Pure natural country wines are born again; often surprisingly good
During the weekends in the harvest time, hidden deep in the Montes de Málaga, the new country wines are born this year. On many heirs, in small private bodegas, the feet mash the grapes and the sometimes creatively constructed wine presses work overtime. How many inhabitants of the Montes make wine for their own use, from grapes harvested on their own small vineyard? Who knows, may say so, but there are certainly many. People share machines such as the dismantler and wine presses. For those who have a more than average vineyard, the neighbors come to the rescue to help with harvesting and pressing.
A steaming pan ‘arroz’ is never missing. Many conversations are held about the sugar content of the grapes, fundamental to making a good wine. Previous vintages are tasted and commented. There is plenty of improvisation and experimentation, with varying results. One wants to keep the wine as original as possible, the other buys new oak barrels to give the wine wood aging. Some wines are difficult to recognize as such and others are amazingly good. Fresh, honest, pure natural wines with minimal use of pesticides and sulphites. The most common grape is Pedro Ximenez, followed by Moscatel de Alejandria.
Furthermore, a wine cannot be further away from the mass wine that is sold in supermarkets and made in huge wine factories. You can also find them in the various Ventas. In about three to four weeks, they will be sold as a ‘mosto’ (must). A confusing name, because the must is actually the freshly pressed grape step that still has to begin its fermentation to become wine. If you like bone dry, order a ‘seco’. Is your favorite half dry, order a ‘pintao’ or ‘abocao’. In the first case it is a mixture of dry and sweet wine, so if the sweeter you want your wine, the more sweet wine you ask for in the mixture. In the second case it is a wine that has been completely fermented by its original sugar content, but still contains some residual sugar so that the wine is semi-dry, if you want semi-sweet, naturally.
If you want sweet wine, then order a ‘dulce’. Whichever you choose, don’t forget to accompany them with a typical Montes cuisine dish: migas (pan fried breadcrumbs with garlic), plato de los Montes (lomo, chorizo, morcilla, French fries, peppers and egg) or callos (spicy chickpeas with pork). A party. Especially on Sundays in autumn and winter when the Malagueños go en masse into the Montes.1