I’d like to introduce you to my vineyards. Since this is where it all begins there will be more posts telling you about what goes on during the different seasons. The bodega and its vineyards are in the western part of the Axarquía to the north-east of Málaga, and about an hour’s drive from Marbella, where old-vine Muscat of Alexandria grapes are grown on the north-facing mountainous slopes of Almáchar (an Arabic name meaning meadows).
The landscape has a rugged beauty, the fields and vineyards climbing the rocky slopes above the little river, with spectacular views from the tops of the ridges. The slopes where the vineyards are situated are too steep for tractors, and at harvest time, in the late summer, mules must be used to transport the grapes to the bodega. The climate is dry and sunny, but mellowed by the influence of the Mediterranean Sea. Because of the poor, rocky soil and sparse rainfall the vines are cultivated using the vaso system of pruning and the traditional dry-farming techniques of the Málaga region.
The Muscat of Alexandria is a large aromatic grape that originated in North Africa, but which has been cultivated in this part of Spain for many hundreds of years. It produces wines that have a high sugar content, with aromas of honey, orange blossoms and fresh grapes. Many of the local grapes are dried to make raisins (there is even a raisin museum in Almáchar), but we dry the grapes for wine in a special drying house. After pressing, the grapes are fermented in stainless steel and then oak.
I love spending time at the vineyard, and there is nothing quite like tasting wines in the place where they were born.