What do you know about sweet Spanish wine? For many wine lovers, their knowledge of sweet wine starts and finishes in France with Sauternes. Some may go a little further and mention Port wine in Portugal. These are great wines, unique and distinctive in their own right. But they only tell a little bit of the sweet wine story. For us, there may be nothing sweeter (no pun intended) than sweet Spanish wine, and so we’re here to bring you up to speed.
Sweet Spanish wine: Another side of Spain
Spain is most famous for its dry wines. Spanish reds, from top regions like Rioja, Ribera del Duero and Toro, are all rightly heralded for their quality and character. Whites, like Rías Baixas Albariño and Rioja Blanco, are much-loved too. Spanish sparkling wine, particularly Cava, is some of the world’s best!
There is more to Spain than these dry wines, though: Indulge your sweet tooth and immerse yourself in the world of sweet Spanish wine.
The 3 sweet Spanish wine regions you need to know
Sweet Spanish wine is at its best in three key regions: Jerez (or Sherry), Montilla-Moriles, and Malaga. Of these, Sherry is surely the most famous internationally. Its neighbour, Montilla-Moriles produces very similar wines – often at keener prices. Malaga, a popular tourist destination, also produces some deliciously rich sweet wines that are well worth trying.
Spain’s Jerez region produces Sherry in a vast array of styles, but it’s their sweet wines that we are most interested in now. Here’s what you need to know about sweet Sherry:
- Sherry, like Port, is a fortified wine. Thanks to the addition of alcohol during the winemaking process, these wines are usually higher in alcohol content than ordinary table wines.
- The sweet Spanish wine from the Sherry region comes in many styles, notably Pedro Ximenez Sherry (PX) and Cream Sherry. PX Sherry is naturally sweet, due to the eponymous grape used. Cream Sherry, such as the famous Harveys Bristol Cream Sherry, is artificially sweetened.
The sweet Spanish wines of Montilla-Moriles are often mistaken for Sherry, though there are some differences worth knowing:
- Montilla-Moriles wines are not fortified, though they do have naturally high alcohol content.
- The region is located considerably north-west of Jerez, in the Córdoba province of Andalusia.
- Pedro Ximenez is, however, the most significant grape in the region.
Best known as a hotspot for tourists, Malaga is also a producer of sweet Spanish wine. Malaga wine is not heavily exported and is hard to find outside of its region of production. If you are lucky enough to get your hands on a bottle, here’s what you need to know:
- Sweet Malaga wines may be either fortified or unfortified. The fortified sweet Spanish wine from the region is known as Vinos de Licor, while the unfortified are naturally sweet grapes that are either picked late in the harvest or dried in the sun.
- The two most important grape varieties are Pedro Ximenez and Moscatel.
- Three subregions grow sweet wine in Malaga: La Axarquia, Montes de Malaga, and Zona Norte.
Which is your favourite sweet Spanish wine? Have you tried any other examples that we haven’t mentioned here? Jump into the fortified wines with the free ebook.