Guide to Wine from Andalucia
Andalucians live their culture with passion and wine forms an essential part of that culture. Wine is the gauge that marks social relations in Andalucia, it invariably accompanies the ritual of having “tapas”, something that has transcended its gastronomic purpose and become a way of life.
Wines from Jerez, from Montilla-Moriles, Malaga, and Condado de Huelva, belong to a line of “old” wines that were born in the 16th and 17th centuries at the time of the great seafaring adventures. Wines such as port, marsala and madeira. These were wines that could cross oceans without losing their qualities. Wines rich in alcohol, vigorous, delicate, complex and full of subtleties.
There is a huge variety of Andalucian wines to choose from including manzanillas, amontillados, olorosos, palo cortados, and sweet Pedro Ximenez and moscatels help to create a real paradise for wine enthusiasts.
Andalucian wines are the most universal but also the most genuinely Spanish ones, wines that don’t follow any outside model. They are truly unique, with an overwhelming personality, and are frequently imitated all over the world.
Jerez-Xeres-Sherry and Manzanilla de Sanlucar de Barrameda
1996 is an important year for the world sherry trade, since from January 1st, only wines from this Cadiz D.O (designation of origin) have the legal right to use the word “sherry” on their labels.
One of the main things to point out about wines from the province of Cadiz is that they, like port, are heirs to and suvivors from an age when there was a different style of wine-making, so we’re talking about original, inimitable wines.
There is an infinite range of subtleties in sherry, greater or lesser degrees of sweetness, more or less aging. Then there are wines classified as finos or manzanilla, pale dry, medium, amontillado viejo, cream, oloroso, palo cortado, sweet etc.
Then there is the Palomino grape which creates wine with a much younger feel to it. These types of wine are very light, with limited aroma and flavour.
Montilla – Moriles
The Pedro Ximenez grape, which is only used for sweet wines in Jerez, is the main variety in the region, occupying 70% of the vineyards included in the Denominacion de Origen (designation of origin), and lends its own special temperament to the making of the area’s characteristic wines.
Montilla-Moriles coincides with Jerez in its method of classifying and categorising wines, such as finos, amontillados, palo cortados or rayas. All are produced by the traditional system of solera (topping off older wines with the more recently made sherries) and criaderas (“nurseries” for wines up to the oldest level – the solera).
A wine that stands out amongst the Montilla-Moriles wines is the fino, with its yeasty aroma.