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Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

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Málaga, city and Mediterranean port in andalucía, southern Spain (see map under spain), which lends its name to a denominated wine zone producing rich, raisiny fortified wines. Since the 1960s, Málaga has become more famous as the tourist gateway to the Costa del Sol, but its wine industry has a long and distinguished history dating back to around 600 bc, when the Greeks first planted vines in the area. The Moors continued to make wine, calling it xarab al Malaqui, or Málaga syrup, probably to remove any reference to alcohol but also evoking the extraordinary sweetness of the grapes growing in the hills above the city. In the 17th and 18th centuries, Málaga, often spelt Malaga, was exported worldwide and by the mid 19th century there were over 100,000 ha/247,000 acres of vineyard, making Málaga Spain’s second largest wine region. (See, for example, the part it played in the history of argentine wine.) Exports of Mountain, as the wine became known in Great Britain and North America, totalled between 30,000 and 40,000 butts (as much as 220,000 hl/5.8 million gal) a year.