Beautiful wines from Málaga for Christmas dinner
Our article for Kosta Magazine
The Christmas days are coming! For some, a recurring struggle that mainly raises questions. What are we eating this year and which wines do we drink at the Christmas dinner? For others a nice challenge to surprise every year. Why don’t we choose at least some or perhaps all wines from the region this year to give the Christmas atmosphere an extra southern Spanish twist?
Many bodegas from the province of Malaga are producing beautiful, innovative wines that deserve to be highlighted during the holidays. Moreover, it fits in with the kilometer zero philosophy, the closer we get our products to home, the more sustainable that is.
For inspiration some suggestions for wines at the Christmas dinner that excel in their category and are made as much as possible from indigenous grape varieties. From the low price segment (around 10 Euro), middle (from 10 to 20 Euro) to the higher price segment (20 Euro and more)
As an aperitif
At the heart of the wine tradition of Malaga are the fortified wines (‘vinos generosos’) with their years of aging in the solera / criaderas (wood aging where several years are mixed in rows of barrels on top of each other). The bone-dry variants in particular form an excellent aperitif and stimulate the appetite. In addition, they go great with small appetizers such as ‘jam iberico’, nuts (almonds), cheeses and olives. The 10-year matured ‘seco trasaňejo (over aged) Trajinero from bodega Malaga Virgen is a wine from Pedro Ximen grapes with an unprecedented price / quality ratio (9 Euro). At the top of the market, Arcos de Moclinejo from Bodega Dimobe is one of the best wines in this category in the world (45 Euro, 30 years of maturing!).
For those who prefer a lighter aperitif, a ‘vino espumoso’ (sparkling wine) is a wonderful alternative. Tartratos, brut nature from Bodega Dimobe is the first wine made in the province using the traditional champagne / cava method. It is a dry, fresh, complex wine from the aromatic Moscatel grape (25 Euro).
Starters and intermediate dishes
There are of course a multitude of starters and intermediate dishes that suit different wines best. For the sake of convenience we start with lighter dishes accompanied by lighter wines, elegant and complex but with less ‘cuerpo’ (‘body’) than the real powerhouses. Both in the choice of dishes and the matching wines it is good to have a certain structure.
More and more bodegas make beautiful dry wines from the Moscatel de Alejandria grape, which in the past was mainly associated with sweet wines due to its highly aromatic character. These wines are dry but have the ‘sweet’, aromatic notes of the Moscatel grape (‘afrutado’). They are therefore especially suited to accompany the somewhat spicier, dishes, especially the style of Eastern cuisines (they are also great aperitif wines).
Mountain Wine blanco from the famous winemaker Telmo Rodriguez (12 Euro) and Jarel from Bodegas Almijara are very successful dry moscatel wines (9 Euro).
Also, don’t forget the possible choice of a rosé as an accompaniment to fish, poultry or white meat. The Ariyanas rosé from Bodega Bentomiz is a velvety floral rosé with a strong mineral finish, made from the native Romé grape (14 Euro).
If a ‘light’ young red wine is preferred with these dishes, then the extremely original El Camaleón from Bodega Vinedos Verticales (100% Romé, 24 Euro) or the young crispy fruit of the Tempranillo from Bodega Badman Wines (14 Euro) will fit perfectly .
For the the main courses a selection of medium to full bodied wines fits best.
Grandes de Apiane, Cepas Viejas, from the Mollina wine cooperative, is an intense white wine made from the native Doradilla grape from old vines. Fermentation on wooden barrels and 8 months of wood aging. A real dinner wine (13 Euro).
Cortijo Los Aguilares. Pinot Noir 2016. Elegant, floral wine with 8 months of wood aging. Awarded several times at the world’s most famous Pinot Noir wine competition (34 Euro). The 2018 version has recently again been named world champion (the third volume with this title).
Payoya Negra, Finca la Melonera, medium body red wine from Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and the native grape, Tintalla de Rota with 12 months of wood aging. A very good wine, soft and powerful at the same time, of a bodega that does everything to breathe new life into the use of native grapes (16 Euro)
Vetas, Petit Petit Verdot 2009, Gran Reserva. Beautiful wine from the grape that was originally known from Bordeaux, a trademark of bodega Vetas. Intense red fruit from plum to dark forest fruit. A multitude of spices. Nice soft developed tannins (38 Euro).
Most sweet desserts thrive best with a sweet wine that also has a reasonable acidity and not too much residual sugar (after fermentation). This combination is generally found with sweet wines of the ‘naturalmente dulce’ type, that is to say wines that have no alcohol added to influence the fermentation process and that have come to their sweetness in their own, natural way.
Strong blue cheeses (cabrales, tresviso), on the other hand, benefit from the more intensely sweet and tougher sweet wines of pedro ximen. The yellow and red mold cheeses preferably require a dry still white wine with sufficient acidity and depending on the strength and hardness of the cheese less or more wood aging and a somewhat fresher (Sauvignon Blanc) or firmer grape variety (Chardonnay). Or the leftovers of the red wine naturally. Even though red wine is not always easy to combine with many cheeses (the salt accentuates the bitter of the tannins)
The red wine scraps go very well with chocolate desserts (especially the tannin rich also because of the bitterness) or a nice red, sweet wine.
F.Schatz, Chardonnay, 5 months wood aging (sobre lias). Fat and at the same time fresh biodynamic Chardonnay that works well with many cheeses (Payoyo curado, Torta de Casar, 25 Euro).
Primera Intencion, Pedro Ximen, Mountain ‘naturalmente dulce’, beautiful sweet wine from bodega J. Molina. Good with lots of sweet desserts and fruit (8 Euro).
Ariyanas Terruňo Pizarroso. Moscatel de Alejandria, ‘naturalmente dulce’, 8 months wood aging. Perhaps the very best sweet wine from Malaga (also with light blue cheeses, 16 Euro).
Ariyanas David Tinto Dulce. Red sweet wine from Merlot. Perfect balance between sweetness, acidity and tannins (with chocolate desserts, 17 Euro).
Brandy’s are especially known from the sherry region. The Brandy Gran Reserva 1885 from Bodegas Malaga Virgin, however, is a fantastic, smooth brandy and the perfect ending to a beautiful Christmas dinner (45 Euro).
All the wines mentioned together are of course only a fraction of the ever-growing range of quality wines from the province of Malaga. When choosing and combining, everyone has their own personal preferences. When wines from the province adorn the Christmas table, we honor and support all those passionate wine entrepreneurs who make authentic kilometer zero products. Or will it perhaps be a classic Rioja or Ribera? Beautiful too! Merry Christmas and wine party.