The province of Málaga is home to many renowned wines, most of which can be sampled in the city of Málaga, in the Antigua Casa Guardia, close to the Paseo del Parque, the subtropical park along the harbour. Here, in the Antigua Casa Guardia, 21 big barrels are lined against the wall, filled with different wines and each can be sampled.
When going on a wine excursion, you will soon discover that every little village claims to produce the best wine in the province. Take the main road from Torre del Mar up north, past Vélez-Málaga and through villages like Arenas, Corumbela, Archez and Cómpeta back to the coast near Torrox. The wine from Cómpeta is supposed to be the best, but you may prefer milder ones with a less pronounced taste of raisins. Besides, we're from Colmenar. Now that's where you'll find a great wine...
Some wines, like the Mosto, seldom reach markets beyond the immediate region, but they are available in all the bars and venta's where they are anxiously awaited every year. During the winter month, this honey-coloured wine is presented in glass jars on the bars and fills many a glass. Where wine is produced, wine is consumed, is the local explanation. Local bar frequenters value their Mosto, made of white grapes that are sun-dried for three days before being turned into wine by the traditional procedure without the use of any chemicals. That cannot be said of its French big sister, the Beaujolais, although too much Most can cause severe headaches, too.
And where the French joke about the taste of each year's 'nouveau': banana, cherry, apple or strawberry, Mosto only comes in two varieties: dry or sweet. Of course, Europe's most favourable climate guarantees an ample supply of Mosto, year after year.
Vino de los Montes
Just like Beaujolais, Mosto only keeps well for a few months. Fortunately, there is a solution to this problem: the Vino de los Montes. This red wines features on many wine-lists in hotels and restaurants in the region. A terrific combination is the ‘Plato de los Montes’ (a dish of chorizo sausage, pork fillet, fried eggs, fried green bell peppers and chips fried in olive oil) with a pitcher of this Vino de los Montes. Another locally produced wine is the Montespejo, this time a white one from the Montes de Malaga, with a taste that resembles that of Muscadet. Excellent in combination with shellfish or cheese fondue.
Tinto de verano
Many wines from southern Spain have a relatively high alcoholic content. For the hot summer months, when the alcohol goes to ones head rather quickly, the Andalucians have a lighter alternative, the Tinto de Verano. Not really a kind of wine in itself, but any red wine (the tinto) diluted with Casera, a carbonated soft drink not unlike 7-Up, but not as sweet. Together with some ice cubes this makes a delightful, refreshing summer drink.
Up until the 70's of the 19th century, wines from Málaga were famous all over Europe and were considered to be as good as the more famous sherry. Or even better. The alcoholic content of these wines is usually around 18 percent, much more than the average table wine's 11, because they are made from raisins instead of grapes.
The downfall of the Málaga wines was caused by two separate events. In only a few years, most of the vineyards were destroyed by fylloxera, or vine-pest. In other countries, as well as in other parts of Andalucia, new vineyards were planted by grafting the original vines upon Californian ones that are immune to the disease. The other reasons was the slowly diminishing demand for sweet wines. Still, sweet Málaga wines never completely disappeared. The famous Scholtz bodega is one of the more important producers.