And the winner is...
No. 3 Viñas Viejas 2006, Bodegas Jorge Ordóñez, DO Málaga
Jorge Ordóñez is now a major importer of Spanish wines into the USA and his bodega in Málaga is tied in with Orowines, which also includes El Nido (above).
The winery is in Vélez-Málaga in the Axarquía subzone, about 35 km east of Málaga city. The project began in 2004 and, in need of extra capacity, moved to its present site in 2008 – a rather unromantic but very efficient industrial estate. The launch winemaker was Alois Kracher, the legendary Austrian producer of sweet wines, and after he sadly died of cancer in 2007 at the age of 48 he was succeeded by his son Gerhard – this wine was Alois’s last in Málaga, and could perhaps be seen as his epitaph.
The bodega buys in grapes from local growers but also has some of its own vineyards in Almáchar, about 15 km from the winery, on a slope too steep for any kind of mechanisation, which is farmed by hand and without irrigation in the traditional Málaga style. The grape is the Moscatel de Alejandria, from old, free-standing vines in slate and limestone soils. No. 3 Viñas Viejas is made with grapes from vines which are between 80 and 100 years old, picked in several stages for maximum ripeness, and then hand-sorted at the winery.
The resulting must is fermented in French oak and the fermentation is stopped by chilling rather than fortification, when Gerhard decides that it’s at its optimum – in this case 13.5% abv.
Written by John Radford