Moscatel grapes for their flagship Molino Real wine…
comes from nine hectares of vaso bush-trained vines on steep slate slopes at elevations between 350 and 1,000 meters, located around the village of Cómpeta, in the rugged Axarquía region in Málaga. The region, facing the Mediterranean sea, with terraced vineyards on steep slate cliffs, could draw comparisons to Priorat in the north or Banyuls in France. As is traditional, the grapes for the sweet wines are dried on cañas, reed mats, in the sun. Frames are set up so that temporary roofing can be used in case of rain. Dehydration by sun-exposure concentrates grapes in such a way that all the sugar and alcohol in the resulting wines come strictly from the grapes.
Most of the harvest is lost to dehydration, as 10 kilos of grapes are needed to produce 2.5 kilos of raisins, which yields just one liter of juice to ferment into wine. The sun-drying process, asoleo, is a tough manual job. After picking grapes on dangerous slopes with 40-60% incline, perfect and undamaged bunches are carefully placed in harvest boxes and arduously carried up the mountain to the winery, where they are carefully laid on the pasera and progressively turned to obtain homogeneous dehydration. Once the bunches reach the desired degree of dehydration, they are pressed with old olive oil presses, bunches being separated by grass mats. Fermentation is long and happens in 225-liter oak barrels, where the wine matures at low temperature for 20 months. The result is a rich, long-lived, sweet wine that honors the tradition and history of the “mountain wines” of Málaga.
Besides the flagship Molino Real wine, three other wines are produced here: a dry, refreshing moscatel table wine with remarkable minerality called Mountain Blanco (grüner veltliner comparisons come to mind) and a lightly-sweet “baby Molino Real” fermented in stainless steel called M.R. for every-day drinking. The M.R. is an amazing accompaniment to aged cheese and fresh fruit.
In the vintages 1997, 2005, and 2009 they produced a singular wine aged for an exceptionally long time in barrel (8 years), called “Old Mountain”. The grapes are harvested in late September and dried for seven days under the sun. The wine then ferments with indigenous yeasts in 225-liter French oak barrels from Château d’Yquem. The resulting wine has 12.5% alcohol and 210 grams of residual sugar, with an incredible balance only the world’s greatest sweet wines possess. It’s an extreme wine, but remarkably light, well-balanced, and deceptively easy to drink. Bottles are wax-sealed with wax from the beehive at Remelluri and individually packed in straw-filled wooden boxes. Around 500 375ml bottles are produced once or twice a decade, making Old Mountain one of the rarest sweet wines on the planet.