Córdoba, with its great mosque dominating the city, has no less than four UNESCO World Heritage sites. It’s a global icon, and the bars that cluster its streets serve wines from bottles labelled ‘Fino’, as well as ‘Amontillado’, ‘Oloroso’, ‘Palo Cortado’ and ‘Pedro Ximénez’. Clearly, we are drinking Sherry then… Well no, not at all, for we are in DO Montilla-Moriles, where the names may be the same as those used in Jerez, but there are fundamental differences.
In the 20th century, the DO found its reputation overtaken by its neighbour Jerez, just a few hours’ drive down the highway. Yet without Montilla, Jerez would not have its Amontillado – meaning ‘in the style of Montilla’.
Scroll down to see tasting notes and scores for 10 new-style Montilla-Moriles wines
The essence of Montilla-Moriles is the grape variety Pedro Ximénez (PX). Here’s the problem. PX is renowned as the grape that produces the ultra-sweet (450g/L anyone?) wines. It is the DO that has been providing the sun-dried intensity for Jerez PX. Once the Montilla-Moriles PX has been aged in a Jerez cellar for a minimum of two years it becomes Sherry.