Bodegas Jorge Ordonez Malaga Number 1 Seleccion Especial (375ML half-bottle) 2016
Golden color. Honey, candied fruits, and white flowers. An opulent mouthfeel balanced out by bright acidity.
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, easy-drinking rosés, 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 for Spanish wines 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 Spanish red wine blends of Garnacha (Grenache), Cariñena (Carignan), and often Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon. Catalonia is also home to Cava, a Spanish sparkling wine made in the traditional method but from indigenous varieties. In the cool, damp northwest Spanish wine region of Galicia, refreshing Spanish white Albariño and Verdejo dominate.
Sherry, Spain’s famous fortified wine, is produced in a wide range of styles from dry to lusciously sweet at the country’s southern tip in Jerez.
Apart from the classics, we find many regional gems of different styles.
Late harvest wines are probably the easiest to understand. Grapes are picked so late that the sugars build up and residual sugar remains after the fermentation process. Ice wine, a style founded in Germany and there referred to as eiswein, is an extreme late harvest wine, produced from grapes frozen on the vine, and pressed while still frozen, resulting in a higher concentration of sugar. It is becoming a specialty of Canada as well, where it takes on the English name of ice wine.
Vin Santo, literally “holy wine,” is a Tuscan sweet wine made from drying the local white grapes Trebbiano Toscano and Malvasia in the winery and not pressing until somewhere between November and March.