Our local wine region

We on the Coast are very lucky to have Ronda as our nearest wine-growing area. The phylloxera bug wiped out the Malaga vineyards in 1878, and it was not until the arrival of outsiders like Alfonso von Hohenlohe and Frederic Schatz 30 years ago that vineyards started to flourish again in the Sierra.

Hohenlohe's bodega still exists but is unrecognisable, as is the wine it makes. Schatz's organic varieties are widely acclaimed. Currently there are many bodegas in the Ronda area making excellent varieties, officially classified as the Serranía de Ronda within the all-embracing official title of DO Sierras de Málaga.

Brought up, as most of us are, on Rioja and Ribera del Duero styles, we often erroneously compare Ronda, and indeed other areas' wines, with these Spanish references.

The problem for the wineries has been to get Andalusian bars and restaurants to acknowledge their existence. The standard response, when asking your favourite local restaurant why there were no Ronda varieties featured on their list, was a standard "They are too expensive".

This may have been vaguely associated with reality ten or 15 years ago, but an effective price freeze over a decade has brought them into line with any other region's levels.

Of the better Ronda wines - and really it is hard to find a bad one - Chinchilla's two impressive reds from the Doña Felisa bodega are among the best. Chloe Chardonnay, the first white wine to be made in the area, is surprisingly good at around ten euros. The five reds range from eight euros for the most acceptable Encaste 2017, and 13 euros for the excellent Seis + Seis 2013 (see Wine of the Week below).