Reds, Whites, Sweet wines and Roses of international prestige
Malaga has been a land of wine for centuries. In almost all regions there important oenological references, whether for Sweet, White, Red, Rose or even sparkling ones. Many of these wines are included within the two existing designations of origin. Malaga Designation of Origin, one of the oldest in Europe, originated in 1833. It was created to protect the prestigious wines of the time. Nowadays they protect so-called Still wines, which are made without alcohol. Among them two types of sweet wine should be distinguished, those from overripe grapes or made with raisin-grapes.
Also included here are the dry ones (with a minimum of 15 ° of alcohol) and liqueur wines, which are made by adding wine alcohol to the grape-juice during fermentation in order to stop it. The result can be dry, semi-dry, semisweet or sweet wines. For its part, the Sierras de Malaga Denomination of Origin protects still wines that have alcohol content between 10 and 15.5 degrees. These include whites, reds and roses. These wines, depending on their aging process may be a Crianza (a minimum of two years and 6 months in oak barrels), Reserva (at least 3 years and 12 months in oak barrels), Gran Reserva (a minimum of 5 years, 24 months in oak barrels and 36 months in bottle) or a white and Rosé Gran Reserva (a minimum of 5 years and 6 months in oak barrels).
For the grapes used, the DO Málaga protects wines that are mainly produced with the white varieties Pedro Ximénez and Moscatel. Instead, the DO Sierras de Málaga includes a wider range of grapes. Thus, besides the white varieties, Pedro Ximénez and Moscatel of Alexandria, there are the Moscatel Morisco Chardonnay, Macabeo, Colombard, Sauvignon Blanc: Lairen and Doradilla, Gewurztraminer, Riesling, Viognier and Verdejo; and the reds: Romé, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Shyrah, Tempranillo, Garnacha, Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir, Petit Verdot, Graciano, Malbec, Mourvèdre and tintilla (tintilla de Rota). Certification by the Regulatory Council of these names is done to ensure the traceability of the origin, adaptation of production processes and product characteristics as specified by the documentation conditions. This verification means a recognizing the right to use the designation of origin by wine growers or winemakers.
Production areas of DO Málaga and Sierras of Málaga cover almost 80 percent of the territory of the province. Specifically, it’s made of 67 municipalities located in five distinct geographical areas: Axarquía, Montes de Málaga, Málaga Norte, Manilva and Serranía de Ronda. Each of these areas is distinguished not only by having a specific soil and geography but also by having a different weather conditions. Wines with DO Sierras de Málaga that are made in the Serrania de Ronda could take this as subarea name if the grape is from there.
The first wines from Malaga might have precedents in the vineyards cultivated by the Phoenicians in their incursions on the Malaga coast. But it was not until the Roman period, when the importance of wine is found. A good example are the grapes represented in the ruins of Acinipo in Ronda or the fermentation tank found in Cartama, which corroborate the existence of Vinum Malacita. During ancient Al-Andalus, despite the Koranic prohibition of alcohol, they continued to develop this drink, known at the time as the ‘Xarab Al Malaquí’.
Wine, in moderation (a drink a day for women and two for men) can have positive effects on the body. Among other benefits, the best known are related to the heart, as it is a great ally to increasing the level of good cholesterol and at the same time prevent certain cardiovascular diseases. In addition, one of its components, resveratrol could serve to block the growth of the cells responsible for breast cancer. In the case of men, it is also useful to reduce the risk of lung cancer, especially among smokers.
Sweet wines within the DO Málaga can be of three types, according to the alcohol added to the grape-juice: natural, with fresh grape-juice, fermentation is stopped with vinic alcohol; maestro, alcohol is added to the fresh grape-juice before fermentation; and tender, which employs sunny grapes that produce grape-juice with a high sugar content (fermentation is stopped by adding wine alcohol). According to its aging, sweet wine can be palido, with an aging process of up to 6 months; noble, 2 to 3 years; añejo, aged 3 to 5 years; and trasañejo, more than 5 years.