Bodegas Jorge Ordonez Malaga Moscatel Old Vines 2009
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Bodegas Jorge Ordóñez Málaga, located in Ordóñez’s hometown, was founded in 2004. A partnership between Ordóñez and the Kracher family of Austria, the winery was founded with the goal of resuscitating the centuries long tradition of winemaking in Málaga, which was destroyed by the phylloxera plague in the 19th century. It was Jorge’s dream to champion his home region and restore it to its former glory.
The winery has more than accomplished its goal by producing Spain’s first and best dry Moscatel de Alejandría, Botani, and by reviving the tradition of unfortified sweet wine making in Málaga. Their series of sweet wines, N°s 1 through 4, are amongst the finest in the world, and are produced in the style of the unfortified sweet wines of Málaga that were internationally renowned in the 17th through 19th centuries. In 2012, N°2 Victoria became the first Spanish wine ever served at a Nobel Prize dinner.
Jorge Ordóñez Málaga produces its dry and sweet wines from Muscat of Alexandria, the oldest clone worldwide of the Muscat varietal. This is the original Muscat, which was originally cultivated extensively around Alexandria, Egypt, and planted in Málaga by Phoenician traders 3,000 years ago. Muscat of Alexandria is one of the world’s only remaining ancient (genetically uncrossed) grape varieties and the most important for commercial wine production. The Muscat of Alexandria vineyards used by Jorge Ordóñez Málaga were planted between 1902 and 1974 on un-terraced mountainside vineyards. The vineyards of Málaga are perhaps the most extreme and dangerous in Europe, due to the decomposed slate soils, and inclines of up to 70°. The vineyards in Málaga have remained untouched. All pruning and harvesting is done by hand, and mules carry six 15kg boxes up the slopes at a time. A heroic form of viticulture.
In order to work with grapes that have high acidity, Jorge Ordóñez Málaga exclusively works with mountainside vineyards that are oriented away from the Mediterranean. In such a warm, dry climate, most grapes would completely lack balancing acidity. Furthermore, most of the winery’s vineyards are located at above 700m above sea level. Jorge Ordóñez Málaga is also the headquarters for all of Grupo Jorge Ordóñez.
Known for bold reds, crisp whites and distinctive sparkling and fortified wines, Spain has embraced international varieties and wine styles while continuing to place primary emphasis on its own native grapes. Though the country’s climate is diverse, it is generally hot and dry. In the center of the country lies a vast, arid plateau known as the Meseta Central, characterized by extremely hot summers and frequent drought.
Ribera del Duero is gaining ground with its single varietal Tempranillo wines, recognized for their concentration of fruit and opulence. Priorat, a sub-region of Catalonia, specializes in bold, full-bodied red blends of Garnacha (Grenache), Cariñena (Carignan), and often Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon. Catalonia is also home to Cava, a sparkling wine made in the traditional method but from indigenous varieties. In the cool, damp northwest region of Galicia, refreshing white Albariño and Verdejo dominate.
Alluringly aromatic and delightful, Muscat never takes itself too seriously. Muscat is actually an umbrella name for a diverse set of grapes, some of which are genetically related and some of which, are not. The two most important versions are the noble, Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains, and Muscat of Alexandria, thought to be a progeny of the former. Both are grown throughout the world and can be made in a wide range of styles from dry to sweet, still to sparkling and even fortified. Muscat is well-known in Italy's Piedmont region (where it goes by Moscato) mainly as Moscato d’Asti, a slightly sparkling, semi-sweet, refreshing wine low in alcohol. On the Iberian peninsula, it goes by Moscatel, not to be confused with Bordeaux's Muscadelle, which is acutally unrelated.
Tasting Notes for Muscat
Muscat makes a dry, sweet or sparkling white wine. Regardless, Muscat wines always possess marked aromatics of rose petal, jasmine, honeysuckle or orange blosson. These wines can have flavors of peach, pear, Meyer lemon, orange and lychee, often with a hint of sweet spice.
Perfect Food Pairings for Muscat
Muscat is a perfect match for Asian cuisine and other spicy foods. Off-dry Muscat can work well with lighter desserts like key lime pie and lemon meringue, while fully sweet Muscat-based dessert wines are enjoyable after dinner with an assortment of cheeses.
Sommelier Secrets for Muscat
Muscat is one of the oldest known grape varieties, dating as far back as the days of the ancient Greeks and Romans. Pliny the Elder wrote in the 13th century of a sweet, perfumed grape variety so attractive to bees that he referred to it as uva apiana, or “grape of the bees.” Most likely, he was describing one of the Muscat varieties.