Wine in Spain, the south

Is Andalucia, the south of Spain, were wine making started in Spain, and probably in western Europe, about 500 BC.

These robust, strong very sweet wines evolved into the three main varieties, sherry, Montilla and Malaga wines, that are still made in the region. The scorching Andalucian heat makes most grapes to over-ripen, but not in the cooler areas at higher altitudes. Some states are growing grapes and producing some impressive non fortified wines, both reds and whites, in the Andalucian heights.

Sherry

This is the fortified wine made in Jerez DO wich includes Jerez de la Frontera, Puerto de Santa María and Sanlucar de Barrameda - although the term sherry has been formerly applied to other types of fortified wines. Sherry is made in a unique way and it has many styles, from delicate manzanilla, with its pale yellosw color, or refreshing fino, to fragrant oloroso, subtle palo cortado, or sweet, creamy dulce, in a rich dark brown to thick black. These are not all, certainly sherry deserves a toast.

Sherry is usually made with Palomino grape or, for the sweet dessert varieties, Pedro Ximenez and Moscatel, the Spanish name for Muscat. Palomino grape only thrives in this area whit its chalky and dry soil known as albariza.

Montilla - Moriles

The best wines here are fortified made using the sherry method but Pedro Ximenez is usually the main grape, although Zalerna is used in some. Indeed Jezer amontillado is very similar to Montilla wines and from them borrows the name. Montilla wines are strong by nature and not always fortified - whereas sherry always is. You will find dry, medium, and cream (sweet) wines.

Malaga

Famous for the dark caramel, fortified and richly sweet dessert wine made from Pedro Ximenez grapes. Vineyards have been shrinking because the land has been dedicated to holidya homes.

The heights

Some vineyards have been started in the mountains, with their cooler climate, and they are producing very promising wines from Garnach and Tempranillo, varieties; even Syrah, Merlot and Petit Verdot.