Countries famous for their wine making qualities are often proud of producing great dessert wines, and Spain does not fall back in this regard. Currently Spain is one of the leading manufacturers of wine, producing around five billion litres each year.
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Spain’s sweet wine has a fine relationship with history. From Louis the Fourteenth to Shakespeare, all chose their poison from the alicante, sherries, etc. And with more efforts going into fusing the customer preferences with the final product, the demand for sweet spanish wine is very high in the market.
Every region of Spain produces their own style of sweet wine. With techniques and procedures being completely different in different parts of the country, a huge number of sweet wines are produced in Spain.
The wines are often categorised according to the area that they come from. If you are lurking around in the country or just simply an wine enthusiast, sure you would want some insights at the varieties of sweet wines in Spain.
Malaga Sweet Wine
Malaga has a very rich background and history of wine making. In the beginning, the wine used to be brown, deep and raisin. Created in the same place as sherries, the Andalusia region in Spain, Malaga wine originated in 1100 AD.
Made from pedro ximenez’ grapes and Alexandria muscat, Malaga is glossy and a very sweet wine. Yo might complain about some being a little less sweet. That is because the sweetness depends on the quality of grapes used to prepare the wine.
Malaga wine has to fermented and aged in the city of Malaga for it to called Malaga wine. Yes, the ones that claim to be Malaga Wines are most probably made in Malaga.
There are mainly sixteen different kinds of Malaga wine, some very famous ones are :
Enjoyed by most as a dessert wine, Lagrima is a very sweet wine. It is a white port wine which retains the acidity and remains fresh. For the excessive sweet taste, grapes which are well ripened are used to lend their taste to the wine. This gives a fruity tinge to the wine. If you are looking for a wine to fo perfectly with your salad party, this is quite the wine.
Very popular around the world and specially in the United States of America, the wine is made exclusively from muscatel grapes. It has a very sweet taste like any Malaga wine , but also contains a lot of raisins.
Obtained from ripened grapes of the same name, Pedro Ximenez is one of the better known Malaga Wine. The oxidative ageing procedure of the wine gives it a strong aromatic beauty and rich deepness while still holding it’s freshness.
The wine smells of dried fruits, honey, syrup and topped with dark coffee and chocolates. The smell that the wine offers won’t let you keep it away from your collection shelf.
From the regions of Andalusia in Spain comes the very distinguished wine, Sherry. The process of making Sherry is very complex.
The stability that the wine has is due to the fortification of the wine. A certain amount of spirit is added after the fermentation of the wine.
Sherry is mainly made from three varieties of grapes which include Palomino, Muscat of Alexandria and Pedro Ximenez. The production process of these wines play a significant role in the final product they turn into.
Sherry wines normally has a nutty and velvety finish to them when it comes to the taste. Here are few types of Sherry wines.
Made from Palomino grapes, it one of the most driest and saline styles of sherry. It is crisp, yeasty and tangy. Containing around fifteen percent alcohol, fino is one of the best food companions and served best when chilled. Yeast called flor’ saves the wine during its fermentation from the process of oxidation.
This style of sherry has a hint of dark chocolate to its taste. Owing to the humid temperature and surroundings of the area the wine is generally made in, Sanlucar de Barrameda, the flor layer used in this case is much thicker.
Thus the wine is a lot more fresh than Fino. The techniques also promote more salinity. Being as light as it is, manzanilla is best paired with seafood. In the proper occasion, adding this to the meal can be just divine.
When very good quality sherry loses its flor cover, it turns into this style of wine. Right between the tastes of Fino and Amontillado lies the nutty flavour of Palo Cortado.
The freshness of these wines are generally greater than Fino and has a salty hint to the taste. If you are looking for a fresh nutty flavoured wine, then this is the one.
These wines are developed in the barrels for several years without the protective layer of flor. The oxidation process makes the wine very dry. The alcohol concentration is generally higher, being around the twenty two to twenty five percent of the liquor.
The fino when aged without the protective layer of flor, it result in an amber colored, nutty wine. The word umami best describes the quality of this wine. The wine contains a very long finish and is has an alcohol concentration of about eighteen percent.
Cream wine is a dessert wine which is created by the addition of grapes on Oloroso. The addition of grapes makes the wine top notch. Grapes that are generally added are muscats and pedro gimenez.
Other Spanish Sweet Wines
Bodegas Gutierrez de la Viga
The wine is fermented in special type of French and American oak giving the flavour a woody presence. The wine has an incredible aroma, flowery and fruity smells of the Muscat that can be easily detected. The spicy flavour that the wine has is associated with ginger or nutmeg.
Though sweet yet the wine is not runny. Best served with fruit desserts, pineapples, peaches and apricots the wine has honeyed and long finish.
The wine has a dark color by nature while the taste is very blackberry esque. This remarkable wine has a hint of honey and botrytis. This wine can easily be referred to as the Spanish version of Banyuls.
These wines are aged in independent cellars allowing the process of oxidation. The oxidation contributes to the freshness of the wine making it one of the best in the market. The freshness of the wine along with its aroma sets it apart from its counterparts.
One of the most famous Alicante Sweet wine is the Fondillon. Made from the overripe Monatella grapes, this wine is very sweet and has a fruity- pulpy taste to it.
The wine is aged for ten years, at the least to create the magical taste that one associates to the Fondillion. The fruity smell and nutty presence makes it one the most craved in the entire world.
With the country offering such a huge choice of sweet wines, one often gets confused. Even a wine connoisseur with years of experience backing him can miss out on recognizing the right style.
If you are one of those wine enthusiasts who can can’t stop talking about it, it is high time you treated your taste buds properly with good sweet wine.
Though mostly served with fruit salads, dessert wines can also be enjoyed with ice creams, biscuits, cookies or even a general course mean. The alcohol staying in the low, these wines are great meal companions.