annually.


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