A vineyard in Cordoba? Yes! I was so suprised when we drove to Montilla in the province of Cordoba, in the heart of Andalusia. Suddenly I found myself in the middle of vineyards. After driving for miles through olive country, the landscape changed. The slopes were covered in vines as far as the eye could see and I passed one Bodega after the other.
Montilla is in reality Jerez’s secret sister. The vineyards here are mostly planted with the variety Pedro Jimenez, used to make Sherry wines. From dry to sweet: Fino, Amontillado, Oloroso and Pedro Jimenez. Many of the farmers sell their produce to the famous Bodegas in Jerez de la Frontera. But not all! Montilla is known for it’s own wine as well.
Vineyard in Cordoba with ‘vino de tinaja’
Montilla has its own ‘Denominación de Origen de Montilla Moriles’. The interesting fact here is that part of the produce is elaborated in the traditional way, in earthenware jars. The grapes are daily picked and pressed. The ‘mosto’, mash, is divided over the jars. It starts to fermentate, and during the next days, new layers of ‘mosto’ are put on top. No chemicals are used, nor are the jars kept on a certain temparature. It is a completely natural process which eventually gives a very fresh and fruitful light wine. It is mostly sold of as wine in bag, as a specialty from this region. A delicious treat, not known to me before! Mostly of bio produce.
Montilla is said to be an emerging new wine area and starts to get known by wine tourists as well. Most of the wineries are small and the lables are discreet. Since they are hardly exported, they are not known to many and are true hidden jewels. It pays off the visit some of the Bodegas and try out the different flavours. The dry Fino, the nutty ‘amontillado (from Montilla) or the figgy ‘oloroso’. The farmers here are proud to share their knowledge and history with you. It will definitely be a more memorable and personal visit than the tourist show at Gonzales Diaz. Enotourism is still very authentic around Montilla. It is about the wine, good tapas and good company!
Some of the wines from the vineyard in Cordoba are set to ripen in wooden barrels. The young and fresh Fino straight from the tinaja is a good start for the wine tasting, yet the 20 year old amontillado from the barrel is pure heaven! If you are interested to visit the wineries, there is a Montilla-Moriles wine route available.
Hotel Cortijo with vineyard in Cordoba
I ended up in this area for a very simple reason: a listing of a hotel, Cortijo with vineyard and olivegrove near Montilla. It used to be a farm with over 200 hectares of vineyards. The enormous Bodegas, still present at the property, are this witness of this. Nowadays the farm has just over 25 hectares. 6 of them are planted with vines and 19 with olives. A unique tourist destination, looking for a new owner, who can take advantage of the increasing interest in this area. Not only do they produce their own wine in jars and barrels. They also have a superb olive oil of ecological production.
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